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BEN Buys User Roles & Responsibilities

The guidelines contained in this site document the roles and responsibilities of BEN Buys PO Manager and Requisitioners. When in doubt, authorized BEN Buys system users are to contact BEN Helps, visit the BEN Knows web site, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Purchasing Services for assistance with a purchasing related requirements, problems or issues. Supplier payment related questions are to be directed to Accounts Payable.

All BEN Buys system users are required to successfully complete BEN Buys training, be aware of and understand all University Procurement and Disbursement Financial Policies, and any School or Center specific business requirements. The statement, "I didn't know" is not an acceptable reason for non-compliance or violation of University purchasing policies and procedures.

When creating or approving purchases of products and services on behalf of the University via the BEN Buys Purchasing System, all authorized PO Managers and Requisitioners must adhere to the following system user roles and responsibilities.

BEN Buys PO Manager

The BEN Buys PO Manager receives purchasing authority by delegation from the Director of Purchasing, who receives authority from the Trustees, and the School or Center Senior Financial Officer. With this authority, the PO Manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with all University procurement and disbursement policies, School or Center specific requirements, ethics in purchasing, and detailed instructions in the BEN Buys Purchase Order Manager User Guide.

A BEN Buys PO Manager has the ability to create (in accordance with the BEN Buys Requisitioner responsibilities listed below) and approve a purchase order up to their purchase order approval limit in the BEN Buys purchase order approval hierarchy. A PO Manager is also responsible for reviewing and approving all purchase requisitions submitted to them by any BEN Buys Requisitioner in their hierarchy.

With the delegated authority to create purchase requisitions and approve purchase orders under designated approval dollar limit, BEN Buys PO Managers are to:

  • Confirm that the Requisitioner has successfully completed all requirements for all purchase requisitions forwarded to them for approval.
  • When creating a purchase requisitions, adhere to all BEN Buys Requisitioner roles and responsibilities listed below.
  • Confirm that the appropriate purchasing method is being used for the required purchase.
  • Approve aggregate product or service purchases under $ 5,000 locally according to the PO Manager approval hierarchy; aggregate purchases in excess of $ 5,000 must also be forwarded to Purchasing Services for final approval.
  • Validate the funding source for the product/service on the Request for Purchase to ensure that proper funds are available. Every product or service ordered must have a valid funding source, or charge account, whether it is a school/center budget, grant, or other source.
  • Forward any supplier contracts or lease agreements to Purchasing Services for review and sign-off prior to final approval of the purchase order.
  • Check other special requirements for purchases such as radioactive materials and animals.
  • Check that special handling/shipping instructions for the supplier transfer from the requisition onto the P.O.

Any BEN Buys PO Manager who violates University procurement and disbursement financial policies is subject to disciplinary action including written warnings, mandatory retraining, and loss of purchasing authority. Examples of activities that violate policy include:

  • Fraudulent transactions
  • Unauthorized purchases
  • Transactions that exceed approval authority
  • Purchases for personal use or benefit
  • Violation of ethical buyer/seller relationships
  • Unauthorized signing of supplier contracts

BEN Buys Requisitioner

The BEN Buys Requisitioner receives requisition creation authority by delegation from the Director of Purchasing, who receives authority from the Trustees, and the School or Center Senior Financial Officer. With this authority, the BEN Buys Requisitioner must comply with all University procurement and disbursement policies, all School or Center specific requirements, ethics in purchasing, and detailed instructions in the BEN Buys Requisitioner User Guide.

The Requisitioner acts as an agent for the University and is required to ensure that all purchase requirements are initiated correctly in BEN Buys. The Requisitioner is responsible for all purchasing details including line types (for non-catalog orders), sourcing and funding information (if known), special instructions, and/or unique requirements for hazardous/radioactive materials or laboratory animals.

