Purchasing Resource Guide


This guide is an introduction to eVA, Virginia’s web-based procurement tool, as well as a look at the laws, policies, contracts, and systems supporting finance operations.

The first section covers:

  • An introduction to UMW’s e-Procurement tool, eVA
  • An overview of available methods of payment
  • How to identify appropriate vendors
  • Mandatory Sources and Exclusive Contracts
  • Small Business use requirements
  • Use of the eVA eMall Manual

What is eVA?

eVA is Virginia’s web-based electronic vendor registration and purchasing system which allows state agencies, colleges, universities, and many local governments to conduct purchasing and sourcing activities for goods and services.  The University of Mary Washington uses eVA to announce bid opportunities, invite bidders, receive quotes, and create purchase orders for goods and services. This system is managed by the Department of General Services.  Procurement law is issued from the Governor’s Office in the form of Executive Orders.

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires all state agencies, including colleges and universities, to process purchases through eVA.  The use of eVA is governed by both state and University procurement rules and regulations by which all employees are required to abide. The rules and regulations are outlined in this training.

Vendors contracting with the University of Mary Washington are required to register with eVA.

Most vendors offering goods and services must be registered to do business with eVA and the purchase request must be entered  into eVA. However, some exceptions do exist. A complete list of eVA guidelines and exempt purchases can be found in Category C within the Small Purchase Procedures document.  Open the document called Small Purchase Procedures-Good and Non-Professional Services and scroll down the page to the Category Sections.

Category C - Exemptions

Procurement’s Small Purchase Procedures, Category C– lists items and services exempt from competition or eVA entry.  This exemption means that procurement regulations surrounding Micro vendor quotes (information on Micro vendors follows this section) and the use of eVA for the purchase entry are not required.  Purchases in this category may be obtained by use of charge card or via a Banner check request.

Banner Check Requests

Most vendors accept the university charge card.  When the charge card is not accepted and when the item or service is listed in Category C of Procurement’s Small Purchase Procedures, a Banner check request, called a Direct Pay, is entered by the buyer. Direct Pay training is offered as required or within the Banner training sessions which occur after eVA training.  See section 2 titled Cardinal ID, as all suppliers wishing to be paid via check requires a Banner vendor record.

eVA Navigation

Learning to navigate eVA is an important part of learning to purchase at UMW.  Section I of the eVA Manual  covers the following information:

  • Buyer Login
  • Vendor Searches
  • How to determine if a vendor has a PunchOut Catalog
  • Micro- Certified Vendor Searches
  • Contracts
  • Important questions to ask before purchasing
  • NIGP Code (National Institute for Governmental Purchasing) Searches

Please read all of the information contained in Section I of the eVA eMall Manual before continuing on to the rest of this training. You may access the eVA homepage as you read the manual to assist with the eVA homepage navigation.

eVA Payment Options

eVA has two available methods of payment:

  • Charge Card – Generates a purchase order with a “PCO” number
  • Check – Generates a purchase order with an “EP” number

In eVA, orders are tracked using their PCO or EP number. This system allows vendors to view the purchase orders once they are created, fulfill the orders, and charge the University according to payment method.

There are three types of charge cards available within eVA. The use of cards depends on the funding source provided the cardholder. Funding sources will be explained in the individual’s training session.

  1. Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC) – Used for state-fund purchases only.
  2. UMW Finance Card– Used for items not allowed on the SPCC and local fund purchases.  The Finance Card can be used to pay for Business Meals, travel (when traveling with students), non-state funded purchases, and other expenses as defined on the Finance Card site.
  3. Gold Card – May be used by you with the permission of the Accounts Payable Department. Gold cards are generally reserved for purchases over $5,000.


UMW contracts can be viewed in Procurement Services’ Cobblestone system. Review the different categories of contracts below and how they relate to UMW purchasing.

Mandatory Source – Vendors that must be used per the Code of Virginia.

  • Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) – All furniture purchased for the University of Mary Washington must be purchased through VCE per §53.1-48 of the Code of Virginia. A waiver must be obtained from VCE in order to purchase furniture from another vendor. Waivers are issued by VCE in the following reasons:
    • The furniture VCE can provide does not meet reasonable requirements for UMW
    • And identical piece of furniture can be obtained at a lesser cost
    • The requisition cannot be fulfilled by VCE due to insufficient supply
    • Matching existing furnishings

UMW Exclusive Contracts – Vendors that must be used per UMW’s contracts containing exclusivity clauses.

