Finance Division

Purchasing using the Finance System

This page provides useful guidance when purchasing goods and services via the Finance System.

Useful policies, forms and guidance

Policies

Procurement and Purchasing Policy [PDF 835.61KB] and Procurement and Purchasing Policy - Summary of Changes [PDF 65.32KB]

Modern Slavery Act Statement [PDF 124.71KB]

Forms

New User Access Form (Non-Finance) [DOCX 36.89KB]

Request for Procurement Support [DOCX 26.35KB]

Guidance

Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]

Goods and services which are not an acceptable use of University funds [PDF 122.47KB]

Guide to Expenditure of University Funds for Visitor Student Staff Hospitality and Events [PDF 135.24KB]

University of Sussex - Conditions of Purchase [PDF 93.88KB]

How to Find the Right Supplier [PDF 181.48KB]

Faster Payment Guide [PDF 625.43KB]

Value for Money in Day to Day Purchasing - Staff Guide [PDF 179.53KB]

Finance systems access and financial literacy training

FAQs

IR35

1. How do I check whether IR35 applies to an engagement I wish to make with a service provider?

Please liaise with the HR IR35 team. Guidance and Advice can be found on their IR35 Guidance and Advice page

It is important you seek guidance before contracting with any provider, before attempting to add them as a new supplier or raising a requisition on the Finance System.

Please note that Purchasing Cards should not be used when engaging a personal services company.

How to raise a requisition for your purchase

1. How do I get to the 'Requisition Input' screen in the Finance System?

Login to the Finance System. In the main menu, click ‘Purchasing’ and ‘Requisition input’.

The Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB] provides a screen shot of this page.

2. What should I do if there are multiple contact points for the same supplier?

Firstly, enter the supplier name in the ‘Supplier’ field of the Requisition Entry tab in the Finance System.

Then select the order address for your chosen supplier (as some suppliers may have more than one contact or department) via the drop down list.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

3. What should I put in the 'Purchase order email destination' field?

This field instructs the Finance System where to email the official purchase order once the requisition has been approved. There are two options for a standard requisition.

  • Type ‘S’ – To email the purchase order automatically to the supplier (a copy will also be emailed to you).
  • Type ‘R’ – To email the purchase order to you to forward on to the supplier. With this option, you must ensure that you send the purchase order to the supplier.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

4. Do I need to enter a subproject code in the 'Default finance codes' section?

Yes, as this determines which budget the purchase will be charged to. If you do not know your exact subproject code, start typing the information you do know into the field and the ‘Type Ahead function’ will display any matches.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

5. How do I change my delivery address?

The ‘Delivery address’ field will pre-populate with your campus address. You can use the ‘Delivery contact’ drop-down box to select another location or building.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

6. How do I know which product code to use?

Start typing a general description of what you are ordering in the ‘Product’ field. After you have entered three characters, a list will appear of related products (with product codes) for you to select based on the characters you have typed.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

7. Do I need to change the generic product description?

You must overwrite the ‘Description’ field with a detailed description of what you are ordering. This field has a 250-character limit. If the description is not overwritten, the requisition will be sent back to you automatically.

The information in this field is used by Finance to match purchase orders to invoices; therefore, it is important not to use generic descriptions such as “Computer Equipment” or “General Stationery”.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

8. I’ve run out of room in the 'Description' field. What should I do?

If you need to include detailed information for your purchase, you can include the essential product description in the 'Description’ field and then add additional information to appear on the purchase order by using the ‘Product text’ field within the ‘Additional Information for the supplier’ section.

A screen shot of this is provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

9. Do I need to include VAT in the price on the requisition?

Enter the net price (the price before VAT) as VAT is calculated based on the VAT code of the product you have selected and added by the system automatically. For free products leave the price as 0.00.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

10. Which tax code should I use?

The tax code is automatically populated based on the product code selected but can be amended if for any reason the supplier doesn’t pay tax (e.g. charitable status).

Tax Codes available for use are as follows:

  • P0 – Zero Rate Purchase
  • PE – Exempt Purchase
  • PM – Medical Research
  • PO – Outside Scope of VAT purchase
  • PS – Standard Rate Purchase
  • PU – Lower Rate Purchase

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk.

11. Should I include delivery charges in a requisition?

Where known, you should include delivery charges in your requisition. There is a small tolerance built into the Finance System to allow for small invoice variances. However, if this is exceeded the invoice will need to go through further authorisation checks, which may delay payment to the supplier.

