Procurement (Purchasing)

Our purpose is to support University departments by providing the goods and services necessary for educational, research and public service missions. To accomplish this mission, the Purchasing Office issues solicitations, maintains contracts and assists departments in all procurement matters. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look forward to working with you.

The Purchasing (Procurement) Office is responsible for conducting the purchasing function in a manner which results in obtaining the most efficient and effective use of University funds. Procurement policy shall be accomplished in accordance with ethical practices and applicable law.

To view posted procurement card transactions, visit South Carolina’s Controller General Monthly Charge Card Usage website.

Doing Business With FMU

Procurement Office, Stokes Administration Building, Room 102, East Palmetto Street, Florence, S.C.

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays. The Purchasing Office is closed on Fridays during the summer months.

If you have questions or wish to schedule a meeting with our staff, please give us a call – Phone: 843-661-1160     Office Fax: 843-661-1165

Supplier Information:

Important Notice: Acceptance of an order from Francis Marion University constitutes acceptance of all of the terms and conditions associated with that type of order.  Terms and conditions are subject to change.  Francis Marion University Purchasing Terms and Conditions can be found here:
Francis Marion University Terms and Conditions


The Procurement Office is required by law to obtain competition for purchase of supplies, equipment and services. The South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code governs the expenditure of all funds regardless of source unless specifically exempted. The Procurement Office will adhere to and abide by the Procurement Code and its implementing regulations.

Assistance From Vendors:

The Procurement Office or other University personnel may request vendor input, skills or expertise in researching a need for products or services, but State law requires that all vendors be given equal opportunity to compete for University business when that need is determined. State law also strictly prohibits employees from accepting direct or indirect gifts, payments or any other object of value from vendors, even though the gesture may be honorable or a customary practice of the vendor.


The Office of General Services of the Budget and Control Board has certified Francis Marion University to make direct purchases of up to $325,000 for supplies and services; up to $200,000 for information technology including consultant assistance for any aspect of information technology, systems, and networks; construction contracts up to $50,000.  The University’s letter of certification from the State Fiscal Accountability Authority for this authorization can be found here.


The Executive Vice President, Assistant Vice President for Contractual Services, Director of Purchasing, and designated procurement officers are the only persons authorized to bind Francis Marion University except as delegated under the purchasing card program.  The Assistant Vice President for Contractual Services and the Assistant Director of Purchasing is authorized to bind Francis Marion University in the absence of the Director of Purchasing.  The Francis Marion University Statement of Purchasing Authority may be viewed here.

The Vice President for Construction and Facilities is authorized to procure maintenance and repairs goods and services valued at $10,000 or less.  The VP of Construction and Facilities shall obtain estimates and make the source selection for these particular purchases.

A purchase order constitutes a contract binding the University and the supplier.


The University is not an exempt entity and is required to pay South Carolina sales taxes.

Minority Business Enterprises:

The University supports efforts in assisting minority owned businesses to develop and promote balanced economic and community growth. We encourage those businesses to contact either us or the Governor’s Office of Small and Minority Business Assistance in Columbia at 803-734-0657 with any questions you may have concerning those efforts.

Planning for Your Purchase


All purchases must be made through the Purchasing Office.

It is important that departments properly plan their purchasing actions:

  • Requisitions for Goods and Services are entered in to Patriot Portal / Web-Advisor to initiate the purchasing process.
  • Departments must allow for competition and purchase order processing time when establishing requirements.
  • Check enclosure requirements should take into consideration check write dates.
  • It is the responsibility of the Purchasing Office to originate, control, and analyze quotations, bids and proposals.
  • The purchasing department’s responsibilities include defining quality, quantity, specifications, delivery date requirements and all other pertinent information essential to proper purchase.
  • The requisitioning department should also suggest sources, when known, especially for unusual or unique items and may be called upon to assist the procurement officer in evaluating the quotes, bids or proposals received.

Computer / Laptop Purchases:

Standard Computer and Laptop purchases are required to be made from specific selected items on State Contract.  These items may be found in the FMU Standard PC Configuration section of the Campus Technology Information Portal.  Identify the computer or laptop you wish to purchase from the items on the Standard PC Configuration list, then complete a Requisition for Goods and Services in Patriot Portal / Web-Advisor to initiate your order.

If you require a customized computer or laptop not found on the Standard PC Configuration list, please contact Campus Technology directly at x1335 to discuss your customization needs with an FMU Campus Technology professional.  After conferring with Campus Technology, enter your Requisition for Goods and Services indicating the customized computer or laptop to be purchased.


