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Policy 2.21
Authority, University Funds and Federal Procurement Requirements

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Responsible Official: Vice President for Finance/Chief Finance Officer
Administering Division/Department: Procurement Services
Effective Date: January 01, 2008
Last Revision: July 21, 2008

Policy Sections:


To provide general guidelines regarding the authority to expend University funds.


All employees.

Policy Details

2.21.1 Authority and Responsibility

2.21.2 Signature Authority

2.21.3 University Funds Sponsored Projects

2.21.4 Federal Procurement Requirements

2.21.1 Authority and Responsibility

The Board of Trustees and the President of Emory University, through the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, have delegated responsibility for expending University funds to the Office of Procurement Services. Procurement Services partners with all University departments and programs to select vendors, negotiate prices, and assure the quality and timely delivery of goods purchased for Emory University.

Procurement Services has delegated to the following University entities the authority to expend University funds to purchase certain goods and services directly from vendors, in accordance with the policies of Procurement Services.

Emory Hospital: Items required by hospital operations
Facilities Management: Construction, renovation contracts, and building maintenance service agreements
Food Services: Perishable and non-perishable foods
University Libraries: Books and periodicals

2.21.2 Signature Authority

Procurement Services has the sole authority to enter into a purchase agreement or obligate the University, unless the Trustees specifically authorize an individual. A properly executed Purchase Order constitutes a binding contract between the University and a vendor. All documents without an authorized signature or valid Purchase Order will be considered invalid and non-binding to the University. 

The Office of Business Management has authority to sign leases and long-term rental agreements and works with Procurement Services.

2.21.3 University Funds

All funds deposited with the University, regardless of source, are University funds and must be handled in accordance with Procurement Services policy. Although departments are allocated funds in their budgets for a given period, this allocation is only an authority to requisition, not to purchase. Sponsored Projects

In general, items should only be purchased under sponsored agreements when the item is necessary for completion of the goals of the project and will specifically benefit and be used for the sponsored agreement.

Items should not be ordered late in a project period, unless the items will actually be received and used by the project prior to the end date. All sponsored project (grants and contracts) related purchases should be approved by the senior departmental manager and the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting (OGCA).  Approved purchases need to be received at least ten working days before the expiration of the grant or contract.

In many cases it would be inappropriate to order equipment or other major purchases in the last 30 days of the award because benefit and use cannot be documented to[to? or by?] an auditor. The OGCA may not approve requisitions submitted in the last 30 days of an award, based solely on timing and anticipated receipt of the goods.  As part of that process, the department needs to provide a specific justification for the late purchase. The justification must include an explanation of how the item is necessary for the scientific or technical needs of the project and how it will be used in order to be of specific benefit to the project prior to the award end date.

2.21.4 Federal Procurement Requirements

The University, in compliance with federal regulations, maintains a formal procurement system for all purchases made with federal funds and follows requirements of the Federal Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110, Attachment O.


Procurement: The process, from initial concept and planning through to contract completion and post-contract analysis, of purchasing of goods or services from external sources for the University.

Purchase Order: A written authorization prepared by Procurement Services for the purchase of goods or services at a specified price.

Sponsored Projects: Research projects funded and supported by various agencies through grants and contracts.

Office of Management and Budget: The federal agency that advises the President of the United States on the federal budget.

Related Links

Contact Information

Procurement Services  Customer Service  404-727-5400  e-market@emory.edu 
Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting  Customer Service  404.727.4240  N/A 

Revision History