Detailed purchase documentation must be maintained to support all expenditures.  Purchase documentation includes all of the following:


Description and Quantity of Item or Service Purchased

A description of the purchase and per unit cost must be recorded in the UW system used to record the purchase and vendor documentation.   This is required regardless of the amount of the purchase.


1. In UW Systems

UW Procurement systems (e.g., Procard, Ariba) are used to record the purchase of the item or service.  Information entered into these systems is also used to record the transaction in the UW accounting system (FAS) and MyFD.  The following information must be entered into the UW systems in order to document the transaction:

  • Budget Number
  • Object Code
  • Transaction Date
  • Transaction Amount

2. Vendor Receipt

An itemized receipt from the vendor is required for most purchases (see exceptions below) and should include the following information:

  • Vendor Name - The name of the vendor must be clearly indicated.  It is preferred that all receipts be made on pre-printed receipts obtained from the vendor. 
  • Description - A clear description of the good or service being purchased. If the purchase includes several items, each item should be listed.  If services are purchased, the start and end date of the provision of service should be included.
  • Amount Paid - If multiple items or services are being paid for, the receipt must itemize each expense accordingly.  Taxes, shipping, etc. paid should be listed separately.
  • Date - The date on which the good or service was purchased.

Lost or Missing Vendor Receipts

Purchases greater than $75

A vendor receipt is required for all purchases over $75.   In the rare event that a vendor receipt is misplaced or cannot be obtained, the following options may be exercised: 

  • Obtain a duplicate, scanned, or photocopied receipt from the vendor.
  • An image of the receipt (taken via a Smartphone or other photographic device).
  • A written description of the items/services purchased, the name of the person or business the items were purchased from, and the date of purchase signed and dated by the vendor or person from which the item/service was received.

If none of these options are feasible then the expense must be charged to the department’s discretionary or other unrestricted funding source.

Purchases less than or equal to $75

Reasonable effort should be made to obtain a vendor receipt.  However, if the cost of the item or service is $75 or under, a vendor receipt does not have to be maintained as the State of Washington has issued a waiver to the UW for supporting documentation for purchases of $75 and under. The department must have a stated policy to accept this waiver. This waiver is issued on a biennium basis and is current for the 2017 biennium (July 2017 – June 2019).  This guidance will be updated based on the availability of this waiver.

NOTE:  UW Policy requires receipts for some Travel-related expenditures, regardless of the amount.  See the Travel site for more information.


3. Cost Allocation, Itemization, and Use on Award

See PAFC’s Cost Allocation for information on how to allocate costs across more than one Budget.

If multiples items or services are purchased from a single vendor, the vendor receipt must include the cost per item

For example:

  •      Supplies from a vendor would include the following: “Purchase of 12 beakers @ $5 each = $60” and not “Supplies for $60.00”
  •     A workshop is held at a conference center, the vendor invoice would include cost and quantity information for room rentals, meals provided, and other  ervices.

If supplies are being purchased to replenish stock used on an Award, ensure there is documentation indicating how much stock the Award being charged used.


4. Additional Explanatory Information (as needed)

All purchases must benefit the Award.  If it is not obvious that an expense benefits the Award then include an explanation for how the purchase benefits the award.  Guidelines for this explanation:

  • Provide a simple explanation, do not use jargon or technical language.
  • Anyone should be able to look at the complete documentation at any point in time and understand how the expense benefitted the award.
  • Explain the math if not evident; make it simple and easy to follow.
  • Information should be in complete and coherent sentences.
  • Do not create more questions; do not provide more information than necessary.


Documented Approval

All expenses must be approved in accordance with the UW Policy as documented in GIM 2.

Documented Receipt of Item or Service

There should be documented proof that the item or service purchased has been received.  This is typically done by signature upon the Packing Slip or other receipt that itemizes the item or service purchased.  If a Packing Slip is not available or feasible then indication of receipt, by signature of the person who received the item or service, can be on the request for purchase, invoice, or other supporting documentation.


Record Type & Retention

Documentation in support of expenditures must be retained in accordance with the UW’s Record retention schedule

Information on electronic (in lieu) record retention can be found in UW’s Scanning policy