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Business Operations and Purchasing FAQs

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to Coronavirus/COVID-19 and Procure to Pay functions. Click on the below questions to expand the answer. For any other Procure to Pay related questions, email

1. Have any changes been implemented to Procurement and Payment Services related operations, such as mail delivery, receiving, check printing, etc.?

Yes. In support of our staff members and following the University's guidance on limiting non-essential staff on campus, we are implementing several changes beginning Monday, March 23. Details are included on the Procurement related operational changes page on the Procurement website. We hope that these changes will allow you to adjust your own staff required to be onsite, and we ask for your patience during this transition. (Added 3/19/2020)

2. Should departments and schools place orders for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and supplies from vendors that are reaching out to them?

Procurement and Payment Services is warning Northwestern departments and schools to proceed with extreme caution when approached by a vendor claiming to have access to much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and supplies. Many of these offers are either from fraudulent vendors looking to take advantage of the scarcity of COVID-19 related supplies, or the product being offered does not meet current regulatory compliance standards. The items most often being marketed are respirators and masks.

Our recommendation is to first continue working with Northwestern Preferred Vendors (especially those with catalogs in iBuyNU that show real time inventory levels). They are receiving new shipments of many products every day. (Added 4/1/20)

3. Are there any special requirements for respiratory protection equipment?

All respiratory protection (N95's, etc.) must be NIOSH approved. For guidance on the selection of PPE, contact the Office of Research Safety and the Office of Risk Management. Below is a link to a list of all approved respiratory protection published by the CDC:  (Added 4/1/20)

4. Once we know the vendor is legitimate, how should we proceed?

If it is determined that the vendor and the item being marketed are legitimate, submit a request to Vendor File Management to have them added to the vendor table in NUFinancials so a formal Purchase Order can be issued. We recommend that you NOT use your Corporate Card to make purchases from these vendors.

If you need any other assistance, contact Procurement and Payment Services at (Added 4/1/20)