Essential Purchases Only
May 26, 2020
As indicated by leadership in a communication to faculty and staff on April 16, most discretionary spending is being paused. The overall goal is to mitigate spending with a focus on reducing non-essential expenses as much as possible. Your partnership as University leaders and budget leaders is critical to us successfully navigating a rapidly changing financial landscape.
Below were specific instructions included:
- Carefully review and defer non-personnel expenses
First, we ask that you carefully review all ongoing or planned non-personnel expenses in your areas to ensure that as a university we are devoting our resources to the most essential items. Non-essential expenditures should be deferred whenever possible. We rely upon your judgment of what should be considered essential.
- Expenditures over $50,000 will be reviewed centrally
All contracts, requisitions, and payment requests over $50,000 will be reviewed centrally to further ensure that our most significant commitments align with Northwestern’s essential functions and to help moderate institution-wide non-personnel expenditures.
- Schools and units should continue to use submit requests through current workflows managed by the Office of General Counsel (OGC) or Procurement and Payment Services (PPS).
- Once submitted through these channels, financial commitments over $50,000 will now also be reviewed by the Budget Office, which will make determinations in consultation with the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance.
- Requests related to the following will be approved:
- Those critical to life-safety, security, wellness, or online instruction.
- Contracts, leases, and equipment purchases related to sponsored research, as well as equipment and supply purchases for the Center for Comparative Medicine.
- Expenses stemming from previously approved contracts and leases.
- Any deferrals will be communicated through current workflow processes and may be resubmitted for consideration in the future.
- As a reminder, after this review process has been completed, the agreement must be signed by someone who has signature authority.
Spend reports are sent to leadership regularly in order to keep them informed as to how departments and schools are spending their budget dollars. This includes purchase orders, payment requests, corporate card transactions, and expense reports.