If you require further help please contact the Finance Service Desk: FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

12. How do I split the requisition between subprojects?

You can use the Split Row option (in the Finance Codes section of the screen) to split costs between departments or subprojects.

Enter in the other subproject(s) and change the percentage to reflect how much is to be charged to each subproject. Alternatively, you can amend the amounts, but the total percentage must equal 100%. You must do this for each line of the requisition that you want to split.

A screen shot of this is provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

13. How do I attach a document to a requisition?

Click on the paperclip in the top right hand corner of the screen. The documents pop up box will appear. Click on Add a Document.

Upload your chosen document, complete the document title field and click save.

Add further documents by repeating this process. Close the window when finished.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

14. How do I use Funds Check?

When the requisition is submitted for authorisation, the Finance System will automatically check against the subproject(s) entered to see if there are sufficient funds to cover the expense of the proposed purchase. You can check available funds prior to saving and submitting your requisition by following the guidelines below.

  • Once you have completed the Requisition details tab press Funds check.
  • There are 3 possible icons that will appear against each line of the Requisition details tab in the Funds check column. These are: A red circle with exclamation mark = Funds overspent (over budget); a green tick = Funds available (within budget); an orange triangle with exclamation mark = Funds available, but remaining funds less than 10%
  • To view the Funds check detail click on Funds check results. This will show you the detail per subproject budget.
  • Click on each subproject line to view the available budget results. These results include the cost of the requisition you are raising and VAT.
  • If your requisition is over budget but you have a justified reason to request the spend, add a comment explaining your reasons to your authoriser in the Internal Message field in the Requisition Entry tab. You will also receive a pop up message advising you are over budget when you save the requisition.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

15. How do I create an order where there are several due dates for payment?

To create an open purchase order you need to swap the quantity and price fields, as you can only goods receipt using the quantity field and not the price.

For example, if you are going to be billed monthly and you have been given a quote of £1,200 (excluding VAT) for the year, you will want to match the goods received to the invoice value. Therefore, use the Quantity as the total price £1,200 and the Price as £1.00.

You can then goods receipt the amount of each invoice as they are received, which will leave your purchase order open until all invoices have been registered.

A screen shot of this is provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

16. What is the e-marketplace and how do I use it?

The e-marketplace contains hosted catalogues in an online marketplace, which you can access directly through the Finance System. Once you have selected the items you want to purchase and checked out, your basket is automatically imported into the Requisition details screen, with a majority of the data fields populated from the basket.

There are two elements to the e-marketplace:

  • Punchout – You are transported to a specific supplier’s website and import your shopping basket back into the Finance System.
  • Hosted Catalogues – This is a single marketplace interface, which allows you to search for products over a number of suppliers to identify the best value options. You create a shopping basket with goods from multiple suppliers and import the basket back to Finance System.

For step-by-step guidance on how to purchase this way please see the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

17. How do I copy an old requisition for repeat orders?
  • Click on the ‘Purchasing’ tab in the main menu of the Finance System and choose ‘Requisition Input’.
  • Click on the ‘Open’ button at the bottom of the screen.
  • Type in the requisition number you want to open in the ‘Search criteria’ field and click ‘Search’, or leave blank and click ‘Search’ to see all requisitions you have raised.
  • Your requisition will be in the line at the bottom. Click on this to re-open. The status will either be ‘Finished’ if it has completed workflow or ‘Active’ if it has not yet been authorised. Either way, if can still be copied.
  • Click on ‘Copy requisition’ in the tabs at the bottom of the screen and a new requisition will be created.
  • Amend details that are different from the previous requisition, if any, and click ‘Save’. The Finance System will provide you with a new requisition number and the requisition will enter workflow for authorisation.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the
Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

18. How do I check the progress of a requisition I have raised?

You can run a workflow enquiry to check the progress of your requisition and find out where it has gone for authorisation.

Click on the ‘Purchasing’ tab in the main menu of the Finance System, then ‘Enquiries’ and ‘Workflow enquiry – Requisitions’.

Enter the requisition number and click ‘Search’. If you do not know the requisition number, un-tick the ‘Historical’ box, leave the ‘Requisition like’ field blank and click ‘Search’. This will show all of your requisitions in workflow.

