Procurement FAQ

Click here for iO Frequently Asked Questions

General Procurement FAQ

What is Procurement?

"Procurement" literally defines the different procurement processes an employee takes to acquire and pay for goods and/or services. A procure-to-pay system (Rice Marketplace) manages the creation and approval of a requisition, the purchasing communication (purchase orders sent to suppliers), receiving, and the payment (settlement) for goods and services, typically through an invoice.

How do I know who to call with questions regarding procurement and payment process?

Please submit a iO help desk ticket for assistance from our Procure to Pay team.

What does .... status mean on the dashboard?

All statuses of P2P documents (requisitions, purchase orders, invoices) are found here.

What is a Preferred Supplier?

To reduce time and effort in the purchasing process, the University has created a Preferred Supplier Program, in which certain approved suppliers are subjected to additional review in order to assign a designation as the preferred supplier in a particular commodity group. Preferred suppliers must be used whenever possible. Suppliers not designated as preferred should only be used if the preferred supplier(s) in that commodity group is unable to provide the good or service or the pricing is not competitive.

Supplier Adoption & Management FAQ

What are the requirements for becoming a Rice University Supplier?

Suppliers should reference the Suppliers' Basics for Business before contacting Rice University.

What are Rice University's insurance requirements for suppliers?

Click here for supplier's insurance requirements for Rice University.

What are the Standard Terms & Conditions for Rice University Suppliers?

Suppliers must adhere to Rice University's Standard Terms & Conditions in order to do business with the University.

Are there any open solicitation opportunities for suppliers?

All open solicitation opportunities can be found on the Controller's Office website.

How do I register as a supplier?

Departments must identify a need for a supplier, present the information to the P2P department, and the supplier will need to complete the online supplier portal. See here for more information.

When is a W-9 (or W-8) required?

A W-9 is required from all companies, and any individuals who are being paid for goods and/or services for Rice University.

If you are a non-US company or individual, you will need to complete a W-8 BEN or W-8 BENE.

Do students need to complete a W-9?

Permanent residents will need to complete a W-9.

Students who are US Citizens will complete the supplier portal as a Rice Student and enter their S#. A W-9 is NOT required for these students.

Students who are NOT permanent residents or US Citizens are required to upload a W-8.

Procurement & Purchasing FAQs

What is iO?

iO is Rice University’s electronic purchasing tool that enables users to take advantage of a number of contracts and agreements specifically established to benefit Rice staff and faculty in their daily business needs. Access is restricted to Rice users only.

When is a purchase order required?

Any purchase over $3,000 requires a purchase order for payment to be processed. A purchase order MUST be issued ahead of obtaining goods and services on behalf of the University if a purchasing card is not used.

For the vast majority of purchasing needs, the Purchase Order is appropriate and the preferred method of purchasing goods and services. In cases where the Department cannot issue a purchase order, the Purchasing Representative will determine if the p-card is appropriate or will contact the Office of Procurement for assistance in identifying the most cost-effective alternative method available to the Office of Procurement to use to fulfill the demand. At no time is an employee or student authorized to commit the University to the purchase of any goods and/or services using any other method than the authorized methods in these procedures.
Examples of when a purchase order can be used effectively:

  • Issue to a supplier to order goods/services for a single purchasing event;
  • Issue to a supplier to order goods/services over a period of time (often referred to as a “blanket” Purchase Order)
How can I tell if my requisition has been approved?

See instructions on how to view requisition approvals here.

How do I close a Purchase Order?

See instructions on how to close a completed purchase order here.

How do I cancel a Purchase Order?

See instructions on how to cancel a purchase order in progress here. You CANNOT cancel a purchase order with an associated receipt or invoice, it must be Closed.

When is a Professional Services Agreement (PSA) necessary?

A Professional Services Agreement (PSA) is required for services over $3,000, however, employees are encouraged to use a PSA for all services provided to Rice University. A valid PSA requires the department's and supplier's signature. All PSA's now require a requisition/purchase order to process regardless of dollar amount.

Departments shall execute only one agreement, either Rice's Professional Services Agreement (PSA) or the suppliers'. It is the General Counsel's preference to employ Rice's PSA. If the supplier would like the PSA modified in any way, the Rice department must contact the Office of the General Counsel so that an attorney can review the specific request. Contracts designed by outside consultants, contractors, and companies must be routed to the General Counsel's office for review and approval.

When is a Sole Source Application (SSA) necessary?