With the delegated authority to create purchase requisitions, BEN Buys Requisitioners are to:

  • Create purchase requisitions that are for University business requirements only, contain accurate and up-to-date information, and in compliance with all purchasing policies and procedures.
  • Utilize Preferred Contract and/or Penn Marketplace suppliers whenever possible for product and services requirements.
  • Utilize Local Community and Diversity suppliers whenever possible.
  • Shop in the Penn Marketplace for required products or services prior to creating a non-catalog order. Select products and services from marketplace content whenever possible to ensure the accuracy of purchase data.
  • Do not create non-catalog requests for items that are available in the Penn Marketplace. Non-catalog requests for marketplace items generally lead to data errors, process exceptions, and invoice payment problems.
  • When creating a non-catalog purchase order line, it is required that each line's unit cost for non-catalog requirements is verified to ensure accurate purchasing data that can be successfully matched to the corresponding supplier purchase order invoice after products have been shipped and invoiced.
  • Select the appropriate Commodity Category.
  • Select the appropriate purchase order Line Type (Supplies, Services/Maintenance or Repairs).
  • Ensure that all non-catalog create purchase order lines contain appropriate and necessary information.
  • Enter the appropriate Charge Account if available. If not, enter appropriate charging instruction information provided by the requestor in the "Notes to Approver" field.
    • For items purchased over $5,000(Unit cost >$5,000 or <$5,000 when ordering components to be used in the assembly of a piece of equipment) enter the appropriate Property Management information starting with the appropriate 18XX charge account.
  • Obtain or receive from the requestor, formal supplier quotations for any purchase with a total aggregate cost of $5,000 or more. Enter competitive bidding information, sole source justification, or request to waive the competitive bidding requirements in accordance with the formal Competitive Bidding Guidelines.
  • Enter the twenty-six digit charge account or funding source where indicated, if the funding source is known. If the purchase relates to a grant, you should refer to the Principal Investigator (PI) to determine whether it is an allowable expense. If the funding source is not known, you should ask the Customer for a specific project or activity for which the purchase is intended before the request is processed otherwise the PO Manager will indicate the correct account.
  • Forward all lease agreements and contracts to Purchasing Services for review and approval prior to final approval of the purchase order. For everyone's protection, University faculty and staff are not authorized to sign contracts, regardless of the dollar amount, on behalf of the University - otherwise individuals could inadvertently become personally liable for the commitment. Along with the contract/lease agreement, send a completed purchase order.
  • Provide additional information for certain specialized purchases before processing the requisition:
    1. For radioactive product purchases, the requisitioner is required to obtain the Radioactive Materials (RAM) number.
    2. For moveable equipment at a unit cost over $ 5,000, make sure to use the appropriate 18xx object code in order to enter the proper property management information which includes category, building, floor, room, custodian and tagging contact.
    3. For products and services with an aggregate total cost of $ 5,000 or more:
      1. If purchased on Penn Marketplace or from a Contract Supplier, "least total cost" pricing has been pre-negotiated and the competitive bidding process is waived.
      2. If not purchased from a Penn Marketplace or contract supplier, competitive bids are required. You may solicit bids/quotations from three competent suppliers yourself, or contact Purchasing Services staff to assist in the process.
    4. For purchases related to animals, forward the animal procurement requirements established by the University Laboratory Animal Resources (ULAR).
  • Enter any special handling/shipping instructions for a Penn Marketplace supplier by creating an additional line on the requisition in the amount of $0. In this line, enter a note in the description field with any special instructions for the supplier. For a non-EDI supplier simply make a note in the appropriate drop-down box.
  • Monitor Requisitioner Status page or Notifications Page for possible rejected requests usually caused by errors or missing data.

A BEN Buys Requisitioner who violates University procurement and disbursement financial policies is subject to disciplinary action including written warnings, mandatory retraining, and loss of purchasing authority. Examples of activities that violate policy include:

  • Fraudulent transactions
  • Unauthorized purchases
  • Transactions that exceed approval authority
  • Purchases for personal use or benefit
  • Violation of ethical buyer/seller relationships
  • Unauthorized signing of supplier contracts