Accounts Payable and Purchasing

The Accounts Payable and Purchasing Office (APPO) ensures all purchases and payments comply with federal, state, university and government regulations, policies and procedures. APPO is responsible for the procurement of goods and services, project expenditures, the monitoring of Sponsored Programs sub-recipient payment activity, as well as travel reimbursements. APPO also oversees the procurement card program.

The Research Foundation must ensure that all expenditures comply with sponsor, Research Foundation and University guidelines. In addition, in accordance with federal requirements, all expenditures must be reasonable, allowable and allocable to the sponsored project. MANY SPONSORS PROHIBIT PURCHASING GOODS AND SERVICES WITHIN THE LAST 90 DAYS OF AN AWARD. PLEASE INQUIRE WITH APPO AT 76752 PRIOR TO MAKING ANY PURCHASES WITHIN THE LAST 90 DAYS. The Research Foundation purchasing operation at Binghamton is primarily decentralized. This means the authorization to purchase has been delegated to the project level. The roles of our purchasing and accounts payable staff are to assist project staff with the purchase of necessary project items and equipment at the best price possible; establish quality relationships with suppliers that will meet project needs; and get goods, products and services to project staff as quickly as possible. We also ensure funds are available to support the purchases. We work closely with the state purchasing office when state funds are being used to support sponsored project purchases.

We also monitor payments to suppliers and support the concept of prompt payment. APPO will work with you to resolve any delays of receipt of materials or payment problems.

Policies and Procedures

Purchasing Threshold

When Bids and Formal Proposals are Required


Bids or formal proposals are required based on the estimated total dollar amount of the purchase requisition. The following table shows the requirements for the solicitation of bids and proposals:

Methods of Procurement when using Federal or Federal Flow-Through Funds

(up to $50,000.00) No requirement for solicitations of bids or proposals. When the same suppliers are used repeatedly or on an ongoing basis for various procurements within this range, pricing and quality of the goods and services must be reviewed periodically and the results maintained in a supplier procurement file.

($50,000.00 to $250,000.00) Solicitation of bids or proposals required, and procurement requires selection from a minimum of two written or verbal quotes.

(over $250,000.00) Solicitation of written bids or proposals required and procurement requires selection from a minimum of three written bids or proposals. Also, requires a cost or price analysis which at a minimum should include making independent estimates before receiving bids or proposals.

Methods of Procurement when using Non-Federal Funding Sources

(up to $50,000.00) No requirement for solicitations of bids or proposals. When the same suppliers are used repeatedly or on an ongoing basis for various procurements within this range, pricing and quality of the goods and services must be reviewed periodically and the results maintained in a supplier procurement file.

($50,000.00 to $250,000.00) Solicitation of bids or proposals required, and procurement requires selection from a minimum of two written or verbal quotes.

(over $250,000.00) Solicitation of written bids or proposals required, and procurement requires selection from a minimum of three written bids or proposals.

Sealed Bids or Proposals:


The sealed bid or proposal process includes the following steps:

  • preparing and distributing the solicitation,
  • receiving the bids or proposals,
  • opening and evaluating the bids or proposals in a meeting, and
  • selecting a supplier.
Single and sole source justification

A single source procurement is a purchase from a supplier chosen without soliciting the minimum number of bids or proposals, despite the fact that competition exists, because of extenuating circumstances (e.g., integration with current system is essential or changing equipment will have an adverse effect on research, emergency situation).

A sole source procurement is a purchase from the only available supplier for the product or service. Therefore, no bids or proposals are required. Note: Since "single" and "sole" source procurements are often difficult to document, it is important to contact the APPO for assistance before making any commitment to a supplier. The following form must be used for single/sole source purchase: Single_sole source documentation.

Confirming phone purchase orders using EPO

We now have a Procurement Card issued thru Bank of America that can be used for many purchases under $2,500.00 including travel expenses. Please consider this option before requesting an EPO account.

This process can be used for orders under $2,500.00. Principal investigator and or delegate have the ability to obtain confirming purchase order numbers to order supplies thru phone call to supplier. Project personnel can request electronic purchase order (EPO) access to obtain a EPO at any time. This process expedites purchasing of necessary supplies and/or services without having to issue a formal PO. If supplier wants official PO, then do not request an EPO. You can provide a confirming phone PO number to the supplier. The supplier should mail or email invoice to We have a 2-way match for invoice payments. We match invoice to EPO. If there is no invoice to EPO discrepancies then per the automated invoice payment exception handling approval process, you authorize invoice payment within 10 business days of receipt of invoice unless we are informed from PI or staff to not make payment to supplier. We also have a workflow email that will ask for confirmation/receipt of goods ordered. You will receive this email notification 7 days after order placed. And every 7 days until you acknowledge receipt of goods ordered. If you return item(s) to supplier, we will get credit invoice to credit the project. As always, you have the Research Foundation Report Center and Principal Investigator dashboard access to review all payment activity or call 76752 to discuss any APPO matters.

