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Payment

A purchase transaction is complete only after the goods or services have been received and the supplier has been paid. When a purchase order is issued, the department/school assumes responsibility to make sure the vendor is paid within an appropriate period of time. By issuing a Purchase Order through NUFinancials in advance of the purchase, funds are properly encumbered and set aside to pay these obligations. The encumbrance is not a contract, but ensures that the required funding is available. Accounts Payable pays invoices for the University including those for external vendor purchases, employee reimbursements, and payments to U.S. independent contractors.

Payment information for vendors

Submitting invoices

  • Invoices should be submitted electronically to invoicesonly@northwestern.edu. Please note this does not apply to:
    • Invoices that need to be signed-off on by department or school staff prior to submitting them to Accounts Payable for payment (such as consulting services or construction projects) can still be sent directly to the department or school. The department or school will then need to scan and email the invoice to invoicesonly@northwestern.edu.
    • iBuyNU vendors should continue to send their invoices electronically through iBuyNU.
    • Sponsored subcontract invoices should continue to be sent to ASRSP-subk-EV@northwestern.edu or ASRSP-subk-CH@northwestern.edu, as specified in the subcontract.
    • Invoices that are currently submitted for payment using another University approved system (such as Library subscription and book payments, INVO royalty payments, and Risk Management claims).
  • If you are not able to send invoices or other correspondence to Accounts Payable through one of the above referenced email addresses, they should be mailed to:
    • Accounts Payable
      2020 Ridge Avenue, 2nd Floor
      Evanston, Illinois 60208
  • A Northwestern purchase order number (PUR) must be included on the invoices
    • If there is no purchase order (PUR) number the vendor must work with the specific department/school for invoice processing.
  • To ensure invoices are processed as quickly as possible with limited errors or review needed, invoices should be submitted following the instructions below:
    • The invoice should be attached to an email
      • Do not send emails with an imbedded link to a portal that Northwestern would need to download an invoice from.
    • The invoice can be a pdf, word document, or excel file
    • Only send one invoice attachment per email
    • Do not send one attachment with multiple invoices. If multiple invoices are sent in the same attachment, use the attached separator sheet between invoices.
    • Do not send zip files attached to emails

Submitting other correspondence

Other correspondence that needs to go to Accounts Payable, including statements and credits, should be emailed to accounts-payable@northwestern.edu.

Electronic payment to vendors

To discuss e-Payment Solutions, visit our website or contact Nick Gang at n-gang@northwestern.edu.

Standard payment and purchase order terms

Visit the Northwestern purchase order terms and conditions webpage to view payment and PO terms.

Vendor payment information for Northwestern faculty and staff

Submitting invoices

  • Vendors are instructed to send invoices electronically to invoicesonly@northwestern.edu. Please note this does not apply to:
    • Invoices that still need to be signed off on by department or schools staff prior to submitting them to Accounts Payable for payment can still be sent directly to the department or school.  The department or school will then need to scan and email the invoice to invoicesonly@northwestern.edu.
    • iBuyNU vendors should continue to send their invoices electronically through iBuyNU.
    • Sponsored subcontract invoices should continue to be sent to ASRSP-subk-EV@northwestern.edu or ASRSP-subk-CH@northwestern.edu, as specified in the subcontract.
    • Invoices that are currently submitted for payment using another University approved system (such as Library subscription and book payments, INVO royalty payments, and Risk Management claims).
  • If an invoice is received by a department or school directly from a vendor that includes a PUR number, it should be scanned and emailed to invoicesonly@northwestern.edu for processing.
  • Ensure that all invoices, regardless if sent directly by the vendor or by the department or school, include a purchase order number (PUR) before they are sent to this inbox.
  • If an invoice does not have a purchase order (PUR), the department/school must process the invoices through a payment request - do not send the invoice to Accounts Payable.
  • If an invoice references an old purchase order number, the department/school must add the correct purchase order number to the invoice and re-submit the invoice to invoicesonly@northwestern.edu. Also inform the vendor of the updated purchase order number.

Submitting other correspondence

Other correspondence that needs to go to Accounts Payable, including statements and credits, should be emailed to accounts-payable@northwestern.edu.

Match exceptions / AP invoice “send backs”

  • Invoices may be sent back to departments from AP for the following reasons:
    • The PO number is not valid, PO number is closed, PO is not listed, PO is over tolerance, invoice does not match the listed PO, blanket does not have enough funds, a duplicate invoice has been submitted, the PO was not set-up as an amount only order, AP needs additional information to process the invoice, the remittance address is not on file, or the vendor does not accept US dollars.
    • The emailed send back notification will specify why the invoice was sent back to the department.
  • The most common cause of a match exception is a missing receiver.
  • Helpful Cognos Reports for departments:
    • SC016 Open Encumbrance Report and SC027 Match Exceptions Report
  • iBuyNU match exceptions reviewed by eProcurement team, all others are reviewed by the AP team.

Alternative Procurement & Payment methods (non-purchase order)

Procurement and Payment Services has identified some exceptions for certain transaction types that are considered low dollar and low risk, where a formal Purchase Order may not be as necessary. These guidelines are only meant to clarify payment options for certain services: they do not change any other Northwestern or department/school policies and procedures. Please review the Alternative Procurement & Payment Methods document.

Payment terms & penalties

Every vendor's invoice is due for payment within some period of time after it is generated. This is normally computed as the number of days after the invoice is received. The University's standard for payment of vendor invoices is within thirty (30) days after receipt of the invoice. This is referred to as payment terms of 'NET 30.' The University must pay its obligations in a timely manner. Failure to comply with payment terms often leads to:

  • Credit hold, where a vendor refuses to fill any subsequent orders until the outstanding obligation has been paid.
  • Less favorable terms, where a vendor charges a late payment penalty or even demands payment in advance.
  • Higher prices on future purchases.

A vendor may impose one or more of the above actions on the entire University even if the dispute involves only one department/school within the University. The Accounts Payable department does what is necessary to prevent any of the above from happening while acting within sound financial controls. Departments/schools must ensure that purchases are properly accounted for in NUFinancials to enable the invoice to be paid once it is received by Accounts Payable.

The 90-day rule

All University expenditures and costs should be charged to their proper source of funds within 90 days of their occurrence. Expenditures and costs over 90 days will be posted only on an exception basis. Processing of all reimbursement requests, on both sponsored and non-sponsored accounts, should adhere to the 90-day rule. Departments/schools must use the 90 Day Exception Form to process transactions that are more than 90 days old.

Reminders for Northwestern faculty/staff

While the new invoice processing is more automated, the NUFinancials rules are still applicable, such as the need to add a receiver for POs over $5,000, payments against blankets, and payments against receive by dollar amount POs.

Contact

Contact information

Customer Service phone
847.491.7339

Accounts Payable email addresses:

Gary Ernsteen
Accounts Payable Manager
2020 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847.491.2781
Email: g-ernsteen@northwestern.edu