Purchasing/Accounts Payable

The Fiscal Services' purchasing functions include several important responsibilities.  In accordance with District Policy, purchasing activities include ensuring responsible stewardship of available resources, safeguarding District assets, maintaining internal controls, and assistance in meeting District fiscal objectives.  In compliance with state laws and pertinent regulations, our purchasing processes follow the California Education Code and Public Contract Code, in addition to Board Policies and Administrative Procedures.  Purchasing is also responsible for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Acts and adherence to grant restrictions for federal funds.

Accounts Payable (A/P) processes the District’s disbursements.  A/P works in coordination with Purchasing to assist in the process of procuring and ultimately paying for purchases of materials, supplies, equipment, contract and other services.

Purchasing Matrix

Marin Community College District Purchasing Matrix (Download PDF)

Procurement Card Program

The State of California Department of General Services entered into a Master Services Agreement for purchase card services with U.S. Bank.  The program allows the use of the Procurement Card (Visa) for making small-dollar purchases of materials and services.

Using the Procurement Card, also known as the CAL-Card, will save time and money for the District, largely through consolidating and streamlining paperwork.  The Cardholder, in particular, will find the Procurement Card convenient for small dollar purchase of materials and services:

  • Making walk-in purchases
  • Placing telephone orders
  • Placing orders for publications, subscriptions, dues/memberships, etc.
  • Confirming hotel travel accommodations

The Marin Community College District Procurement Card (CAL-Card) Procedure Handbook contains all program related information and associated forms. For monthly procurement card reconciliation please use the Procurement Card Monthly Purchase Report. 

Procurement Card Application

District Check Request

The Check Request Form is intended to supplement the Purchasing Card program by providing a simple method to pay for supplies, materials, seminars, conferences, memberships, subscriptions, etc. for those vendors who do not accept the Purchasing Card.

Use this form for purchases up to $1,000.00, including employee reimbursement for incidental out-of-pocket reimbursement.

The Check Request Form should not be used for capital outlay, furniture, or equipment (any item that has a single unit cost of greater than $200.00) unless the intended purchase is pre-approved by the Vice President of College Operations of the Director of Fiscal Services.
The College of Marin has established the check request process to expedite payments for minor orders from vendors who do not accept the Purchasing Card. Therefore, check requestors should not enter these types of orders in the Banner Self Service system.

Any intended order that does not meet the above criteria should be processed via a purchase requisition in the Banner Self Service system.

Purchase Requisitions

Employees shall not make any purchases or incur any charges outside of the District policies and procedures. Managers shall not authorize any purchase or incur any charges outside of the District's purchasing policies and procedures. 

A Purchase Requisition is a purchase request completed by assigned employees (initiators) within the District’s various departments.  The department initiator completes a Purchase Requisition in the Banner Self Service system, and it is then routed through the approval queue hierarchy.  Depending on the department, a Purchase Requisition may require several individuals to approve the purchase request including, but not limited to, the department budget manager and Fiscal Services.

When preparing a Purchase Requisition, the initiator must select an existing vendor in the Self Service Banner (SSB) system.  If the user wishes to select a vendor who is not currently listed in the Banner system, then the District Buyer will register a new vendor into Banner after the vendor submits a fully-completed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-9.  See Vendors and Payments below.  Once the new vendor exists in the Banner system, then the Purchase Requisition initiator may select that vendor for the purchase request.

Initiators should code the purchase request to the appropriate FOAP (Fund-Organization-Account-Program) based on the nature of the expenditure.  Purchase requests should not be coded based on where budget funds are available; instead, code the Purchase Requisition based on the nature of the goods or services being requested.  If there are no available funds in a specific FOAP, then the initiator or other department users should initiate a discretionary budget transfer to the FOAP necessary to complete the Purchase Requisition.  The District only allows budget transfers from discretionary budget accounts within the same fund.

Budget Managers designate Purchase Requisition initiators in consultation with Fiscal Services, which maintains Banner user profiles specific to a user’s responsibility.  Purchase Requisition approvers may include the initiator’s immediate budget manager, the department head, the functional vice president, and Fiscal Services.  Initiators can monitor a Purchase Requisition status in SSB.

Within the Banner system, the District Buyer automatically receives fully-approved Purchase Requisitions.  The Purchase Requisition must describe the needed items in terms of model/product ID, quantity, quality, features, functions and the desired delivery date.  The District Buyer subsequently completes the functions to prepare a Purchase Order.

SSB training guide for preparing Purchase Requisitions

Purchase Orders

A Purchase Order is a formal District document prepared by the District Buyer.  A Purchase Order is a contract for the District to purchase goods or to render services from a specific vendor and it establishes an encumbrance against the FOAP's listed on the Purchase Requisition.  Purchase Orders reduce FOAP budget availability, and the encumbered funds are used to pay a vendor’s invoice after the District receives the goods or services.

