The Requisitioning Process

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Requisitioning is the formal request for a purchase to be made. It is the first step after the need for goods or services is recognized. The user department’s purchase requisition authorizes the purchasing department to enter into a contract with a vendor to purchase goods or services.1The purpose of the requisition is to inform the purchasing department of the department’s needs, and to correctly identify the item(s) or services required.2In most counties that have a centralized finance/purchasing system, a pre-printed purchasing requisition form is used to convey the purchase request to the purchasing department. 

The purchase requisition should contain accurate and complete information describing the goods or services needed for the on-going operations of the user department. The purchase requisition should fully describe to the purchasing department what to buy, when it is required, and where the goods are to be delivered or the services are to be performed.3Many pre-printed purchase requisition forms have an area where the user department can enter a budget account line item number to utilize for their requested purchase. This allows the purchasing department to check for available budget fund balances before making the purchase determination.

Preparation of the requisition should be performed far enough ahead of the date that the goods or services are needed to allow the purchasing department and the vendor to do their jobs properly, including-

  • Advertising for bids, if necessary (including allowing adequate time for specification writing);
  • Obtaining bids, proposals, or price quotations;
  • Processing bids or proposals, placing purchase orders, or concluding contracts; and
  • Allowing delivery of goods or services.4                           

The requisition should contain, among other things, the following information:

  • The date of the requisition (month, day, year).
  • Name of the department.
  • Requisition number.
  • Departmental contact and telephone number.
  • Date required/requested.
  • Delivery destination.
  • Budget account number(s).
  • Estimated cost (unit price and total).
  • Vendor identification.
  • Quantity required, including unit of issue.
  • Description—clearly describe the item needed, including any technical requirements. The department may need to include detailed specifications and other required information as a separate attachment to the requisition.5
  • Signature of department head or person authorized to sign requisition.                     

After the purchasing department receives the purchase requisition, it reviews the purchase requisition for completeness and adequate or inadequate information (e.g., recommended necessary specification changes, signature of person authorized to sign requisition, etc.). If the requisition is prepared with complete and adequate information, the purchasing department determines the appropriate purchasing method based on the cost of the purchase, the goods and services to be purchased, the existing contracts for goods and services, and other relevant factors.6One of the main purposes of the purchase requisition is that it provides a record that can be inspected and audited.

Sample purchase requisition.

1Welcome to County Procurement, Texas Purchasing Association, January 2004, 12.

2National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, General Public Purchasing, (Falls Church, VA: 1991), 4-3

3Welcome to County Procurement, P. 12

4Williamson County, Texas, Purchasing Manual Policies, (Revised 2001) 2.

5ibid, 2.

6ibid, 12.