Departments are encouraged to coordinate with the Purchasing Office in advance of purchase requisition submission for complex high-value procurement actions.

We cannot overemphasize the need for departments to plan their needs well in advance and involve the Purchasing Office in the planning stage.

The University is required to utilize existing STATE CONTRACTS in certain instances. The state has contracts with select vendors to provide agencies with goods and services and information technology.

Goods and Services

Information Technology

Purchasing Policies and Procedures may be found on the main Policies and Procedures page


View Policies & Procedures  

Purchasing Card Program

All FMU Procurement Card expenditures are available for review on the State Comptroller General’s website.

P-Card Liaisons Now Required to Reconcile and Initial Monthly Statements

Liaisons Now Required to Reconcile and Initial Monthly Cardholder Statements

Page 6 of the Francis Marion University Purchasing Card Manual has been amended as follows:

The Liaison is responsible for:  Reconciling and initialing all cardholder monthly statements signifying review of cardholder statements and receipts.  Reconciliation requires that a check mark or other tick mark is indicated on each line of the statement denoting that the particular line item has been reviewed along with its corresponding paid receipt.  This change makes the University’s policy consistent with the Materials Management Office South Carolina Purchasing Card Policy and Procedures.  This requirement goes into effect immediately.

P-Card and State Contract Purchases

The State establishes term contracts for specific goods and services for a specified time and for which it is mandatory that all governmental bodies procure their requirements for the goods and services during the term of the contracts.

Goods and services contracts are basically everything other than Information Technology related items. Information Technology contracts include computer peripherals, copiers, fax equipment, network equipment and software, pagers, personal computers, printers, and software.

Regardless of payment method (P-Card, Request for Payment, Purchase Order), any item on State Contract is required to be purchased from a vendor listed on the Materials Management Office State Contract website for that item:

State Contract for Goods & Services

State Contract Information Technology

If you are offered goods or services at a price that is at least ten percent less than the term contract price for the same goods or services, please contact the Purchasing Office.

Please call the Office of Purchasing at 843-661-1160 for any questions regarding P-Card purchases of State Contract items.

P-Card Audits

Annually, the Purchasing Office in conjunction with the Accounting Office conducts procurement card audits of individual cardholders using the following criteria:

  1. A complete 3-year record of cardholder statements has been retained.
  2. All Cardholder Statements have corresponding receipts, or proof of purchase.
  3. Transactions appear to be for supplies or approved exceptions.
  4. Charges appear to be fair and reasonable.
  5. Transactions appear to be for official University purposes.
  6. Evidence of multiple transactions with a single vendor which evidence splitting purchases.
  7. Monthly Cardholder statements are approved (signed) by Liaison.

Per the P-Card and State Contract Purchases section above, the Purchasing Office requires that items on State Contract are purchased through State Contract vendors for those items.  Office Supplies and Toner are of particular note and should be bought through State Contract.  Please contact the Purchasing Office for details at 843-661-1160.

Purchasing Card Manual

The University participates in a procurement card program designed to manage low-dollar supply purchases. It is a purchasing tool which offers an alternative for purchasing supplies with a total value of $2,500 or less and will enable University employees to purchase commodities, by telephone, internet or in person, directly from vendors thus eliminating the need for incurring costs associated with low dollar purchase orders.

View the Purchasing Card Manual

Purchasing Card Policies Overview

Purchasing Card Use: The card works just like a personal credit card, except the university pays all charges in full. It is to be used only for the purchase of supplies, unless exceptions are specifically approved by the Program Administrator. Spending parameters for each card are set at $2,500 per transaction.

Card Set-up: Applicant completes a Card Application and submits it to his/her appropriate Department Head for approval and completion. The application is then sent to the Program Administrator.

Cardholder Liability: The Purchasing Card is a corporate charge card and will not affect your personal credit. It is your responsibility to ensure that the card is used within stated guidelines of the Card Manual as well as University Policies and Procedures. Failure to comply with program guidelines may result in permanent revocation of the card, notification of the situation to management, and appropriate disciplinary action.

Allocation of Purchasing Card Charges to University Departments: A standard budget account is assigned to each purchasing card issued and all card transactions will be charged to that budget in the absence of notification otherwise.

Audit: The State Budget and Control Board – Materials Management Office will conduct procurement audits on a three-year rotational basis to include review of card use and maintenance. Additionally, there will be periodic departmental audits performed by the Program Administrator.

Lost, Misplaced or Stolen Purchasing Cards: Report any lost or stolen Purchasing Card immediately to Bank of America toll-free at 1-800-538-8788. Representatives are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Be sure to notify your Department Liaison and the Program Administrator about lost or stolen cards at the first opportunity during normal business hours.