A workflow enquiry report will be displayed, which shows:

  • Step - Where in the process the authorisation is.
  • Task owner - The person designated to authorise the requisition.
  • Workflow status. If you click this, a workflow map will be displayed that shows the full authorisation chain, and where your requisition currently is in that chain.
  • Workflow in progress - This status means that your requisition is with someone awaiting authorisation.
  • Finished - This status means that all authorisations have been completed and the system has produced a purchase order.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

19. What if I need to amend or cancel my requisition?

If your requisition has not yet been authorised:

  • Navigate to the Purchasing tab in the main menu of the Finance System and click ‘Requisition Input'.
  • Click ‘Open’ at the bottom of the screen.
  • Type the requisition number in the search field and click ‘Search’. If you don’t know the requisition number, leave the search field blank and click ‘Search’ to see all requisitions you have raised.
  • Your requisition will appear in the line at the bottom of the screen. Click on this to re-open.
  • Amend the details and click ‘Save’ to re-submit the requisition, or change the status to ‘Closed’ if it is no longer required.

If your requisition has been rejected back to you:

  • Select the ‘Rejected REQ’ task in your task list in the Finance System.
  • Click on the ‘Requisition details’ tab. There will be an exclamation mark next to any rejected lines of the requisition. Click on the exclamation mark to view the authoriser’s comments.
  • Depending on the reason for rejection, you can either amend any incorrect details and click ‘Save’ or, if the requisition is no longer required, tick the relevant line/s and click ‘Close’ in the ‘Requisition details’ section. Then click ‘Save’.

Screen shots of these processes are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

'Light Touch' supplier requisitions

1. What is the 'Light Touch' requisition criteria and how do I get access?

This process is only to be used for low value, infrequent supplier payments where goods or services:

  • Cannot be purchased through an existing supplier on the finance system
  • Are equal to, or less than the value of £5000 incl. VAT (equivalent contract value over 4 years)
  • The supplier cannot accept payment through a purchasing card
  • The purchase will not result in multiple invoices
  • IR35 checks have been completed in advance with HR where appropriate - refer to the HR web page for further guidance.

If you need to request access to the 'light touch' process, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

2. Should I check for an existing agreement, contract or approved supplier before raising a 'Light Touch' requisition?

Yes. You should always check that there is not an existing supplier that can be used, before raising a light touch requisition. More information on contracted and approved suppliers can be found on our Existing suppliers and agreements webpage.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at  FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

3. Is the system access for 'Light Touch' requisitioning for an indefinite period?

No. Access to this process is granted for a period of 7 days unless otherwise advised.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at  FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

4. What bank details do I need for a EUR 'Light Touch' requisition?

You will need the following:

  • Supplier code – E11111
  • Supplier name
  • IBAN number
  • SWIFT code
  • Full address

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at  FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

5. What bank details do I need for a USD 'Light Touch' requisition?

You will need the following:

  • Supplier code – U11111
  • Supplier name
  • Bank account number
  • Swift code or Routing number
  • Full address

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at  FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

6. Why have I received the purchase order and what should I do with it?

When raising the requisition, the purchase order email destination will default to R - meaning that you will receive it as the requisitioner. This cannot be amended. You will need to forward the purchase order to the supplier.

7. How can I check the authorisation status of my 'Light Touch' requisition?

You can run a workflow enquiry to find out where your requisition has gone for authorisation.

From the finance system home screen, navigate to ‘Purchasing’, ‘Enquiries’ and select ‘Workflow enquiry - Requisitions’. Enter your requisition number and click ‘Search’.

Requisitions over the value of £5000 will route to the Procurement Team for approval. These may be rejected unless prior agreement has been given.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at  FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

8. Do purchases made using this process still need to be goods receipted?

Yes, as with all requisitions you will need to complete a goods receipt on the finance system once the goods or services have been satisfactorily received.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at  FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

9. Is an invoice still required to make payment?

Yes, the supplier must quote the purchase order number on their invoice. We will not make a supplier payment where there is no purchase order number to support the invoice. Suppliers should be advised to send invoices directly to invoices@sussex.ac.uk and not to your Sussex email address. 

Other ways to pay

1. I don't have enough time to get a purchase order authorised for an existing supplier. Can I use a purchasing card with a supplier who is set up on the Finance System?

In exceptional circumstances, such as the unavailability of the Finance System, a purchasing card can be used for an existing supplier who is already set up in the system.

In all other situations, your budget holder should be able to authorise a purchase order once a requisition has been raised. If the budget holder is absent and has not delegated responsibility to another member of staff, you should contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk and ask for the task to be assigned in accordance with the Delegations Policy.

