|Vendor Contract Processing Guidelines||Already familiar with the process?|
|What is a Contract?||Vendor Contract Submittal Quick Link||UA Agreement Template Quick Links|
|Signature Authority||Procurement Contract Portal||Professional Service Agreement|
|Thresholds and Other Things to Know||Guest Speaker Agreement|
|Departmental Role in Contract Process||Photography Agreement|
The purpose of these guidelines is to set forth the requirements which must be followed when a University department seeks to contract for goods, services, or technology from an outside party by use of a contract provided by the vendor. For professional service agreements, please refer to Professional Services Guidelines which are tailored to the unique aspects of contracting for professional services.
A contract is an agreement with specific terms and conditions that legally bind the University. Contracts should specify the names of all parties involved and clearly identify the obligations of the parties, the payment terms, and a timeframe (or “term”) in which these duties are to be performed.
The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama directs that only certain designated persons on each campus of the System are authorized to sign contracts and other documents on the System’s behalf. Those persons are limited in number and include:
Deans, directors, department chairs, their staff members, etc., DO NOT have authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University. A University employee without actual signature authority who nevertheless signs a contract obligating the University can be held personally liable for obligations incurred under the terms of the contract, including the payment of money, and may be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
Please note, contracts associated with areas internal to the University such as Crimson Catering, Bryant Conference Center, University Club, Gorgas House Museum, the Zone and others do not require an authorized signature and may be signed by the department chair or dean. This is the only exception in which departments can sign.
Contracts that are originated by senior administrators are subject to an internal, campus counter-signature process. The second signature should be from someone of sufficient authority, typically of equal or greater authority. For contracts originated by the President, the counter-signature should come from the Chancellor.
Thresholds and Other Things to Know
- Contracts for goods, non-professional services, or technology exceeding $15,000 in total value for the contract term are subject to bid per State law unless approved by Purchasing as a sole source. Please see Purchasing Guidelines for additional information. Please contact the Purchasing Department at the beginning of your acquisition process for guidance on bid threshold compliance.
- For technology related acquisitions, please review currently available products and services offered by UA OIT prior to engaging an outside vendor. OIT typically reviews all technology contracts prior to execution, however, it may be beneficial to seek their guidance early in the process to ensure there are no concerns with support for your acquisition before getting too far into the process.
Certain contracts may require approval by the Board of Trustees depending on cost and nature. See summary of primary thresholds below:
- All contracts for goods and services involving an expenditure of $1,000,000 or more, for the term of the agreement/contract, not procured through a competitive process.
- All consulting and/or professional services contracts involving an expenditure of $250,000 or more, for the term of the agreement/contract, and regardless of whether the contracts result from a competitive process.
- All technology acquisitions, not included in the annual technology plans, that exceed $750,000 in individual expenditures in a fiscal year, as well as upgrades and expansions to existing technology solutions and associated agreements that exceed $750,000 in individual expenditures in a fiscal year, using funds from any source.
- Purchases or leases of individual items of equipment equal to $750,000 or more shall be submitted to the Board for approval in accordance with Attachment C.
If you are not familiar with the Board submittal process or are not sure if your contract requires such approval, contact Contract Management for guidance. See Board Manual for complete context of approval thresholds.
Departmental Role in the Contract Process
Before submitting a contract to Contract Management the requester should:
- Obtain the contract in an editable file format – Word documents are preferred.
Please note that the University will not sign a contract in a vendor’s e-signature system. If provided in that manner, please request in another format outside of their system.
Input all business terms of the contract including, but not limited to, term dates, pricing, contact information, etc., with the exception of signing. The legal name of the University is “The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama.”
- Ensure all referenced and controlling documents are attached for review. This includes, but is not limited to, terms and conditions, attachments, order forms, appendices, additional terms referenced within a document by hyperlink, etc.
- Seek any necessary approvals that may be required (see “Thresholds and Other Things to Know” section above for examples)
- Submit contract to Contract Management using the on the Contract Submittal page. Be sure to include with your submittal:
- Detailed explanation of the purpose of the contract
- For software/IT related contracts, include a completed Software-IT Information Form
- Confirmation of any required approvals
- Vendor contact information
What happens to my contract after submittal?
- The contract will be reviewed by Contract Management who will also facilitate review(s) by other campus stakeholders as necessary (e.g. Office of Counsel, OIT, CERA, etc).
- Be prepared to answer any questions that may arise regarding the contract while it is under review.
- Contract Management will typically communicate directly with the vendor to negotiate any terms and conditions that are not favorable to the University and to request any documentation that may be required prior to execution such as:
- Vendor Disclosure Form – Required for contracts exceeding $5,000 and all professional service agreements regardless of dollar amount or revenue generated.
- Insurance Certificate – Required for most services and other situations where risk may be associated with the contract deliverables.
- Once negotiations are complete and all required approvals and documentation have been received, Contract Management will route the contract to the appropriate signatories for all parties through DocuSign for execution.
- Upon completion, all parties to the contract and the requester will be provided a copy of the completed contract from DocuSign authorizing the contractual relationship to commence.
Once a contract is executed, it is not necessary to issue a purchase order in most cases since the executed contract formally authorizes the transaction. Please review all payment options below to determine which best fits your situation. Payments should only be made in accordance with the contract terms and/or after services have been performed in a satisfactory manner, if applicable.
Campus partners are encouraged to use their P-Card for payments against contracts whenever accepted by vendors (with the exception of professional services – See Professional Services Guidelines for associated payment information). Invoices that include travel reimbursements should be paid through Concur Invoice. The standard single purchase limit for the University P-Card is $10,000. Temporary increases are required for payments that exceed the P-Card holder’s single purchase limit. See P-Card Policies and Procedures for temporary increase procedures. The following documentation should be included as part of P-Card expense report:
- A copy of the executed contract
- Invoice (If no contract was required)
Concur Invoice should be used for payment of all professional services. Concur Invoice may also be appropriate when the p-card is not accepted, p-card processing fees are excessive, the invoice includes travel reimbursements, and/or when there is no value in issuing a purchase order as further described below. Please note that vendor registration is required prior to inputting a Concur Invoice if vendor is not already registered and active in the University’s system. The following documentation should be included to support the payment request:
- A copy of the executed contract
- Invoice (If no contract was required)
- Expense documentation/receipts if allowable expenses are reimbursed in addition to the fee (e.g. Travel in accordance with UA Travel Policy)
Purchase orders may be appropriate in limited cases such as when the encumbrance of funds is needed in advance of order fulfillment. Otherwise, P-Card and Concur Invoice are the preferred methods of payment against executed contracts. Vendor registration is required prior to purchase order request through buyBAMA if vendor is not already registered and active in the University’s system.
Please contact the appropriate Senior Buyer if you are not sure which method of payment is appropriate for payments against your contract.