Parties Involved

Agency – Francis Marion University, which issues cards to approved employees and accepts liability for use.

Cardholder – an employee of the university approved by his/her department head to execute transactions on behalf of the university. Before receiving a card, the Cardholder must attend a training session and sign a Cardholder Agreement at card issuance. Signing this agreement indicates understanding of the program and intended compliance with all guidelines of this manual.

Card Issuer – Bank of America, contracted by the State of South Carolina to issue Purchasing Cards, to bill the university for all purchases, and to collect payment on behalf of the vendors.

Department Head – University official who approves requests for a Purchasing Card, delegates transaction authority to the Cardholder, and oversight / budgetary responsibilities to the Liaison.

Liaison – an employee responsible for administrative review of cardholder activity, records retention, and budgetary oversight. Each Cardholder will be assigned a Liaison to be responsible for reviewing transactions of individual Cardholders to insure that transactions are appropriate.

Purchasing Card Program Administrator – the central coordinator who administers the card program for the university and acts as intermediary with the card issuer.

Vendor – the merchant from whom a Cardholder is making a purchase.

Cardholder Responsibilities

A Cardholder must adhere to the following:  Ensure the Purchasing Card is used only for legitimate business purposes and adhere to limits and restrictions of the Program Manual. Misuse of the card will subject the Cardholder to disciplinary action in accordance with University Policies and Procedures relating to disciplinary action, up to and including termination for cause.

The card should be maintained in a secure location with the account number carefully guarded. The only person entitled to use the card is the person whose name appears on the face of the card. The card may not be lent to another person for any reason. Use by anyone other than the approved cardholder is strictly prohibited.   The card is not transferable between Cardholders.

  1. The Cardholder must not split purchases or use another cardholders card to circumvent S.C. Consolidated Procurement Code competition requirements.
  2. The Cardholder must provide, when requested, information about any specific purchase.
  3. The Cardholder must adhere to all of the Purchasing Card policy and procedures.
  4. The Cardholder must insure that phone and Internet orders are properly identified for delivery.
  5. Purchasing Cards used for purchases pertaining to grant funds must be used in compliance with the grant. If not used in adherence, the principal investigator will be held responsible for reimbursement of unallowable purchase. Cards used for grants are issued specific to that grant and budget modifications will not be allowed.

Call Bank of America at 1-800-538-8788 immediately (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) to report lost or stolen cards. A Cardholder must also notify the Program Administrator of a lost or stolen card at the first opportunity.

Obtain all sales slips, register receipts, packing slips, or other related documentation and provide to Liaison for reconciliation and approval.  A Cardholder must also notify the Liaison if the budget account number should be changed on an individual transaction.

Return Purchasing Card to Liaison upon terminating employment with the university or transferring departments within the university. The Liaison will return the card to the Program Administrator.

Resolve disputes or billing errors directly with the vendor and prepare and submit the dispute form Appendix-A if the dispute cannot be satisfactorily resolved with the vendor.  The Cardholder and/or Liaison must also ensure that an appropriate credit for the reported disputed item(s) or billing error appears on a subsequent Cardholder statement. Under no circumstances should a Cardholder accept cash in lieu of a credit to the card account.

Regardless of payment or purchase method (P-Card, Request for Payment, or Purchase Order), items on State Contract are required to be purchased from a vendor on the State Contract list for that item.  The most common example of a State Contract item is personal computers. If you have questions concerning State Contract items, contact the Purchasing Office.

Cardholders are encouraged to survey the State of South Carolina Certified Small and Minority (OSMBA) vendor web site for the availability of goods and services prior to making each purchase.

The Card allows for purchase of supplies less than $2,500.

A partial list of unallowable actions items are listed as follows:

  1. The card may not be used for personal purchases.
  2. Cash advances in any form.
  3. Gift Cards, plaques, or any item intended to be awards or door prizes.
  4. The card may not be used to purchase alcoholic beverages or any substance, material, or service, which violates policy, law or regulation pertaining to the university.
  5. Registration, airline tickets, hotel fees, meals, car rentals or other travel related expenses.
  6. Services (repairs, consultants, temporary employment, freight/delivery charges, etc.).  Select services may be purchased with written permission from the Purchasing Department.
  7. Advertising
  8. Maintenance or lease agreements
  9. Microwaves, refrigerators, or freezers unless specified for laboratory purchases
  10. Personal charges
  11. Entertainment and food, florists, etc
  12. “1099” reportable charges, classified as payment to an individual in the normal course of university business.
  13. Telephone or utilities charges.
  14. Payment on ‘open’ accounts maintained with vendors (P-Card shall only be used to pay one transaction at a time and cannot be used to pay the accumulated balance of an account).

