Financial Policies

FN16 Interdepartmental Transactions

Policy Status: 

Active

Policy Steward: 

Office of the Corporate Controller

Contents:

PURPOSE:

To present the methods through which a University department can obtain goods and services from other University departments.

INTERDEPARTMENTAL TRANSFER (INTERDEPARTMENTAL CHARGES AND CREDITS):

Materials or services may be bought or sold directly between University departments without involving the Department of Purchasing Services. Examples are work done for departments by Physical Plant, printing and duplicating work performed by the Multimedia Print Center, etc. These purchases may be made through the following mechanisms:

  • Interdepartmental Charges and Credits [IBIS "IDCC"]
  • a direct billing process, approved by the Controller’s Office per Procedure CR2069.
  • Penn State Purchasing card, if the department selling the item or providing the service accepts credit cards.
  • eBuy (Purchasing) – General Stores and Software at Penn State are vendors in eBuy.

Items that have a Property Inventory tag and are being sold between departments must be reported to Property Inventory. A copy of the IDCC with the Property Inventory tag number indicated, or a completed Report of Disposition or Permanent Transfer of Tangible Assets , must be used to report the transfer.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS:

Lion Surplus Division

Individuals, fraternities, sororities and the public also may purchase surplus items through the Sales Store at the Lion Surplus Warehouse. These items are sold "as is" to anyone on a first come, first served basis. Sales tax is collected on each item sold, except upon presentation of a valid Tax Exemption Certificate.

General Stores

The Department of General Stores is not permitted to sell to fraternities, sororities, outside organizations, or to individuals for personal use. General Stores may be used only by recognized departments and groups that are an integral part of the University or have a University account to which charges may be made.

Penn State Faculty & Staff Personal Purchases Discount - This arrangement allows for personal purchases at Penn State contract pricing, under the following terms and conditions:

    • For personal purchases only
    • University purchases may NOT be made on this site
    • The Penn State Purchasing Card may NOT be used
    • Must use a personal credit card
    • Must ship to an employee's home address
    • Taxes and shipping charges will apply
    • Additional details are available at the General Stores web page

Office of Physical Plant

The following forms administered through Systems and Procedures are to be used in establishing standing orders/billing authorization with the Office of Physical Plant:

DIRECT BILLING:

The direct billing process is allowable only when a department supplies goods or services on a routine, ongoing basis to the entire University (e.g., telephone charges). Corporate Controller approval is required before a supplying department may participate in the direct billing process. Reference procedure #CR2069, Direct Billing. Direct billing is generally done electronically through feeds to IBIS, but may also be approved to be done through a Central Journal Voucher (JVCN) with assignment of a JVCN reference number through Accounting Operations.

INTERDEPARTMENTAL BLANKET ORDER AND STANDING ORDER:

An interdepartmental blanket order and an interdepartmental standing order are variations of the use of one of the above purchasing methods and are used to establish purchasing authority for a series of transactions using a single authorization document.

An interdepartmental blanket order is issued to a supplying department for a specific period, up to a fiscal year, and a stated maximum dollar limit not to exceed $25,000, including subsequent increases. Purchases made against a blanket order are limited to goods or services (including equipment and furniture) allowable on any of the internal purchase documents indicated in this policy (including direct billing). Purchases made against a blanket order are for items that are varied in nature and therefore indeterminate until a release is made, or are such that the department has found that a blanket order is the most efficient, controlled way to purchase such items.

An interdepartmental standing order is issued to a supplying department for a specific period, up to a fiscal year, and a stated maximum dollar limit. Interdepartmental standing orders may be used for all goods and services (excluding equipment and furniture) allowable on any of the internal purchase documents indicated in this policy (including direct billing). Such goods and services are to be repetitive or recurring. All standing orders must be priced according to a bid or contract price. To establish a standing order, the goods or services to be purchased must be specifically defined on the order. All interdepartmental leases, rental, and service agreements must be made by standing orders.

The body of the documents used to establish a blanket or standing order MUST also contain the name(s) of the individual(s) authorized to make releases/requests against the orders, the location(s) to which goods or services are to be delivered or made, and the stated maximum dollar limit for the total of all purchases to be made against the blanket or standing order.

VERBAL REQUESTS FOR PURCHASES BETWEEN UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENTS:

Verbal requests may not be used to circumvent Policy FN18 approval requirements. Policy FN18 requires that APPROPRIATE WRITTEN OR IBIS APPROVALS EXIST BEFORE ANY CHARGES CAN BE SUBMITTED TO ACCOUNTING OPERATIONS for processing. It does not require that those approvals exist at the time a purchase request is made between two departments within the University.

Sound business practice dictates that transactions between a department making a purchase and the supplying department must be documented either in writing or electronically through a system such as IBIS/EASY. Such documentation provides increased control and accuracy in processing a transaction. However, for the sake of customer service, a supplying department may wish to occasionally accept a verbal purchase request to expedite a purchase with the understanding that the required Policy FN18 approvals will be provided to the supplying department later. This is permissible, but the supplying department will be at risk. Until a supplying department has in its possession, or has access to, the required Policy FN18 approvals (written or IBIS-documented), the transaction shall not be enforceable and charges may not be submitted for processing.

It is up to the budget administrator of the department making a purchase request and the respective Financial Officer to decide if verbal requests will be allowed to be made. It is up to the budget administrator of the supplying department and the respective Financial Officer to decide if verbal requests will be accepted.

VERBAL AMENDMENTS TO DOCUMENTS USED FOR PURCHASES BETWEEN UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENTS:

It is not permissible to verbally amend a document that has been approved by a budget executive, budget administrator, budget assistant, Financial Officer, financial assistant, or their valid proxies, if the verbal amendment would change the intent of the purchase, increase the cost of the purchase, or if the supplying department prohibits verbal amendments.

Some examples of permissible verbal amendments to internal purchase documents:

  • Changing the color of envelopes from blue to white with no cost increase.
  • Decreasing the quantity of pencils from 10 gross to 5 gross.
  • Canceling a line item.

Some examples of non-permissible verbal amendments to internal purchase documents:

  • Changing the color of envelopes from white to blue at additional cost.
  • Increasing the quantity of pencils from 4 gross to 8 gross.
  • Adding a line item.
  • Changing an order for a book to an order for a sweatshirt.
  • Changing the account distribution.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Corporate Controller.

CROSS REFERENCES:

Other Policies in this Manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

FN14 - Use of University Tangible Assets, Equipment, Supplies and Services, and

BS15 - Disposal and Purchase of Obsolete, Surplus or Scrap University-Owned Equipment, Supplies and/or Materials.

Effective Date: December 3, 2015
Date Approved: December 1, 2015
Date Published: December 3, 2015

Most Recent Changes:

  • December 3, 2015 - Changes to the INTERDEPARTMENTAL TRANSFER (INTERDEPARTMENTAL CHARGES AND CREDITS), SPECIAL PROVISIONS (OPP and Faculty/Staff Personal Purchases Discount sections added), DIRECT BILLING, INTERDEPARTMENTAL BLANKET ORDER AND STANDING ORDER, and VERBAL AMENDMENTS TO DOCUMENTS USED FOR PURCHASES BETWEEN UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENTS sections to reflect current processes by which University departments can obtain goods and services from other University departments.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • September 27, 2013 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • March 17, 2005 - Editorial changes to eliminate "General Forms Usage Guide" and correct links.
  • August 30, 1993 - renamed FN16, Interdepartmental Transactions.
  • February, 1978 - New Policy PC09, Purchases From University Departments.