Less Than Adequate Competition Available (requiring a Sole-Source Justification)
There will be instances when it is appropriate for a Purchaser to submit a Sole Source Justification (SSJ) to waive the competitive bid requirement. SSJs standardize the process so as not to create an unreasonable burden to the department processing the request as well as offer clear and concise reasoning to apply to the situation. It is important to understand that this is not an alternative purchasing method and that the Office of Procurement will review and approve the document before the commitment is made to a vendor. The only valid reasons acceptable to have a waiver considered are as follows and each requires a written explanation:

  • The product or service required is the only one that will meet the department/area’s need and it can only be obtained from one source (manufacturer/distributor/service provider).
  • The product or service is required to match existing installed equipment or systems or is obtained from a designated service provider to prevent a voided warranty or otherwise required by documented restrictions.
  • The service is controlled by state, local, or municipal authority, utility, or government. This is a contract for professional or artistic services (Note – requires a Professional Services Agreement or PSA).
  • The transaction is a re-order based upon a previous bid(s) resulting from a competitive award that has already occurred in the last calendar year and the pricing is set in accordance with that bid.
  • An unusual or compelling urgency exists that requires Rice University to waive the competitive bid requirement. (Note; Inadequate planning is not a valid reason to waive competition and may result in rejection of the bid requirement.

The Sole-Source Justification template can be found here.

I have signature authority - why can't I approve documents in iO?

Contact your supervisor to review your roles in iO, and then submit an iO help desk ticket.

Am I able to purchase from Ebay/Alibaba/Other Third Party Selling Sites?

To maintain the quality, reliability, and integrity of our products and operations, we have opted to avoid sourcing from third party selling sites. We appreciate your understanding and can assist with exploring alternative sourcing options that align with our goals. However if this represents a sole source procurement, the Procure To Pay department will assess each purchase individually, considering the specific circumstances.

Quality Control: Ebay/Alibaba/Other Third Party Selling Sites work with a wide range of suppliers, and the quality of products can vary significantly. Ensuring consistent quality and reliability is crucial for the university, and we have found it challenging to maintain this standard when sourcing from third party selling sites.

Counterfeit Products: Ebay/Alibaba/Other Third Party Selling Sites have faced issues with counterfeit products in the past. To protect our campus, we have chosen not to engage with suppliers from this platform to reduce the risk of receiving counterfeit goods.

Payment Security: Ebay/Alibaba/Other Third Party Selling Sites transactions often involve down payments, which can be risky due to potential scams or disputes. We prioritize secure payment methods and transparent transactions to protect our financial interests.

Intellectual Property Concerns: Intellectual property rights are not always rigorously enforced on Ebay/Alibaba/Other Third Party Selling Sites, and this can pose legal risks for us if we inadvertently purchase products that infringe on others' intellectual property rights.

Long Lead Times: Shipping from overseas suppliers on Ebay/Alibaba/Other Third Party Selling Sites can result in longer lead times, which may not align with your production and delivery schedules.

Does Rice University have agreements with Costco or Sam's Club?

There is no alliance between any shopping club (Sam's, Costco, otherwise) and Rice University that was negotiated and there is no contract or agreement with respect to this. No department or individual is permitted to negotiate on behalf of the University outside of Procurement to establish any such agreement. There is no authorization to charge a Sam's Club membership to the University as it is a personal benefit and not a University benefit, regardless of how it is claimed by the person responsible. It is potentially a taxable benefit.

Payment Processing FAQ

I received an email stating a Receipt is Required, what do I do?

See instructions on how to complete a receipt here.

How can I tell if an invoice has been paid?

The quickest and easiest way is to view the Requisition Life Cycle.

For further assistance, email and please have your purchase order number ready.

Where do I submit my invoice?

All invoices must be sent electronically to Please note the Supplier Invoice Requirements.

Where do I submit my credit memo?

All credit memos must be sent electronically to Please note the Supplier Credit Memo Requirements.

How do I process "Non-Rice Individual/Visitor" reimbursements?

Reimbursements for non-rice individuals or visitors should be processed as a Non-Standard Disbursement.

How is the conversion rate determined when paying in foreign currency?

The rate is calculated at the time the Treasurer's Office purchases the currency. This is also a two day process for sending foreign currency by wire transfer. The Treasury Office purchases the foreign currency first and then the wire is sent the next day. The Treasurer's Office will confirm the USD amount after the wire has been sent.

Disbursement Processing FAQ

I submitted an invoice, when will the supplier be paid?

AP Processors generate and process invoices, which disbursements matches the payment data against the original invoice or check request before releasing the file to Chase Bank.