After receiving an approved Purchase Requisition, the District Buyer then creates a Purchase Order in accordance with applicable laws and policies.  The District Buyer reserves the right to change vendors or conduct necessary bidding as necessary.

Purchases under $1,000 should be made using a District issued Procurement Card or a Check Request Form.

Vendors and Payments

New Vendors

New vendors must properly complete the most current IRS Form W-9 before SSB users may select a new vendor when preparing a Purchase Requisition. Prospective vendors should submit their complete and current IRS Form W-9 directly to the District Buyer who will review the IRS Form W-9 for completeness.  If a prospective vendor fails to properly complete an IRS Form W-9, then the District Buyer will not register the prospective vendor in SSB until the District receives a complete and current IRS Form W-9.

Vendor Payment

The District’s Purchase Order designates the mailing address for vendor invoices.  Vendors should submit their invoices directly to Fiscal Services at the Indian Valley-Novato campus.

Accounts Payable reviews invoices and routes the invoice to the specific department for approval.  By approving an invoice, the department budget manager is attesting to receipt of all goods and services specified on the vendor’s invoices.  Budget managers should promptly review and approve invoices and timely return the invoice to Accounts Payable for final processing and payment.

Vendor Inquiries

Any vendor inquiries should be directed to payables@marin.edu

Office Supplies

To facilitate office supply ordering and purchases, the District has authorized various employees access to Staples and Office Depot to review and select products in preparation for a Purchase Requisition.  Once the District Buyer receives the approved Purchase Requisition and prepares the related Purchase Order, he then logs onto the Staples or Office Depot system to release the order previously prepared by the authorized employee.  Please see your manager or department administrative assistant for office supply orders.

Travel and Meals

The District’s travel and meals procedures are specifically outlined in Administrative Procedure 7400.  Please read this policy carefully before planning travel activities.

Prior to travel, employees must obtain written approval from travel to conferences, training, and similar activities by submitting the appropriate travel form(s) to the Superintendent/President or designee(s).

Travel Approval Authorization Forms

Out of State Travel for all District employees shall be approved in advance by the Superintendent/President.

All travel outside the United States must be approved in advance by the Board of Trustees.

Claim for Reimbursement

The Procedure for claiming expenditures for authorized travel are detailed in Administrative Procedure 7400. The Claim for Reimbursement form is intended solely for the reimbursement of expenditures for authorized travel.

As noted in the PURCHASE REQUISITIONS section, employees shall not make any purchases or incur any charges outside of the District policies and procedures.  Managers shall not authorize any purchase or incur any charges outside of the District's purchasing policies and procedures.  Purchase Orders are required in advance of making a purchase and they are issued subsequent to a properly approved Purchase Requisition.

Employees have no need to submit a Claim for Reimbursement for anything other than requesting reimbursement of expenditures for authorized travel.

Capital Assets vs. Supplies

Per the California Community Colleges’ Budget & Accounting Manual, 2012 Edition:

Whether an item should be classified as equipment or as supplies is determined on the basis of the length of time this item is serviceable and on its contribution to the value of the district.  For example, supplies are constantly being consumed and replaced without increasing the value of the physical properties of the district.  Equipment has a relatively permanent value, and its purchase increases the value of the physical assets of the district.

Expenditures made by districts for equipment, improvement of sites, building fixtures and service systems are charges as capital outlay (account codes 6XXXX).  Expenditures for supplies are charges as the current expense (account codes 4XXXX).

Supplies are items of expendable nature that are consumed or worn out, deteriorate in use, or are easily broken, damaged, or lost.  Examples include paper, pencils, cleaning materials, nails, scissors, test tubes, and keys.

Items that have a relatively short service life (less than one year) and that, therefore, must be replaced frequently are also charged as supplies.  Examples include brooms, tools, and rubber stamps.

Computer software and hardware could fall into either category, supplies or equipment, depending on the cost and useful life.  To determine which category of expenditure an item belongs, follow the questions and/or guidelines listed below.

Some articles clearly cannot be classified as either supplies or equipment.  They have the characteristics of equipment, but they have a low unit cost or are frequently lost, broken or worn out and replaced in normal use.  To obtain uniformity, the district should assign items to the various classifications on the basis of the answers to the questions listed below:

  • Does the item lose its original shape and appearance with use?
  • It is consumable, with a normal service life of less than one year?
  • Is it easily broken, damaged, or lost in normal use?
  • Is it usually more feasible to replace it with an entirely new unit than to repair it?
  • Is it an inexpensive item?  Does the small unit cost make it inadvisable to inventory the item?  See Education Code Section 81600.

If the answer to one of the able five questions is yes, then the item should be classified as a supply item, and the expenditure should be recorded within account code 4XXXX.  If all answers are no, the item should be classified under object classification 6XXXX.

Purchasing/Accounts Payable Forms