Purchase Order Best Practices


It's important to include accurate, descriptive information on a PO for three reasons:

  1. Our suppliers need to understand exactly what you want, when you want it, and where you want it delivered.
  2. eVa requires complete line item detail. Orders that aren't correctly coded may be considered "Non-Compliant," incurring the full eVA fee. 
  3. It's helpful for re-ordering, audit, and data analysis purposes for anyone to be able to understand what you've purchased.



  • Any item that has a price should be on a separate item line. Very few purchases are made without a known price per something.
  • Each line must include quantity, unit of measure (UOM), unit price, and a specific description of the goods or services. All must be as accurate as possible.
  • Refer to the vendor's quote number if possible, but you should also provide the full description of the item.


  • Services most often have a UOM that indicates a length of time (such as hours, days or months) for which there is a specific price -- that should always be used when it can be determined.
  • If number of items on line is more than 1 (e.g. 10 keyboards), do not use quantity 1 and UOM "each".


  • Quantity, UOM, unit price, and description must each be entered in the proper text boxes -- putting it all in the description field is not acceptable.
  • Description must be such that the vendor could fulfill the order with no further information.
  • Think about what you would have to tell the vendor on the phone to be sure of getting what you need -- that's what you need to put in the description. You would not say "Just send me a lot of pens, and I'll pay $5.00 for them" -- you usually know how many pens of what type you are getting and how much you are paying for them, per each, per box, per dozen, etc.
  • DO NOT put invoice number in the description field. eVA considers this a non-compliant purchase. Use the reference field or the paper clip for this information if you need to have it somewhere on the order for your internal use.


  • Expenditure types distinguish between many eVA-exempt categories of goods and services and are vitally important for some hard-to-distinguish categories.
  • The Goods and Services Procurement Guide provides the distinguishing expenditure type where there's a lot of confusion about whether a commodity is eVA-excluded or not.
  • Please do not try to get an eVA-Exclusion by using an inaccurate expenditure type. These are usually caught and create extra work for Procurement Services to manually correct them in the eVA Interface.
  • Do NOT combine eVA-Excluded and non-eVA-Excluded expenditure types or awards on the same order - the system cannot process them accurately. Consider that the eVA-Excluded lines can often be paid separately on a Payment Voucher (PV). An example might be the case of travel reimbursement being paid to a consultant along with the fees - the consultant fee needs to go on a Marketplace order, but the travel reimbursement should be on a PV.

The ''Dollar'' Order Exception - When Should It Be Used?

"Dollar" Orders are the exception to the above rules. There are times when it is important to use a dollar order to make invoice matching in Oracle possible.

Lumping multiple items together on one line with UOM "dollar":

  • Must be used for an order for services (or much less frequently for goods) when the unit price cannot be accurately determined in advance. This will ensure that the invoice can be matched and that the order can be reduced later if needed. These will most often be standing orders, as unit price can usually be determined in other situations.
  • May be used on an order for a wide assortment of varied small-dollar items that it would be highly impractical and not useful to describe individually and ascribe unit prices to. 
    Examples: 50 pizzas of assorted sizes and toppings, or 200 T-shirts in 20 different size and color combinations.
  • Must not be used in any other circumstances. When unit prices are correct, invoices can be matched, and reducing the quantity or canceling lines is all that is required if it is necessary to reduce PO amount on the orders after invoicing.

Dollar orders will not strictly meet eVA requirements, so we ask that this exception not be abused. Use it when necessary and enter all the required detail at all other times.

Examples of Right and Wrong Item Line Entry

  • Qty:    11
    UOM:    EA
    Unit Price:    $85.75
    Description:    1" mini blinds (53"x72") - vendor to supply Springs Window Fashions Bali Customizer, .006" gauge aluminum; color: 205-white satin
    Probably Right   (Vendor could fill order from this description and should be done this way only if price can be confirmed.)
  • Qty:    950
    UOM:   DOL
    Unit Price:    $1.00
    Description:    11 sets of 1" mini blinds (53"x72") -vendor to supply Springs Window Fashions Bali Customizer, .006" gauge aluminum; color: 205-white satin 
    Possibly Right (Vendor could fill order from this description and should be done this way only if price cannot be confirmed.)
  • Qty:    1
    UOM:   LOT
    Unit Price:    $1200.00
    Description:    water - see attached quote 
    Wrong (does not give adequate description, quantity, or unit pricing)
  • Qty:    1
    UOM:    LOT
    Unit Price:    $1200.00
    Description:    120 gallons of distilled water in 1-gallon plastic bottles 
    Wrong (does not give unit price, and quantity is buried in the description field)
  • Qty:    72
    UOM:    LOT
    Unit Price:    $16.41
    Description:    PS530 PAPER TRAY UNIT#412541/$16.41 PER MACHINE PER MONTH FOR 36 MONTHS-2 MACHINES
    Image removed. Close, but Wrong (Good description, but should be 72 "EA" if price is confirmed, or 1182 “DOL” if price is not firm, but not 72 "LOT")
  • Qty:    200,000
    UOM:    EA
    Unit Price:    $.0001
    Description:    ADDITIONAL COPIES
      Right  (This short description is actually enough in this case and gives price per copy.)
  • Qty:    1
    UOM:    LOT
    Unit Price:    $839.59
    Description:    1 office chair (EN123AAS) and 1 Banana board Keyboard tray, 21'' track & gel wrist pad (2128-22J) delivery and installation for new employee.
    Wrong (Should be on several lines with quantity, price, and UOM for each item, rather than a lot with a single line. Unit Price is not useful here -- what is the price of the chair, the wrist pad, etc.? )
  • Qty:    1
    UOM:    EA
    Unit Price:    $8,000.00
    Wrong (Quantity, UOM, unit price are buried in description -- see correct way to enter in the example following this one)
  • Qty:    200
    UOM:    HR
    Unit Price:    $40.00
      Right  (Gives correct quantity, UOM, unit price)