Purchasing and Signature Authority

The purpose of this policy is to control the commitment of university funds, including purchasing and contracting activities. Goods and services purchased with university funds must be necessary and relevant to the university’s business and the advancement of its mission. University funds are received from a variety of sources that carry with them fiduciary responsibilities. Proper stewardship of university funds is the responsibility of all employees involved in procurement transactions.

Low-Value Purchasing Authority and High-Value Purchasing Authority

Business Officers and certain designated employees in university departments, schools, and research units have authority to purchase goods and services directly with suppliers via procurement cards and requisitions at a value below $5,000 when no contract is required or an appropriately executed contract already exists (Low-Value Purchase Authority). Authority to purchase at a value of $5,000 or above (High-Value Purchase Authority) is delegated to Business Services, the department within Financial and Business Services responsible for the procure-to-pay process, as well as the primary authority for university purchasing and contracting.

No supplier work may begin before a contract is executed or purchase order issued.

Signature Authority

Only those employees given explicit written authority by the President or his designee (e.g., senior vice presidents) may execute procurement agreements. (Procurement agreements are written contracts that bind the university and a supplier to a purchasing obligation.) Such written authority includes terms and conditions, typically including a review by the Office of General Counsel, and all such terms and conditions must be followed. Very few individuals have been delegated signature authority and generally the campus should contact Business Services to have procurement agreements reviewed and signed, regardless of the agreement’s dollar value, form of payment used, or source of funds. Business Services coordinates an agreement review with General Counsel and other appropriate stakeholders.

Reporting Violations

For complaints or concerns regarding compliance with the above, see the Accounting and Auditing Complaint Reporting policy at https://policy.usc.edu/accounting-complaints/.

Responsible Office

Business Services

(213) 740-2716

Issued by

Robert Abeles, Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer
University of Southern California