Buying Goods and Services

General Rules

All University expenditure must be:

  • For bona fide University purposes; and
  • Approved by the correct budget holder; and
  • Have budget provision available: income must cover the budget

This rule applies to all forms of expenditure, including Invoices, Petty Cash, Procurement and Credit Cards and Fees and Expenses, and to all sources of funds (including Research Grants and Contracts) and all locations.

This page summarises the options available for the payments to external suppliers for goods and services.

For further guidance see the Guidance notes on supplier set up.

Purchasing Controls

With over 250,000 invoices for 11,000 active suppliers flowing into the University annually, the University has purchasing controls in place:

1) To ensure that University achieves value for money (VFM) through good procurement practice and process.

2) To ensure that payment is made efficiently and correctly for goods/services/works.

3) The paths to payment are clear and used appropriately.

Basic Purchasing Rules:

  • Before engaging service/goods from a third party you must know how you are going to pay the supplier.
  • You must have authorisation BEFORE engaging the supplier.
  • All invoices must be sent for Invoice Payment direct from the supplier. (The University has a no PO no Pay policy so any supplier invoices without a PO will be returned).
  • Payment terms to our suppliers are 30 days from invoice receipt. Full terms and conditions are available.

Paths to Payment (in order of preference)

Oracle iProc

The preferred method of buying goods/services

Booking Travel

For all University related travel

Cash Passport

The process for cash advances for University related business


To claim back smaller amounts spent on University related business

Petty Cash

For incidental expenses under £50

Corporate Credit Card

Smaller (under £1,000), one off purchases

One Off Payments

Where the other options above are not appropriate

Payment of Customs Duty / VAT

Customs Duty and import VAT are chargeable on products shipped from outside of the EU. Most of the time it is difficult to know which courier will be used and the exact value. This document highlights a number of ways to deal with the payment of such costs.

Payments To Students

Payments to students are dealt with via the Student Services Centre. Please direct all queries to the Student Funding and Financial Support Team.


If you wish to host a conference you may be able to use the services provided by the Online Store. If the Online Store is not suitable, you may be able to make use of the University’s own in house specialists who can arrange and book conferences on your behalf; they can be contacted via: or contact ConferCare directly. Please also inform your Head of School Finance of all potential conferences.

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