No purchase order, no payment policy

In accordance with existing University purchasing procedures the University Executive has re-approved a ‘no purchase order, no payment’ policy for Aston University. That is to say that all invoices for goods and services from University suppliers will not be paid unless there is a valid University purchase order number quoted on the invoice.

The reasons for this are that:

  • It ensures that purchases are authorised before goods and services are supplied, rather than afterwards;
  • Purchase Ledger can process invoices efficiently (at the moment, a huge amount of time is wasted trying to process/forward invoices because it is not clear who in the University has ordered them);
  • Currently the committed costs in our management accounts are understated as, at any time, we have committed to expenditure, but we cannot account for them until we receive the invoice. This will improve the accuracy of accounts and budget management, particularly.


From no later than 1 July 2011, Agressopurchase orders should be used to order goods and services from suppliers, apart from the few, agreed exceptions (see 4 below). All invoices received during July will be processed by purchase ledger, as now.

 From 1 August 2011, invoices processed for goods, services and works supplied after 1 July 2011, must quote a current valid Aston University purchase order number. If they do not, they will be returned to the supplier (see 3, below).

For invoices received after 1August 2011 for goods and services supplied on 30 June or prior, Purchase Ledger will process them as best they can without a purchase order number.

Note: for orders processed after 1 July, it is important that the invoices are addressed to ASTON UNIVERSITY, PURCHASE  LEDGER, ASTON TRIANGLE, BIRMINGHAM, B4 7ET.

Invoice processing

Invoices received without a current valid University purchase order number (or an incorrect one), will be returned unpaid to the supplier.

The supplier will be instructed to contact the person who placed the order if they have not been supplied with a current valid University purchase order. Please ensure that any purchase order numbers supplied are current and valid. If a blanket order (*) is issued to the supplier please ensure that a new order is raised when the current one expires and that the new order number is communicated to the supplier.

Requisition numbers in lieu of a purchase order number should only be given to the supplier in exceptional circumstances (e.g. Co-op Travel) and the purchase order must be authorised prior to the receipt of the invoice. Any invoice received which quotes a requisition number where the order has not subsequently been approved, will be treated as if no order had been raised and will be returned unpaid.

Exceptions to ‘no order no payment’

The following types of expenditure and payments are agreed exceptions and do not require a purchase order:

  • where the University is making a payment by procurement card via Royal Bank of Scotland or using a University credit card, as no invoice is processed;
  • utilities i.e. water, energy, phone tariffs and phone lines;
  • some planning/property charges i.e. planning permission/rates;
  • Lyreco stationery orders will continue to be placed on line via their ordering system;
  • the Library’s orders for books and journals only.

We are looking at specific items required by the International Office, Library and Catering to identify if there are any other exceptions that need to be agreed.

 * Blanket orders are useful for recurring purchases or where multiple invoices are likely to be received for the order. A blanket order should cover the period of the expenditure, normally the financial year. A new blanket order should be raised to cover any subsequent periods. 

Where the actual cost for the period is not known an estimated value can be entered on the order. This value can be amended at any point by emailing purchaseledger@aston.ac.uk. Please note that the email must be sent by an approved authoriser for the job code on the order.  

View the Frequently Asked Questions 

Agresso training

The following Agresso training sessions for on line purchase order processing;  “Web requisitioning and invoice manager” are now available. To book a place follow the link below.

5 July (am)
12 July (am)


Contact details
General enquiries e mail purchaseledger@aston.ac.uk. Telephone Purchase ledger  on extensions: 4390, 4370,4413 or 4405.

To notify any other proposed exceptions e mail purchasing@aston.ac.uk. Telephone Judith Hemming on ext 4392.

Words by Alastair Hewgill and Liz Furey
1 June 2011

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