Purchasing, Expense, Reimbursement

First Time Purchasers

iBuyNU Orders

Non-iBuyNU Orders

Dividing Costs between Multiple Chart Strings


Equipment Orders & Deliveries

Receiving Packing Slips and Invoices

Billing Address

Account Codes


Ship To Codes

Direct Deliveries: FedEx UPS


Travel and Entertainment

Expense Reimbursement Policies


Expenses Authorized for Direct Billing

Expenses Not Authorized for Direct Billing

Expense Reimbursement Procedures

Expense Reports

Reimbursement of Visiting Seminar Speakers and Other Guests

Reconciliation of Travel Advances




Order Processing: sara [dot] mayol [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Sara Mayol)

Questions or Concerns, Chart String Requests: m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran)

CLP will process purchase orders on chart strings with the following DeptIDs and for any new or upcoming CLP-Affiliated Cores and Centers:

Department     8235900 CLP

Department     8235910 CAMI

Department     8235950 CDT

Department     8235920 QBIC

Department     8235930 Proteomics Core

Department     8235940 rPPC

Department     8237500 CMIDD

Department     8237900 PCE

Department     8235915 BIF

Department     8237520 HTAL


Purchase requests to be paid on non-CLP managed chart strings should be submitted to the appropriate department Business Office.

First Time Purchasers

First time users of CLP Purchasing Services must obtain authorization from their PI, Center Director, or Senior Administrator prior to submission of their first purchase request.

  • Complete the CLP Purchase Order System: User Approval Form prior to submitting your first purchase order.
  • Signed User Approval forms should be submitted to Michelle Suran.
  • Orders can be submitted immediately after CLP receives the signed form.  Only original signatures will be considered valid.

iBuyNU Orders

iBuyNU is a link to NU’s preferred vendors who host a website on the NU Portal.

To Request Security Authorization to Access iBuyNU:

  • Complete your personal information on pages 1 and 6 of the General Security Access Form
  • Send the form to m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran)
  • It takes approx. 2 weeks for NUFinancials to process access requests.

To Access iBuyNU:

  • Log in to NU Portal
  • Click Financials
  • Click Purchasing tab
  • Click iBuyNU secure site link where you see the line Shopper – direct access to iBuyNU secure site (middle of page_
  • Enter your User Name: enter your NU NetID in UPPERCASE
  • Enter Password: enter your NU Employee ID the first time you log in.
    • You will be prompted to change your password
    • The next time you log in, use the new password

Selecting a Vendor and Shopping:

  • You are limited to one vendor per shopping cart.
  • Select item(s) and add to cart.
  • When done shopping, retrieve and rename the cart in iBuyNU in the following way:
    • Vendor Name-Purchase Description-Shopper Last Name-Date (e.g. OfficeMax-OfficeSupplies-Smith-3.1.13)
  • Assign all iBuyNU carts to sara [dot] mayol [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Sara Mayol)
  • If the purchase exceeds your approved spending limit, take a screen shot of the cart and e-mail it to the PI for approval.
  • The PI should forward their approval to m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran)
  • If the PI is out of town, contact m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran)

Your shopping chart will usually be processed within 4 hours.  If not, you will receive an e-mail notification regarding questions that triggered the delay.

Non-iBuyNU Orders

Submit non-iBuyNU order on the CLP Purchase Order Form

If the purchase exceeds your approved spending limit and the PI is out of town, contact to m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran)

Submitting a non-iBuyNU purchase order:

  • Complete the CLP Purchase Order Form
  • Submit the form according to the instructions listed on the form.
  • If the purchase exceeds your approved spending limit, please ask the PI to sign the form confirming the approval.
  • If any individual item is equal to or greater than $5,000.00 and a single vendor is uniquely qualified to provide the item, please complete and submit a Sole Source Justification Form
  • If any individual item is equal to or greater than $5,000.00 and two or more vendors are qualified to provide the item, please complete and submit a Bid Documentation Form

Your purchase order form will usually be processed within 4 hours.  Questions regarding the order will result in e-mail notification and can delay processing.  Rush orders should be identified on the form and an e-mail should be sent to m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran) notifying her of the rush order.