Preferred Contracts – Contracts recommended when their use may be beneficial to the University.

Optional State Contracts – Virginia state contracts are available for UMW use.

UMW Term Contracts – Contracts issued by the University for campus-wide use.  If you have any questions about UMW contracts, please contact a Procurement Services Contract Officer.

VASCUPP Contracts– Contracts available to UMW through other Higher Education Institutions.

Other Cooperative Contracts – Cooperative contracts issued by other public or private organizations.  Contact Procurement Services for review and approval prior to using any contract initiated by other organizations.

For more information, view Procurement Services’ Contracts webpage.

Contract Search

Found on the Procurement Services website, the Cobblestone system houses all UMW Term Contracts. This system allows you to view contract terms, contact information, contract expiration dates, and more. Instructions on how to search in Cobblestone can be found here.

A list of the optional state contracts can be found on the eVA homepage under “Statewide Contracts.” Instructions for how to search for a Statewide Contract can be found in Section I of the eVA eMall Manual.

When items and services cannot be obtained from a contracted vendor, it will be necessary to perform vendor searches.  By Executive Order 35 (EO35), vendor preferences is provided to micro-certified businesses.

Certified Micro-Business

Governor Northam’s Executive Order 35, “advancing equity for small, women, minority, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and state contracting,” was signed into effect on 7/3/2019 will have some impact on the way UMW purchases goods and services.    The EO requires:

Purchases $10,000 and under, that are not procured from the contract and are not listed on the Small Purchase Procedure exemption table, are to be made from a Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (DSBSD) certified micro business.

Certified Micro-Business Requirements

  • Purchases up to $10,000² must be made with a certified-micro business (designated with an “O” in eVA), if the quote:
      • meets your specifications, and
      • the price is fair and reasonable (does not exceed 5% of the lowest quoted price from another non-certified business that also meets your specifications)

  •  For purchases over the current $10,000 single quote limit, contact Procurement Services if no current contract is in place for the good or service needed.


A Quote is supporting documentation obtained from a vendor which justifies the purchase.  The supporting documentation identifies:

  • Name of Company
  • Name of Person you spoke/communicated with or picture from the website
  • Date Quote Obtained
  • Price of good or service
  • Product specifications or pictures from web
  • Reasoning why business was not used, which includes 5% calculation justification.

Acceptable reasons for not using a non-micro-vendor may include:

  • More than 5% price difference between the vendors
  • The micro vendor’s inability to fulfill your requested order or not carrying the goods/services you require
  • The micro vendor not responding or is unable to supply the good or service in a reasonable amount of time

Failure to obtain a micro quote when purchasing from a non-micro vendor is considered to be a violation of procurement regulations and will result in tiered consequences ranging from a written warning to suspension and revocation of card privileges.

Some purchases do not require a quote. These are purchases that can be deemed “exempt from competition,” meaning the services are generally unavailable from other vendors. For a complete listing of purchase categories that do not require a SWaM quote, please refer to Small Purchase Procedure Category B and Category C.

Micro-Business Search

UMW Cardholders are responsible for meeting the Governor’s Executive Order goal of 42% micro vendor usage. It is important for UMW Cardholders to understand the process by which Micro vendors can be identified for use.

Vendor searches can be conducted in two ways – through eVA or through the Small Business and Supplier Diversity (DSBSD) website. Both of these processes are outlined in the eVA eMall manual  found within the Finance Library in Sharepoint.  View  Section I, Vendor Searches category.

Section 2

The second section of this training covers:secure-credit-card-transactions-300x250

  • Verifying check payment vendors
  • The use of Independent Contractors as vendors
  • Policies and procedures governing the use of UMW issued charge cards
  • Violations and consequences for misuse of UMW issued charge cards
  • Sales tax exemption requirements

Cardinal ID

Cardinal is a Commonwealth of Virginia vendor database that ensures accurate processing and payment to vendors. Vendors requesting a check payment from UMW must:

  • Register in eVA to obtain a Cardinal ID, and
  • Be properly established in the University’s financial system (Banner).

