Glossary of terms


The purchaser is the person who places the order and receives the goods/services. If a professor asks a secretary to place an order and the secretary receives the goods/services on behalf of the professor, the secretary is the purchaser.


The signature of the purchaser and the signature of the budget officer must appear on all forms. The purchaser's signature serves as evidence that the goods were received. The budget officer's signature indicates that the purchase was properly authorized. Click here for alternate signature information.

Sales tax

Calvin is exempt from sales and use taxes on purchases of tangible property (i.e. merchandise). Purchases of personal services (e.g. hotels, airlines, restaurants, etc.) are not exempt from sales taxes. Accounts Payable will furnish a copy of Calvin's tax exempt certificate upon request.

Alternative signature

If the purchaser is not available, the budget officer and budget officer's supervisor should provide signatures. If the budget officer is not available, then the budget officer's supervisor should provide the second signature.

Vendor invoices

All vendor invoices should be addressed as follows:

Calvin College 
Accounts Payable 
3201 Burton St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Miscellaneous information

Personal purchases

Due to the tax-exempt status of Calvin College, employees are prohibited from making personal purchases in the name of Calvin and subsequently reimbursing Calvin for those purchases.

Service charges

Service charges and lost trade discounts are charged to the department. These costs can generally be avoided by timely adherence to established purchasing procedures.

Returns for credit

Requests for permission to return supplies to a vendor for adjustment or credit must be cleared with the vendor and by the department. Credit memos should be sent by the vendor directly to accounts payable.

Agency fund accounts

Purchasing and accounts payable policies as outlined in this manual do not apply to agency fund accounts since Calvin does not control the use of these funds. The director of an agency fund account is required only to submit an Internal Check Request form to initiate disbursement of funds. The following information must be included: date, payee name, payee address, account, amount, total and budget officer (fund director) signature.

Selection of vendor

The authority to select a specific vendor and product resides with the purchaser except as outlined below.

  • Computer equipment: Calvin Information Technology
  • Copy machines, typewriters and related office equipment: Mail and Printing Services
  • Office furniture such as chairs: Assistant to VP for Administration and Finance
  • Office furniture such as file cabinets or panels: Physical Plant
  • Telecommunications equipment: Telecom Administrator
  • Travel: Travel Consultant

Purchasing approval

Final authority for all purchases resides with the Financial Services Office. Although departments are given budgets at the beginning of the fiscal year, and are generally given broad discretion in purchasing decisions, all procurements are subject to final approval by the Financial Services Office.

Authorized purchases

Calvin policy requires that all supplies, equipment and services be obtained at the lowest cost considering the quantity, quality and availability of the item(s) to be purchased. Informal bids should be solicited whenever practical.

Gifts and gratuities

Calvin policy does not allow for personal gifts or gratuities in connection with purchasing. This policy applies to any current or potential supplier of goods or services.

Conflict of interest

Calvin policy does not permit a department to enter into a purchasing contract with departmental employees or with immediate family. Requisitions from a business in which the employee has an interest are also prohibited. Conflict of interest is deemed present if the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family owns ten percent or more of the assets of a business. Policy does not preclude a department from obtaining goods or services from an individual employed by another Calvin department.