Procurement & Contracting Services

Unauthorized Purchases

What is an Unauthorized Purchase?

An "Unauthorized Purchase" is one where a purchase is made on behalf of the University without the appropriate approvals being secured first.  Examples include an employee purchasing a new office computer on their personal credit card or a supplier doing work for a department without having an official Purchase Order established first.

Acquisition of products or services on behalf of the University requires approval before the purchase is made.

What are Authorized Purchasing Methods?

Authorized purchasing methods (in order of preference) include:

See the Procurement Decision Chart for a full list of approved procurement methods.

Why is it Important to use an Authorized Purchasing Method?

Using one of the official purchasing processes ensures that all approvals are properly documented, the University receives the lowest overall cost, and the purchase meets the requirements of University Policy, State and Federal Codes, and funding sources. The University risks the loss of future funding if proper procurement methods are not followed.

Requiring approval before a purchase is made helps to ensure that a purchase is appropriate for University use and is acquired from an appropriately-qualified supplier.

Can an Unauthorized Purchase Reimbursement Request be Disapproved?

Confirming orders issued to suppliers or reimbursements made to an employee for an unauthorized purchase can be disapproved for multiple reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Use of an inappropriate supplier
  • Purchase not appropriate for University use
  • Price comparison shows the price to be significantly higher than the University’s price (including pricing on Strategic Sourcing Agreements)

Purchases that are not appropriate or necessary for official university business will not be reimbursed or paid for on a confirming purchase order.

Process for Requesting Reimbursement for Unauthorized Purchase

The process for an unauthorized purchase reimbursement depends on the dollar amount of the original purchase, items/services purchased, if the employee used personal funds to make a purchase, or if the supplier provided products or services without an official university purchase order.  See the Reimbursements Page for instructions on how to process.


  • PPM 350-10: Procurement: Equipment and Supplies 

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