Check files are sent to Chase Bank every Monday, with exceptions occurring on holidays and/or winter break. In these instances, the bank file will be processed on the next working business day. Checks are printed by Chase and mailed the following business day.

Single Use Account (SUA) Suppliers, Accounts Payable direct deposits (for Rice employees and Students), and wire transfers are processed daily.

What are Rice University's payment methods?

Rice University payment methods are listed here.

How do I sign up for reimbursement direct deposits?

Students, Visitors, and Employees can set up Direct Deposit through iO.

How do I ensure my supplier is paid by wire transfer?

Under certain circumstances, it is necessary for a department to request payment be made by wire transfer. Due to the time involved and the complexity of the transaction, wire transfers are discouraged unless no other payment method will suffice.

The University is charged a transaction fee by the bank for each wire transfer. This fee will be passed on to the requesting department.

Personnel within the department requesting payment should contact the vendor for specific details (i.e., bank instructions) regarding wiring instructions. The request (invoice or check request) should be entered in iO, along with wire instructions and appropriate back up. You must select "Wire Transfer Required" option otherwise a physical check will be produced. The transaction fee will be expensed to the fund/org codes designated on the check request for the wire payment.

Global Wire Payment Guide

Required Bank Details for Wires by Country

I need to stop payment to a supplier, what do I need to do?

Occasionally, a check that has been issued and mailed needs to be cancelled. A "cancel payment" is an action taken to void the check with Rice's bank. When this occurs, Rice is charged a transaction fee per cancelled check. Once this has been requested with the bank, the check will not be honored by Rice's bank.

NOTE: Our procedure is to wait 40 days from the check date to cancel a check. This allows USPS time to forward and/or return mail.

To request a "cancel payment" action on a check, email Payments at, with the following information:

- the check number
- the payee's name
- the amount of the check
- the reason for requesting a "cancel payment" if re-issuing
- the address where the re-issued check should be sent

Any time a "cancel payment" is requested, the check must be voided within Rice's financial system (Banner). We will automatically void any check for which a "cancel payment" has been issued.

Expenses FAQ

What is the mileage reimbursement rate?

The current rates are available under the Online Resources and References section of the Payment Solutions website.

What is the per diem rate?

Per diem rates are established by the US government. They are intended for use by federal employees. However, the IRS allows their use for meals for per diems (no receipts required and still have a qualified plan under IRS rules). Additionally, the IRS requires meals be pro-rated for day of departure and return. Rice uses these meal per diem rates for travel charged to a research grant.


How do I create an expense report?

Expense reports are now processed through iO. See instructions on how to create an expense report here.

Purchasing Card FAQ

What is a Purchasing Card?

The Purchasing Card (PCard) is a MasterCard product administered by JPMorgan Chase. Rice pays the bank once a week for all PCard purchases.

The PCard is a tool that facilitates timely acquisition of materials and supplies, automates data flow for accounting purposes, offers flexible controls to help ensure proper usage, and reduces transactions costs. The PCard program is designed as an alternative to a variety of processes including petty cash, check requests, and purchase orders for goods, supplies, and services under $3000. The PCard can also be used for travel and entertainment costs. The PCard complements the existing payment processes by reducing the payment time to outside vendors who accept Mastercard.

What are my responsibilities as a cardholder?

The card is issued to an individual. Approval from your supervisor or department chair/head (aka "approving official" or "one over") is necessary before you may receive a PCard. Only employees of Rice University are eligible to receive a PCard and each user is required to attend training and sign a Cardholder Agreement.

Although the PCard has NO impact on an employee's personal credit history, please remember that when using the card University funds are being committed. This is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the card(s) in their possession. Intentional misuse or abuse will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge from the university.

The PCard will work in the same way as any other credit card with the exception that the Rice Card should NEVER be used for personal charges or restricted items.

Restricted Items are as follows:

  • General Purchases equal to or greater than $3000 (does not apply to travel and entertainment charges)
  • Rice University Internal Vendors (Rice Catering, the Thresher, Rice Parking, etc.)
  • Cash Advances (e.g. ATM's)
  • Traveler's Checks
  • Hazardous Materials or Controlled Substances
  • Relocation Expenses (due to tax reporting requirements)
  • Non-Incorporated vendors and consultants (due to tax reporting requirements)
  • Any others as dictated by the University. See the Rice University Policies and Procedures on the Payment Solutions Guidelines and Procedures page.
How do I obtain a Purchasing Card or get further information on the Purchasing Card program?

You must complete an application that must be approved by the department chair/head and complete online PCard Training. It takes approximately two weeks from the time the completed form is processed by the Purchasing card Team until you receive your card. Send the necessary information to

What do I do if my Purchasing Card is lost or stolen?