Dividing Costs between Multiple Chart Strings

Purchasers may divide costs between multiple chart strings based on one of the allowable methods.

To divide costs:

  • Complete the Multiple Chart Strings Justification Form prior to submitting the purchase order. The form includes a drop-down menu with the allowable methods.
  • Please send the original, signed form to Michelle Suran.
  • A copy of the form will be attached to the Requisition.
  • CLP can only approve those requests to assign individual charges to multiple chart strings that follow University guidelines.


All orders with a vendor provided quote will be handled as non-iBuyNU orders.  This includes quotes given by preferred vendors with iBuyNU hosted websites.

  • A copy of the quote should be submitted with the CLP Purchase Order Form following the directions listed above for non-iBuyNU orders.
  • If a quote includes terms and conditions or requires a signature, it must be submitted to the Office for General Counsel for review and approval.  The Office for Research will sign as the authorized party on behalf of Northwestern University. Michelle will coordinate this process and submit the purchase requisition after receiving the required approvals.
  • Capital Equipment Purchase Form– All capital equipment orders, greater than or equal than $5,000, must have a complete Capital Equipment Purchase Form attached to the requisition.

Equipment Orders & Deliveries

When placing orders for large items, please be aware of the following:

  1. University Services Mail Services will not deliver freight shipments directly to your area (for example, items packed in a wooden crate or on a pallet).
  2. When freight shipments are received on the dock, we will be contacted.  Then you need to pick up the items from the Tech dock or mailroom.

If you want these shipments to be delivered to your area, there are two options:

  1. Vendor Delivery
    • Before placing an order, make arrangements with the vendor to have the vendor deliver the shipment directly to your area. (Some vendors may charge extra for this service.)
    • When you submit an order with a pre-arranged vendor delivery, please let Michelle or Sara know about the arrangements so the information can be included on the purchase order.
  2. Reebie Storage and Moving Co.
    • Reebie Storage and Moving Co. is the preferred vendor for Moving Services for the Chicago and Evanston campuses.  Request for service is coordinated through NU’s facilities management (FM).  Please contact t-leighton-ozmina [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Tiffany Leighton Ozmina) and she will process your request for moving services through the FM system.

Receiving Packing Slips and Invoices

Submit any packing slips and/or invoices you receive to sara [dot] mayol [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Sara Mayol)

Billing Address

Unless otherwise indicated in Comment sections on the CLP Purchase Order Form, all orders placed through CLP will be billed to:

Accounts Payable

Northwestern University

2020 Ridge Ave.

Evanston, IL 60208-4320

Account Codes

The following is a list of commonly used Expense “Account” Codes that can be used on the CLP Purchase Order Form

Code Description

73010  Paper and Office Supplies

73075  Computer Supplies

73080  Computer Supplies Technical

73100  Purchased Software

73300  Chemicals

73325  Laboratory Hardware

73475  Lab Supplies and Hardware

73480  Lab Gases

73910  Books

75030  Membership Dues

75115  External Copying Services

75130  External Printing Services

75225  External Computing Services

75450  Equipment Service Contracts

75530  License Fee

76725  Special Events Educations (includes catering)

76777  Meeting and Conference Fees – Domestic Travel

76730  Professional Development

76735  Faculty/Staff Recruitment

77010  Office Equipment < $5K

77020  Scientific Equipment < $5K

77030  Computers < $5K

77560  Scientific Instruments < $5K

77570  Computers < $5K


For expenses not listed above, CLP will determine the appropriate code based on the information provide with the purchase order.



University Services will deliver supplies and equipment to specific locations in Silverman Hall if we supply them with a “Ship To” code for your area.

Ship To Codes

New Centers/Cores will need to request codes for their labs.  This can be done by e-mailing m-suran [at] northwestern [dot] edu (Michelle Suran)

Direct Deliveries: FedEx UPS

For orders that need to be directly delivered to a lab or elsewhere (e.g. crated orders), pre-arrange with the vendor to have the order directly delivered to your lab or elsewhere. Please include this information on the CLP Purchase Order Form.


