No PO No Pay policy

The University of Plymouth has an active No Purchase Order (PO) No Pay stance with all suppliers and contractors providing goods, services, which came into effect from 1st August 2019. From this date all invoices have been required to quote a valid PO number generated from the University’s finance system.

In addition to this guidance, the Payments Team have published further information to help you. Please refer to the No PO No Pay FAQs section at the end of this communication. You can also contact the directly via payments@plymouth.ac.uk

Why have we implemented this?

A No PO No Pay stance allows the University to better manage what is spent and when, while also ensuring the University can consistently maintain a prompt approach to paying for goods, services and works which have been ordered in accordance with approved processes.

This is already standard practice elsewhere and contributes to greater clarity on services and costs for both the University and suppliers.

What you need to do

If you are a supplier to the University, please ensure all invoices submitted for payment to invoices@plymouth.ac.uk with a valid PO number. This PO number should be received prior to shipment of goods or delivery of services or works.

NB - POs are generated by either the University’s finance system or other ordering systems, such as through the Library or Design & Print Centre (DPC). Invoices received with a valid PO number will then be paid in line with agreed contract terms (usually 30 days from approval). 

Any invoices without an official PO number will be returned to you and may delay payment.

We appreciate it may take time in some areas to adapt to this new approach, however once implemented consistently, the move will make a real difference to our ability to manage payment processes more efficiently.

No PO No Pay Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The University of Plymouth operates a No PO No Pay (No Purchase Order No Payment) stance, which applies consistently to all suppliers and contractors who provide goods, services and works to the University.

This stance applies to all suppliers/contractors unless an alternative formal route of engagement has been agreed with the Head of Procurement. This positon is revisited annually.

This stance means all invoices received must quote a valid PO number, which must relate to an approved PO within the University’s finance system. Valid PO numbers are generally six-digits long.

How does it work?

No PO No Pay requires all invoices submitted by suppliers/contractors to contain a valid PO number. Purchase orders are generated by the University’s finance system or other ordering systems (e.g. Library, Document & Print Centre systems) and are submitted to suppliers/contractors prior to delivery or receipt of goods, services or works.

Are payment terms be affected by this policy?

We recognise that cash flow is important to businesses.

Invoices received with a valid PO number will be paid in line with agreed contract terms. Our standard payment terms are 30 days from authorisation and approval of a valid and correct invoice.

Invoices received without a valid PO number quoted are likely to be subject to a delay in payment and may be returned to the supplier/contractor unpaid.

What is a valid PO number?

Valid PO numbers for University of Plymouth are six digits long.

Valid POs from the University’s systems are sent to suppliers/contractors electronically by prior arrangement.

The use of names, initials, or any other alphanumeric formats means a PO is not valid.

I’m a Supplier. What should I do if I don’t receive a PO?

You should only accept an order when a valid PO is provided. If you receive an order from a member of University staff without a valid PO number, you should ask the member of staff to provide one before proceeding.

Where should invoices be sent for payment?

All invoices should be emailed to invoices@plymouth.ac.uk

Please be advised that paper invoices will no longer be accepted.

What should I do if I didn't receive a PO number and the invoice is returned to me?

You should contact the member of staff who gave the original instruction to supply the goods, services or works and ask them to provide a valid PO number.

When a valid PO number is obtained, you should send a replacement invoice, quoting the valid PO number to the address above. Upon authorisation of a correct and valid invoice, the payment terms will be applied.

What should I do if I have sent an invoice quoting a valid PO number and my payment appears to be delayed?

Invoices may be disputed for a number of valid reasons. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • PO number quoted does not match the issued PO
  • PO number quoted on invoice is closed or complete
  • Invoice quantities, description, dates or pricing do not match those on the quoted PO number

If your invoice has been delayed beyond the expected payment terms agreed, you should contact the member of University staff you agreed the PO with to request the delay is investigated and a response provided to you.

Who should I contact if I have any queries about No PO No Pay?

If you have any further queries regarding this stance, please contact payments@plymouth.ac.uk