It is the responsibility of a UMW buyer to verify that a vendor has a Cardinal ID before paying a vendor by check. Cardinal ID confirmation in Banner can be quickly identified in the Cardinal Verified Vendors Report within the Finance Report Library  This report is available to all UMW buyers who have completed Finance training.

Suppliers wishing to do business with UMW can be directed to Procurement’s UMW Suppliers page for eVA registration or can contact eVA Customer Care directly.  For Suppliers wishing to accept check payments, direct them to  Steps to Becoming a Vendor as listed on the Accounts Payable website.

Independent Contractors

Independent Contractors are self-employed individuals who are not considered to be employees of the University.

The IRS requires UMW to screen all vendors used at the University who are individuals (having no other persons in their employ) to determine if they should be considered an independent contractor or if they will be considered to be employees of UMW.

Independent Contractor information is located on the Accounts Payable website.  Please note that prior to paying an individual for any service, they must first be vetted for IC (Independent Contractor) status via the method as outlined on the website.


Available Charge Cards

The Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC) is the most common form of UMW issued charge card on campus. This card is used for state-funded purchases only.  The Procurement Department manages the SPCC card program.

The UMW Finance Card is administered by the UMW Accounts Payable  department and is used to pay for items non-state funded items and expenses not allowed on the SPCC.

Charge card transactions are managed by the Works system.  Cardholders and their supervisors log into Works and sign off/approve transaction according to respective Billing Cycle dates.  The SPCC and the Finance Charge cards use the same Works system, but differ in Billing Cycle dates and methods of record keeping.

Available Credit Cards

Users of the SPCC card and the UMW Finance card must follow procedures for continued card privileges.

Violations and Consequences for the SPCC

Card Violation Consequences or the UMW Finance Card

Sales Tax Exemption

UMW is a tax-exempt institution, and therefore is exempt from paying sales and use tax for tangible property to be consumed by the University. This exemption also includes prepared meals, catering, and other services related to the provision of food.

When making a purchase, be sure to provide UMW’s Sales Tax Exempt Form, find this form on the Finance Forms page. If you are purchasing online, please make sure to research each vendor’s tax exempt policy and ensure that the University is not charged tax. Most online vendors have a web page dedicated to tax exempt ordering. For purchases made from Amazon, please create an Amazon Tax Exempt account and ensure you keep the account separate from personal Amazon accounts.

If a vendor charges sales tax to a UMW order, the cardholder is responsible for contacting the vendor to have the sales tax refunded. The refund must be applied to the card used for the original order.

There are three exceptions to the UMW tax exemption:

  • Lodging
  • Gas
  • Car Rentals

Over the Counter

Over the counter purchase definition:  cardholder enters a physical brick and mortar establishment and pays for the purchase at the counter with a University charge card.

Over the counter (OTC) purchases must follow all procurement guidelines (including obtaining a Micro- quote if the store is not a Micro- vendor), but do not require entry into eVA.

Example: A cardholder wants to purchase batteries from the local battery store, which is a Micro-vendor. The cardholder physically goes to the store, finds the batteries they need on the shelf, and purchases the batteries at the checkout counter. 

Your order is NOT considered to be Over the Counter if you

  • Order and pay for the item online



Section 3

The third and final section of this training covers:file-and-directory-create-java-program

  • Expenses that are disallowed on UMW issued charge cards
  • Proper procedures for procuring technology
  • Maintenance and retention of documents related to purchases
  • Policies and procedures for travel
  • Reimbursements that are not related to travel
  • Rules governing the acceptance of gifts from vendors

Disallowed Expenses

All  UMW purchases should support the mission of the institution and stand the test of public review.  If the legitimacy of a purchase is ever in question, please contact Accounts Payable or Procurement for guidance prior to purchase. Information can be found on the Accounts Payable’s Disallowed Expenses site.