  • Silverman Hall does not have a mail room.
  • Faculty mail should be routed to the address of their home department.
  • Mail for Center/Core staff with appointments held in CLP can be routed to the CLP mailbox.
  • The mailing address is:

2145 Sheridan Rd.

Evanston, IL 60208-3113

  • There is a pick up and drop off point for CLP staff, Center/Core mail in CLP Office Suite 3-601.

Contact: Michelle Suran

The Chemistry of Life Processes Institute will approve only those requests for travel and entertainment expense reimbursements that follow University guidelines

Expense Reimbursement Policies

The following policies should be noted by Center Directors and lead administrators:

Entertainment and Courtesy Expenses

  • Per federal regulations, no expenditure of funds for entertainment and courtesies may be recovered as either direct or indirect costs from sponsors.
  • Within 30 days after the event of a purchase, employees or their proxies should complete an online EXPENSE REPORT and then print it and signed by the employee or the employee’s supervisor.  First time users of the Expense Report should walk through the process with Michelle or Sara (see below for information on completing report.) Please contact either of them if you have questions while completing a report.
  • The immediate supervisor must always review and approve a reimbursement request.
  • In-town meal reimbursement is allowable if there is a legitimate business purpose involving non-University personnel.
  • The cost of meals during normal working hours, when not traveling, is generally unallowable.  Specifically: Meal reimbursement while visiting either the Chicago or Evanston campus for work-related purposes.  Reimbursement for “social meals”, defined as two or more individuals from within the University eating together.
  • Food purchased for a regularly scheduled weekly meeting or for daily consumption within an office or classroom is prohibited.
  • Modest refreshments at school-wide or department meetings are allowable at either a monthly or quarterly intervals.
  • Annual holiday parties are allowable if they are reasonable in scope, with only one party per department, school, or unit, supported by unit funds.  The current standard for maximum cost per person is $27.00.
  • One general appreciation party or event during an academic year for staff, faculty, or students is also acceptable ($27.00 per person max).
  • Retreats to analyze school or unit issues are allowable if approved in advance by the most senior officer (Provost, Vice-President, or Dean).  Ideally, such meeting should be held on campus.

Expense Reports

All purchases of equipment, especially computer and capital equipment should be processed through the Northwestern University Financial System. Such expense should not be submitted to an expense report.

  • Sales taxes are not reimbursed for product purchases. If an unusual situation exists whereby an in-store purchase is required, please obtain a tax-exempt letter from Michelle to present for the in-store purchase.
  • Charges for alcoholic beverages are not reimbursed on sponsored funds.  If requesting reimbursement for alcohol on no-sponsored funds, the alcohol purchase must be separately identified on the receipt and separate from the cost of the meal.  This includes the tax on the cost of the alcohol.
  • Students cannot be reimbursed for the cost of alcohol.
  • Hotel mini-bar purchases will not be reimbursed.
  • Complete online Expense report.
  • Aid for Entering Expense Report
  • Include all expenses (reimbursable or not) including expenses directly charges to chart string (airfare or hotel) or P-card (conference registration).  Include non-reimbursable expenses.
  • Submit original itemized receipts along with printed copy of online expense report. Securely tape receipts to white paper on all four sides.
  • If a receipt does not show method of payment, attach a cancelled check or copy of the credit card statement to verify payment method.  If paid in cash, write “cash” on the receipt.
  • Copies of charge card statements may be included to substantiate expenses, but these do not replace related original itemized receipts.
  • Ground transportation receipts should indicate carrier, date, fare, tip and from-to destination, i.e. Evanston to O’Hare.  An employee can be reimbursed for the cost of mileage or gas, but not both.
  • Mileage reimbursement requests must include mileage documentation (Map Quest or Google Maps)
  • Hotel bill must show $0.00 balance.
  • Meals: must show itemized receipt for meals and tips.  Circle consumed items and show prorated tax and tip on shared bills.
  • Submit an exemption letter explaining any missing receipts.
  • Submit Signed Expense Reports and Exception Letters to CLP Office.
  • Center Director Expense Reports and Exception Letters must be signed by Meg.  CLP will submit them on behalf of the Center/Core Director.
  • Associate Director and DOO reports must be signed by the Center Director.
  • Conference/ Workshop attendees attach badge and copy of agenda.