Liaison Responsibilities

The Department Head must designate one or more Liaisons in his/her department. A Liaison may not serve as a liaison for his/her own card.  The Liaison must receive training before any individuals in the department receive a Purchasing Card. Responsibilities include:

  1. Collecting vendor receipts from Cardholders and reconciling statements.
  2. Signing all cardholder monthly statements signifying review of cardholder statements and receipts.
  3. Retaining all charge slips and receipts for audit by internal and external auditors.
  4. There must be corresponding documentation for each transaction on the monthly billing statement.
  5. Reconcile statements by check marking each line item of statement denoting that the particular line item has been reviewed along with its corresponding paid receipt.  State of South Carolina P-Card policy requires that evidence of reconciliation (check mark or other mark) is indicated for each individual transaction on the statement.
  6. Approving budget modifications of individual cardholder accounts by sending a completed PROCUREMENT CARD BUDGET MODIFICATION FORM (Appendix-C of the P-Card manual) to the Program Administrator prior to the 15th day of the month. Forms received after the 15th of each month cannot be processed. It is the responsibility of the Departmental liaison to retain documented approval for budget modifications outside their departmental budget authority.
  7. Identifying transactions requiring the submission of use tax by sending a completed VENDOR/TAX INFORMATION FORM (Appendix-D of the P-Card manual) to the Program Administrator prior to the 15th of each month.
  8. Attempting to resolve disputes with vendor and/or Bank of America not resolved by Cardholder.
  9. Notifying Card Administrator of any unresolved disputes, noting the reason for dispute.
  10. Notifying Card Administrator of lost or stolen cards or terminated employees.
  11. Notifying Card Administrator of additional/new department budget and description.
  12. Receipts relevant to federal grant funds must be maintained for five years (Policies & Procedures – Grants) and all other receipts for three years.

Department Head Responsibilities

Complete application for person to obtain procurement card authorizing the cardholder (by his or her signature) to make departmental supply purchases within the limits of the card without prior approval for each transaction:

  1. Designate a liaison for the prospective cardholder.
  2. Designate the appropriate supply budget (standard default budget) to which all transactions will be charged unless notified otherwise.
  3. Forward the completed application to the Program Administrator.

After the liaison has reconciled transactions and initialed cardholder(s) monthly statement, Department Head shall review cardholder(s) monthly statement and liaison’s documentation, then sign and date the statement (Manager’s signature).

Department Head should notify Program Administrator in writing of a role change or departure from the University for cardholder or liaison.

Program Administrator's Responsibilities

The Program Administrator is responsible for the overall card program. Responsibilities include:

  1. University liaison with Bank of America.
  2. Utilizing software from Bank of America.
  3. Reviewing approved applications for completeness.
  4. Submitting completed application and receiving Purchasing Card from Bank of America.
  5. Issuing cards.
  6. Reviewing Bank of America invoice, approving, and submitting to Accounting for payment.
  7. Processing departmental budget charges and out-of state use taxes for submittal to Accounting.
  8. Reviewing usage of Purchasing Card data for appropriateness.
  9. Training Cardholders and Liaisons.
  10. Handling disputed charges/ discrepancies unresolved by the Liaison.
  11. Securing revoked or cancelled cards and submitting information to Bank of America.
  12. Performing periodic internal audit of the card program.
  13. Maintenance of all documentation concerning the program.

Amazon Business Prime

Amazon Business

Amazon Business is now required for making allowable purchases through Amazon as an FMU P-Cardholder. Francis Marion University will begin implementing Amazon Business during the week of March 16th-20, 2020. Departments are still required to utilize State and University Contracts. However, we recognize that Amazon offers options for those purchases that do not fall under contract and may be used for those types of purchases. Therefore, once an FMU P-Cardholder has received his/her Business Account login, all Amazon purchases for University business must be made through the University’s new Amazon Business account.

In order to obtain an Amazon Business account, you must be an employee of the University with an FMU P-Card, and have made purchases from Amazon within the period: 01/01/2019 – 12/31/2019.  All State and FMU rules and regulations of the FMU P-Card Program still apply.  Any FMU P-Cardholder NOT having made an Amazon purchase within the indicated dates, but who desires an Amazon login must request the login from the Purchasing Department. On a case-by-case basis, the Purchasing Department will either approve the request or direct you to an Amazon Business account holder to make the purchase on your behalf.

Amazon First Time User Registration Guide
Amazon Business User FAQs