2. I don't have access to a purchasing card or the Finance System and I need to buy something. What should I do?

You should contact your budget holder to understand the arrangements that are currently in place. It may be that someone in your area has a departmental purchasing card, or is responsible for raising requisitions.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

3. Can I use cash to pay research volunteers or for small purchases?

Cash for small purchases can be withdrawn using a University purchasing card if the card has been set-up with a cash withdrawal facility. To request the cash withdrawal functionality, you will need to complete the Purchasing Card Cash Withdrawal Request [DOCX 19.80KB] and return it to the FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

Alternatively, you can use the out of pocket expenses process. Please see our Travel and Working Away from Base, Hospitality and Out of Pocket Expenses webpage for more information on this.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

After your purchase has been authorised

1. How do I view a previous purchase order?
  • Navigate to the ‘Purchasing’ tab in the main menu of the Finance System and click ‘Purchase Orders’, ‘Purchase order follow up’, then ‘Purchase Order View’.
  • Enter the purchase order number and tab out of the field to enable the purchase order details to load onto the screen.
  • Click the highlighted paperclip icon in top right corner of the screen.
  • A new screen will open with a PDF icon. Double click on it to view the purchase order. You can then download or print as needed.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

2. What do I need to do when I have received my order?

When you receive goods or services, you must complete a ‘Goods Receipt’ in the Finance System. Invoices from suppliers will only be paid where the invoice can be matched to a purchase order and confirmed as received through a Goods Receipt.

To complete a Goods Receipt:

  • Click on ‘Purchasing’ in the main menu of the Finance System, then ‘Goods Receipt’
  • Input your purchase order number. If you have forgotten this, it can be found in the ‘My Requisitions’ or ‘My Purchases’ reports, accessed from the ‘Reports’ tab in the main menu.
  • Select the lines of the purchase order that you have received, and the quantity received. If you have received all the goods or services ordered, tick all lines and click on ‘All Goods Received’.
  • Click ‘Save’ and you will be given a receipt number as confirmation of your Goods Receipt.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

3. What do I do if I need to return an order?

A ‘Goods Return’ is used to update the Finance System when you have returned goods to a supplier for which you have already registered a goods receipt.

To complete a Goods Return:

  • Navigate to ‘Goods return’ via the ‘Purchasing’ tab in the Finance System.
  • Enter the purchase order number
  • Under the ‘Order details’ section, enter the quantity being returned. If you are not expecting a replacement, you need to tick the box and enter a reason.
  • This will reduce the order quantity of the purchase order so that the order quantity is equal to the delivered quantity.

Screen shots of this process are provided in the Purchasing Goods and Services Guide [PDF 6.94MB]. If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk

Supplier invoices

1. I have received an invoice from a supplier. What should I do?

All invoices should be sent directly to Finance from the supplier so they can be processed as quickly as possible. If you receive an invoice via email or post, please forward the email or a scanned copy of the paper invoice to invoices@sussex.ac.uk. Please destroy any paper invoices once you have emailed them.

If a supplier gets in touch with you with a query about their payment please ask them to contact suppliers@sussex.ac.uk.

2. I have received an email from noreply@proactis.com requesting additional information. What do I need to do?

You will receive an email from this email address when Finance have a query in relation to an invoice received from a supplier.

Please read the email to establish what additional information is required to enable us to process the invoice. Respond by clicking the ‘Review Query’ link, which will show you an image of the relevant document and a field for your response. 

You can also add a comment, which will be visible for us to read.

3. I have clicked on the 'Review Query' link but it states that 'This query is no longer active'. What should I do?

This means the query has been resolved so you can delete the email.

4. I would like to print a copy of the invoice provided in the 'Review Query' link. How can I do this?

There is a ‘file’ icon above the ‘your response’ field. Click this to open or save the attached PDF document.

5. How do I see when an invoice will be paid?

You can check on the status of an invoice in the Finance System by clicking on ‘Reports’ in the main menu, then ‘Purchasing Reports’ and ‘Invoice Enquiry’. You can search by purchase order number or supplier.

This report will show you the status of any Invoices raised against your purchase order, as follows:

  • A = Un approved Invoices
  • B = Approved Invoices awaiting payment
  • C = Paid Invoices (see ‘Paid’ date column)

If you need further assistance, please contact the Finance Service Desk at FinanceServiceDesk@sussex.ac.uk