Technology Purchases

Technology at UMW must be reviewed and go through an approval process prior to purchase. Because of this requirement, technology purchases are broken into three categories:

  1. Buy Your Own
    • This category shows pre-approved technology goods that can be purchased without further approval from IT or Procurement Services.  Cardholders are authorized to purchase these items directly from vendors, while following all normal purchase procedures.  If the total of the purchase in this category exceeds $5,000, please contact Procurement services.
  2. Standard IT Form
    • This form contains options to select common technology items purchased by the University, including Computers, iPads, PC accessories, Apple Accessories, Printers/Scanners/Fax Machines, and External Storage.  Cardholders must submit this form for approval before purchases of these items can be made.  For the majority of purchases for these items, purchase will be made by the IT Procurement Liaison on behalf of your charge card.
  3. Non Standard IT Form
    • This form must be submitted for all technology purchases that do not fall into the Buy Your Own or Standard IT Form categories, including all software requests.  This form is reviewed by the Technology Group and Procurement Services prior to approval of the purchase.  Many of these items will be ordered on behalf of your UMW issued charge card once the purchase is approved.

Fixed Assets

Based on funding and/or cost, equipment may be tracked by the UMW Accountant.  Account codes beginning with a 72 are routed and approved in eVA by the Fixed Asset  (FA) Accountant prior to the order being sent to the vendor.  To avoid delays, best practice is to contact the FA Accountant prior to the equipment purchase for proper eVA coding.  Equipment coding and specific Purchase Order requirements can be found within the eVA Manual in Section III, Special Funding Requirements.

Charge Card File Maintenance

As a UMW cardholder, you are required to keep a monthly file recording all purchases made on your UMW issued card. Retain physical copies of the following information:

  • Purchase Order (PCO) or Check Order (EP), if applicable
  • Micro Quote, if applicable
  • Receipts
  • Business Meal Form, if applicable
  • Other Supporting Documentation, including emails and waivers
  • Works Billing Cycle report

Billing cycle dates for the SPCC
Billing cycle dates for the UMW Finance Card

Charge card file management differs based on card type and will be explained during training.

Files must be kept for 3 years before being properly destroyed following procedures set forth by the Library of Virginia.  Proper records destruction procedures and forms may be found on the Sustainability website.

Travel at UMW

Because UMW is a public institution, the use of state funds to accommodate personal comfort, convenience, and taste is not permitted when travelling on University business. It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia to limit travel costs to only those expenses that are necessary for providing essential services to the Commonwealth’s citizens.

Travel at UMW is managed by the Accounts Payable department. The Accounts Payable Travel website provides essential information on travel requirements, procedures, and travel reimbursement.  The system in place to manage Travel is called Chrome River.
Information and online training for Chrome River is available upon demand.  Chrome River manages both travel and non travel reimbursement requests.

Non-Travel Reimbursement Requests

UMW cardholders are responsible for following all  procurement regulations. In the event that an item is purchased using personal funds, a reimbursement request must be initiated within Chrome River with documented adherence.

Gift Policy

The giving and receiving of gifts at the University follows a set of stringent rules outlined by the IRS and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Giving Gifts

To give gifts, the gift must:

  • Support the mission of the University
  • Be reasonable, and
  • Sustain the test of public review (what would the purchase/gift look like to the public if printed in the newspaper?)

You may give a gift for the following reasons:

  • As a token of appreciation for event participation
  • A non-cash award for winning a competition
  • Recognizing a UMW Student for achievements/volunteering
  • A token of appreciation for participation in an academic research project
  • A door prize at a UMW event

Allowed forms of Gifts: Gift Cards up to $100, Gift Certificates up to $100, Physical Gifts such as a t-shirt, book, etc.

Disallowed forms of Gifts: Cash, Donations (for Donation exceptions to the policy, please contact Accounts Payable)

For procurement policies regarding the purchase of gifts and maintenance of the required gift log, please refer to the Gift Giving site on the Accounts Payable website.

Receiving Gifts

University policy states that UMW employees will not accept gifts from vendors. UMW adheres to the National Association of Education Procurement (NAEP) Code of Ethics that views acceptance of gifts from vendors as a conflict of interest, and therefore unacceptable.


Prior to making a clothing purchase, review the Clothing Table.

The table containes detailed requirements for purchasing clothing. Contact Accounts Payable or TESS with additional questions.



Thank you for completing “Introduction to Purchasing.” Please bring all questions you have regarding the training content to your next scheduled training class.

If you have any questions, please contact tess@umw.edu.