 Reimbursement of Visiting Seminar Speakers and Other Guests

She will create an Online Voucher per NU policy which will result in the creation of check which will be sent to the visitor.  See Aid for Entering Expense Report

  • Please send completed, signed Visitor Expense Report to Sara (see below for details).  Attach a copy of event flyer, showing grant or Center/Core sponsorship.
  • Follow all other reimbursement processes, as stated above.
  • Visitor Expense Reports and Exception Letters must be signed by the Center Director.
  • CLP Business Office prepares and retains scanned signed copies.
  • CLP submits Online Voucher with attached electronic documentation.
  • Submit original receipts, Contracted Services Form


 Contact: Michelle Suran

 See NU Travel Policy

Attach budget to signed travel advance request.

  •  P-card Usage for Registration Fees Only: E-mail supporting documents and send original receipts to Michelle.
  •  Cash Advances: Allow a minimum of 10 business days for processing and approvals.
  • Obtain pre-approval from Michelle Suran of budget showing traveler’s name, chart string, purpose of travel and expenses that will be covered by advance. (See example below)
  • Send signed hard copy of request to Michelle for approval.  She will forward request to ASRSP.
  • If for travel, please use the Travel Reimbursement Checklist before submitting your request to Michelle.
  • Travel must be authorized in advance by the traveler’s supervisor.
  • Travelers must verify that planned travel is eligible for reimbursement before making travel arrangements.
  • Within 30 days after the completion of each trip, the traveler or his/her proxy must submit a NUFinancials Expense Report and supporting documentation with receipts attached to the Expense Receipts page to obtain expense reimbursement.
  • Original itemized receipts must be submitted for all travel expenses including airline and rail, hotels, meals, automobile rental, and incidentals.
  • Monthly credit card statements and/or travel agency invoices and statements alone are not acceptable as backup documentation.
  • An expense of $40.00 or greater without a valid receipt will only be considered for reimbursement when submitted with a completed Expense Policy Exception Request.
  • Foreign currency used to pay for international expenses must be properly converted to USD and supported by reliable conversion rate.

 Reconciliation of Travel Advances

  • Please use the Travel Reimbursement Checklist before submitting your reimbursement (Travel Reimbursement Checklist).
  • Reconcile travel advance within 5 days or as soon as possible.
  • Expense report should link to the cash advance and show a separate line reconciling that advance.
  • Prepare expense report per reimbursement procedures above.
  • Include personal check or money order with expense report, if necessary, to reimburse the University for overpayments.
  • Attach copy of signed cash advance to expense report.

Expenses Authorized for Direct Billing

  • Airline Tickets: Direct billing of airline tickets to a department or sponsored project (through the University’s financial system) for University-approved business travel is provided through all o the University-designated Travel Agencies.  This is the recommended method for purchasing airline tickets for approved business travel.

    Hotel Arrangements: For conferences and other large groups of guests only.  Contact CLP business office if you need to reserve a block of rooms for a conference.

Expenses Not Authorized for Direct Billing

  • Lodging: Direct billing of individual lodging charges to University departments is highly discouraged, and guest of the University should pay their own hotel bill and submit their receipts as part of their total trip settlement.
  • Taxi, Shuttle, and/or Limousine Services: Direct billing arrangements between taxi, shuttle, and/or limousine services and University departments are not allowable for travel by University employee or guests of the University.  Employees and guests should pay for taxi and limousine services and then submit reimbursement requests on a NUFinancials Expense Report (employees) or a Visitor’s Expense Report (guests), available on the NUPortal Purchasing & Payments tab.