Documenting Small Purchases or Micro Purchases

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Q. What documentation is needed to support a Small Purchase? A Micro Purchase?

A. A useful standard for documentation of small purchases is found in the answer to the question; “How much would satisfy a third party (an auditor) that you have complied with your agency’s policies and procedures and that the price you are paying is reasonable.” This will usually include the requisition (or purchase request), the specifications used, a list of the firms from whom quotations were requested, the quotations received (a simple abstract of the quotes will do), and a copy of the purchase order. If price or rate quotations are requested orally, a record should be made showing from whom they were received, together with the date and amount of the quote.

The documentation needed for micro purchases is intended to be simpler; a copy of the purchase order, the determination that the price is fair and reasonable (could be a check in a box intended for this purpose) and how this determination was derived. Recording how the price was determined to be reasonable could also be a check in a box next to one of several means for making such determinations. For example: (1) catalogue price sold to the general public, (2) compared to competitive price of same or similar item within past year, (3) compared to the pricing history of the same item over several years, etc.

Both of these determinations may be simply recorded by hand-written notes on the purchase request or the file copy of the purchase order. (Reviewed: July 2010)                                            

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