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Finance tips: getting value for money

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Some tips from the Finance division to make life easier when travelling and working away from the University.

Quick and easy orders with the e-marketplace

If you want to purchase any type of goods or equipment its worth checking the University e-marketplace first by clicking ‘go shopping’ on the ‘e-marketplace’ tab on the finance system’s requisition input screen. You can often find what you’re looking for here from suppliers.

The e-marketplace takes you directly to a supplier’s website or a catalogue to search for what you want to buy. Your purchases are automatically imported into your requisition with all the correct product codes and prices.

TIP: Try the catalogue search by selecting from the drop down menu to search for the product you are looking for rather than searching through each supplier. And use the ‘compare’ function to make sure you get the best value for your particular product.

TIP: We’re continually updating our nominated suppliers and the e-marketplace - see what’s available.


Planning new purchases

Using existing University suppliers is usually the best way to get value for money, but sometimes there isn’t an appropriate supplier in place. If you’ve followed the guidance and can’t find a supplier you should request a new one through the supplier network – contact the Finance service desk if you don’t have access.

The improved supplier set-up process has reduced the workload for University staff and moved much of the work to the supplier themselves. This also means that we only hold current, relevant and correct supplier data in line with GDPR, so there shouldn’t be any issues further down the line.

TIP: If we are going to use their services more than once it is easy to set up individuals such as visiting speakers through the supplier network, just like any other supplier. It is then really simple to use the finance system to purchase from them again and they will get paid directly into their bank account. 

TIP: Don’t forget that you can check the status of your new supplier proposal at any time by logging into the supplier network and you can contact the supplier directly if you have any concerns. 


‘One-off payments’

Sometimes we expect to use a supplier for just a single purchase and will need to make a ‘one-off payment’ for their goods or services. We’re working on easier ways to make purchases like this on the finance system but for the moment the process is relatively cumbersome and should only be used when there’s no other alternative - the best way to purchase from a supplier we won’t use again is to use a University purchasing card.

TIP: If you’re not sure how best to purchase something, or if the ‘one-off’ supplier doesn’t accept credit cards then contact the Finance service desk for help: rt-finance-servicedesk@sussex.ac.uk.


Useful reports to help with purchasing

When we updated the finance system we introduced some useful reports to help you with purchasing.

TIP: There are reports to track the progress of a requisition, see what you have ordered and receipted, see what has been invoiced by the supplier and see all invoices matched against your purchase orders. These reports are all easy to use but there are simple instructions in section 14 of the Purchasing Goods and Services guide.


Using purchase orders

If you’re buying through the finance system it’s important to raise a purchase order (PO) for the supplier in advance and make sure they quote the PO on their invoice so that we get best value money. The University payment terms and conditions apply - the invoice can be matched automatically once you’ve receipted what you’ve ordered, and payment can be processed on time without the supplier needing to contact you again for a PO.

TIP: When raising a requisition in the finance System, type ‘S’ in the Purchase Order Email Destination Field and the PO (complete with PO number) will automatically be sent to the supplier without you having to send it yourself. Further guidance on raising requisitions can be found in the Purchasing Goods and Services guide.


Going paperless

As part of our drive to improve our processes we’re making invoices ‘paperless’. We are asking all suppliers to email their invoices as a PDF so they can be processed as quickly as possible. We have set up a dedicated supplier inbox to support this.

TIP: If you receive an invoice by email or by post please forward the email or a scanned copy of the paper invoice straight to invoices@sussex.ac.uk. Please destroy any paper invoices once you have emailed them to avoid any confusion.

TIP: If a supplier gets in touch with you with a query about their payment (other than to request a missing PO number) then ask them to contact suppliers@sussex.ac.uk.


Where to get help

Further information on purchasing and how to get best value for money is contained within the Purchasing Goods and Services guide and e-learning.

The Finance service desk will always help you with finance enquiries and aims to respond to all emails within two working days, with priority for urgent issues. If you have any questions - or any suggestions or training requests – please email: rt-finance-servicedesk@sussex.ac.uk.

Telephone support is available for urgent enquiries from 8.30am to 5.00pm on x7172 or 01273 877172 externally.

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By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Friday, 5 October 2018

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