Invoices and payment authorization

After an order has been placed with a supplier, the original invoice is sent to APPO. If the original invoice is received by project personnel, please forward it to APPO. We will make payment to the supplier with original invoice unless special circumstances are noted on the copy of the invoice. It is important that we pay our suppliers on a timely basis. Forward the receiving copy of the Purchase Order with an “OK to pay” note to APPO as soon as your supplies or services have been received.

Confirming orders, payment vouchers and reimbursements

If project personnel have already purchased items that are used for the conduct of a sponsored project and require reimbursement, an RF Purchase Requisition/Payment form is to be completed in the Workflow system. Attach all documentation pertaining to the reimbursement request. Business/research justification statement is also required to detail usage of the items. In most cases, the supervisor needs to sign/authorize the reimbursement. The request must be routed to the Principle Investigator for the charged award, who must approve the request before it is routed to APPO for processing. If there are any special circumstances involved, please note on the reimbursement request. If any of the receipts are more than 6 months from reimbursement request, than a note as to the reason for the late submission should be provided with the payment voucher. This is the same for travel expense claim. The IRS can consider late submission of reimbursement to be a taxable event. Please submit reimbursement claims as soon as you can.

Reimbursement/payment for meal meeting expenses

This type of expense is generally not allowed on federal awards. However, is allowable on infrastructure/incentive awards. We require the original receipt, note as to purpose of meeting, why the meeting was held at that time and those in attendance. Reimbursement from the Research Foundation for hosting expenses (meals, gatherings) must include an itemized receipt of all expenses, purpose of the event and who participated. This includes reimbursement for working lunches and dinners. If this information is not included, reimbursements will not be processed.

Engaging Independent Contractors

To engage an independent contractor, the following actions are required:

Classification form is used to determine status of independent contractor and to verify individual is not an employee. The form Classification as Independent Contractor or Employee for Technical or Professional Services is completed. The form asks what is commonly referred to "Twenty Factors of the Common Law Test." The IC - Classification form and assistance are available from APPO. If the classification determines the individual is an employee, then payment must be processed through the Research Foundation Human Resources payroll system. If the classification determines the person providing the services is an independent contractor, payment is processed through the accounts payable process. 

Determine the person's citizenship status for tax purposes. Two separate tax schedules are used dependent upon the independent contractor's citizenship. Non-U.S. citizen payments require pre-withholding of federal taxes. The contractor will be notified of status. If the payment to the contractor is over $600, a formal independent contractor agreement is processed and must be signed by the contractor before payment. The contractor is provided a copy of the appropriate agreement. Once the independent contractor forms are completed and services provided, payment is made upon submission of an invoice. Payments to independent contractors are considered miscellaneous income and a Social Security number or Employee Identification number is required from each contractor. For payments greater than $600, the Research Foundation will issue IRS Form 1099 Miscellaneous Income to the contractor.

Note: Payment to non-U.S. citizens can be complicated and there are specific tax issues that require careful attention. Before any commitment of payment to a non-U.S. citizen, contact APPO to ensure payment can be made and that required documents are completed.

Human subject payments

The Research Foundation makes payments to persons who participate in sponsored projects as human subjects. There must be Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before we can make any human subject payment. We need to know the IRB # and when the protocol active dates or when expires. Payments to human subjects are considered non-employee compensation and are subject to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) annual reporting requirements for miscellaneous income (1099 reporting). Single payments greater than $100.00 should be paid directly to the human subject/participant. All financial details of the human subject are kept in strictest confidence and do not breach human subject confidentiality requirements. We generally issue payment to the human subject directly unless there are special circumstances. Gift cards can be given to human subjects in lieu of cash. The Principle Investigator (PI) will need to purchase the gift cards and we will reimburse the PI. We must have an original detailed receipt along with name and amount paid to each subject participant. The Human Subject Payment form can be used to document payment to a human subject. For special arrangements with payments to human subjects, contact the Director of Accounts Payable, Purchasing and Travel at 76752.

Honorarium payments

An honorarium, and in some circumstances, reimbursement of expenses is often paid to a lecturer or speaker when the presentation is not extensive or the lecturer does not ask for compensation. SUNY policy does permit the payment of honoraria but limits to $100.00 per day plus expenses.

Advance accounts

The campus has an Advance Account to fund rush or emergency orders. This includes, but is not limited to, travel, registration, salary and prepaid orders. Advances should be used on an exception basis. Please note on the purchase requisition/payment voucher if rush processing is required, or call 76752 to discuss. We will advise you of the best way to expedite the order.

