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No PO, no payment from 1 June

Procurement logo white tick and lettering to red background

With effect from 1 June 2019 the University of Reading will no longer accept invoices without a valid purchase order (PO) number printed on them. Invoices without a PO number or which contain a handwritten one will be returned unpaid, with a request for the correct information to be added.

If you are buying goods or services from a supplier, you will need to ensure that you provide them with a valid PO before they supply what you need. This is essential, since the PO is the contractual agreement we have with them.

This process is not new, invoices should already include a valid PO number, but we will now be stricter about making sure that the process is followed correctly before suppliers are paid. The Procurement policy will be updated in the new financial year to clarify this requirement.

All suppliers will receive a communication to explain that we will no longer accept invoices without valid PO numbers and asking them to follow the correct process. The three actions you need to take are:

  1. Ask the supplier for a quotation with the estimated cost for your required goods/services
  2. Use this figure to raise a purchase order (PO) in Agresso as soon as you agree to purchase goods or services from a supplier and before they deliver the goods or services.
  3. Carry out the Goods Receipt Notification (GRN) process on Agresso to indicate that you have received the goods or services. Invoices without this notification will be delayed for payment.

Your supplier will need to send invoices directly to the Accounts Payable team.

Training in how to carry out these processes in Agresso is available, please contact Rekha Mistry, Trainer for Finance and Corporate Systems. We have taken this decision to return invoices without the correct information because:

  • Of the increased need for financial sustainability across the University means we have to carry out all financial processes as efficiently as possible.
  • Raising a PO at the start of the process means that there is clearer information on the University’s overall spending commitments, making budgeting and planning easier for Schools and functions.
  • When we have a PO number on an invoice we can quickly and easily match the request for payment with the University’s approved agreement to pay, reducing time-consuming queries for Schools, functions, procurement and finance teams. This ensures faster payment for suppliers, protecting relationships and the University’s reputation.
  • Having a PO in place means we have a contractual agreement to protect both parties. Since the PO contains the University’s terms and conditions for engaging with suppliers, this avoids unfavourable and detrimental terms and conditions being implied e.g. around data protection.

Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions if you have concerns that have not been addressed here.

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