Immediately notify:

JPMorgan Chase at 1-800-316-6056 (open 24 hours/day; 365 days/year),
Rice University Police (ext. 6000), AND
Purchasing Card Administrator (

NOTE: If the Cardholder has a card stolen or notices that the card is missing outside of normal business hours, he/she should contact the Rice Police (ext. 6000) immediately. The Police Department is open 24 hours a day and can supply the Cardholder with the JPMorgan Chase phone number. Notify the Purchasing Card Administrator on the following business day.

Rice is responsible for all charges on the card until JPMorgan Chase is notified of the loss or theft of the card by the Cardholder. Once JPMorgan Chase is notified, the card will automatically be suspended and a new card will be sent to the Purchasing Card Administrator for distribution to the Cardholder.

The supplier needs to verify my billing address for the Purchasing Card. Where do I find that information?

Contact for specific PCard information/limits.

My Purchasing Card was declined. What should I do?

First, call JPMorgan Chase at 800-316-6056 x 0. (This number is on the back of your card.) The bank can tell you why the charge was declined.

Your card may have been declined because the wrong expiration date was used, the wrong billing address was used or the card limit(s) were reached. Every card is customized by the department to allow for:

  • General Purchasing only
  • Travel and Entertainment only
  • Both General Purchasing and Travel and Entertainment
  • A limit on how much can be spent per purchase (single purchase limit)
  • A limit on how much can be spent per monthly cycle (cycle purchase limit)
  • A limit on how many daily transactions can be made (daily transaction limit)
  • A limit on how many transactions per monthly cycle can be made (cycle transaction limit)

If your card is declined because you have exceeded your limit and you believe the limits should be changed, talk to your department's Purchasing Card Approving Official. The Approving Official may email to request a temporary or permanent increase to any of the purchase or transaction limits. The Purchasing Card Change Form ( PDF ) may also be completed and sent to MS77 or fax to 6701. Contact the PCard Staff with any questions.

What do I do if tax was charged on my Purchasing Card transaction?

Rice University is tax-exempt and should not be charged sales tax for University purchases made in the State of Texas. Rice's Federal Tax Identification number is printed on the PCard for easy reference. The vendor will need the Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certification ( PDF ) provided by Disbursements. Other Rice purchases (in addition to PCard purchases) are also tax exempt following these same guidelines.

If a vendor charges tax on your Purchasing Card order, you should contact the vendor directly and have the vendor issue a "credit" to your card for the amount of the tax charged. For other forms of purchasing, the vendor should issue a corrected invoice with the tax removed from the total amount of the invoice.

What should I do if my Purchasing Card is charged more than once for the same order?

Your first point of contact should be directly with the vendor. If the charge is not legitimate, the vendor should credit your account. If they cannot provide documentation which supports the charge and are unwilling to credit your account, you should file a dispute with JPMorgan Chase (1-800-316-6056, ext. 0) and contact the Purchasing Card Staff. Disputes must be filed within 60 days of the charge or Rice may not be able to dispute the charge.

Can I use the Purchasing Card to make purchases on the Web?

Yes, the Purchasing Card can be used to make purchases on the Web. However, for Web transactions, we suggest you do whatever you can to minimize the security risks. See Ordering By Phone/Internet for more information about making purchases online.

Do not use the PCard if you are unsure whether it is a secure web site. Purchases such as web purchases, where the card is not physically presented to a merchant, are 100% covered in cases resulting in fraud or unauthorized use.

It is sometimes difficult to inform the vendor of Rice's tax-exempt status when purchasing via the Web. It may require a phone call to the vendor inquiring about the correct procedure to avoid paying sales tax. The vendor may request the tax-exemption form. The form can be faxed to them.

I used my purchasing card to buy airline tickets for future travel. How do I avoid having my PCard suspended due to these future travel related transactions?

Expenses related to travel in the future (e.g. airfare, hotel deposit, conference registrations, etc.) should be placed in a future dated expense report to avoid having cards suspended for not reconciling in a timely manner. The expense report should not be submitted for approval until after the travel has occurred.

The Controller's Office is located in the Cambridge Office Building, also known as COB, at the intersection of S. Main street and Cambridge street.

In this building you will find the the following Departments:

The Cashier's Office is a division of the Controllers Office, however, it is located in the Allen Center, directly behind the Cambridge Office building.

Our Location:

Cambridge Office Building
6100 Main Street MS 70
Houston, Texas 77005-1827