Wire transfers

We have the ability to wire transfer funds to most national and international locations. A notation needs to be made on the purchase requisition if a wire transfer is required. In some cases the wire transfer will not be any faster than first class or air mail. There is a fee for processing wire transfers. The bank name, address, account number, the name of the account, and routing number are required to accommodate wire transfers.

Non-Resident Alien payments

Payments to non U.S. citizens can be very complicated. Generally payments to non-resident aliens take approximately two weeks. In certain cases we cannot make payments for honorarium or travel costs. Please consult with the APPO staff before engaging non-resident aliens. The following provides general guidance with the process for making payments to non-resident aliens:

-The Form "Request for Alien Information" is completed.

-Form "W-8 Certificate of Foreign Status" is completed by all non-resident aliens. All non-resident aliens must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security Number (SSN) before payment can be made.

-Based on the information received it is determined if the payment is taxable or exempt from taxation. If the individual is from a country that has a US Tax Treaty, Form "8233 Exemption from Withholding from Compensation" is completed. Upon submission of the Form 8233 to the IRS we will release payment to the non-resident alien after a mandated 10 day waiting period. If the United States and the non-resident alien's country do not have a tax treaty, all payments are subject to a 30% pre-withholding tax. Either the payment is taxed and the resulting payment to the non-resident alien decreased or the payment can be increased to cover the tax. In some cases payments to travel agencies are also taxable. Since each payment can be unique, it is important to consult with APPO prior to engagement of a non-resident alien.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa. To see entire text click this link.

Tax exemption status

As a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, the Research Foundation is exempt from sales tax on goods and services purchased or obtained within New York State. Tax exempt forms for New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, California, Kentucky and Massachusetts are available for Research Foundation purchases or payments. Most businesses in New York accept the tax exempt form. If the tax exemption is NOT waived by the supplier/business, then provide a notation on the reimbursement request and consideration of reimbursement for the tax will be made by APPO. Many businesses outside of New York state do not accept the tax exemption waiver. The Research Foundation DOES reimburse for out of state taxes paid. Contact APPO at 76752 for any of the tax exempt forms.

Endorsement on contractual documents

The campus has identified persons authorized to sign on behalf of the Research Foundation. It is imperative that if you are forwarded any type of document for an authorized signature, this could be maintenance, lease, rental and software agreements, changes to project terms and conditions, etc that you not sign but forward to APPO for review and endorsement. An authorized signatory on the document provides you with the administrative and legal protection under the corporation. Please contact APPO if there are questions.

Direct Deposit of reimbursements and travel advances

We have the ability to make direct deposit reimbursements to you. Please complete the ACH enrollment form and submit to Marianne Cannon in APPO at We will then set-up and or update the Oracle supplier record to make direct deposit to your selected bank or credit union account. After we make the payment, you will receive an email notification of the payment so you know that payment has been deposited into your account. 

Minority Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Purchases

Some sponsors require we establish purchasing goals and objectives from MWBE suppliers. A searchable directory of Certified Minority and Women Owned businesses in New York is here.

Moving/Relocation Reimbursement Expense 

Moving Expense Reimbursement Form

Effective January 1, 2018 - All moving expense reimbursements paid to or for employees are taxable income to the employee. This starts with payments in 2018 even if previously negotiated in 2017.

It is important to understand and communicate this impact during negotiations of employment and planning. All negotiated and agreed upon moving expenses reimbursements will need to process through the payroll system. We are currently working on revisions to the form and procedures.

Criteria to be eligible for moving expenses reimbursements has not changed such as incentive for hire, move of personal goods, family and meeting IRS time and distance tests.

Specific RF processing change / impact:
Amounts previously paid to a third party through accounts payable for the physical move, such as a moving company, are no longer excluded from tax and reporting for the employee and must process through payroll for tax withholding and reporting on the employee W-2. Amounts paid directly to the employee through payroll for cost tied to the physical move must have tax withheld.

December 22, 2017, "H.R. 1 The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" was signed into law and effective January 1, 2018. One of the provisions was to suspend exclusions or tax exemptions for reimbursements for moving expenses until January 1, 2026.

Previous rules:
Qualified expenses (i.e. directly tied to the physical move) - paid to a 3rd party such as a moving company for the move were not taxable OR reportable.
Qualified expenses paid to the employee were not taxable but reportable on the W-2 and separate box 12-P.

January 1, 2018 – Dec. 31, 2025:
All agreed upon moving expense reimbursements are considered non-qualified, taxable and reportable on the W-2, Box 1 taxable wages whether paid directly to the employee OR to a 3rd party.

Shipment of goods ordered, deliver to campus

All items and goods ordered for Research Foundation research activity must be delivered to campus, either to central receiving or directly to department. Goods should not be delivered to home address.