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Procure-to-Pay Decision Matrix

Learn more about the procure-to-pay payment options

The Procure-to-Pay Decision Matrix guides University faculty and staff in determining the appropriate method of payment for common, routine purchases as well as business travel and entertainment expenses.

  • All contracts and agreements must be approved through IPPS Business Contracts. Departments are not authorized to sign agreements.
  • Out-of-pocket purchases are not the preferred method of payment and should only be used in an emergency.


The Procurement Card and Oracle are the primary methods of making common, routine purchases.

  • Procurement Card (P-Card): UC San Diego’s Visa® procurement card for low dollar purchases that do not require a purchase order or signed contract and cannot be purchased with a contracted supplier; transactions are processed online in Concur
  • Oracle: Application for purchasing goods and services that require a contract or purchase order

The following methods are more appropriate for specialized purchases, business travel, and entertainment expenses.

  • Services & Support for Non-PO Payments: Application for requesting direct payment to vendors and non-employee individuals that do not require a purchase order (and not related to business travel nor events)
  • Concur: Application for processing University Card & Payment Product Requests (i.e. Procurement Card, Travel & Entertainment Card, Vanilla Visa Gift Cards), business travel expenses, and business meetings/entertainment expenses; Travel & Entertainment (T&E) Card transactions are processed online in Concur
  • Special Method: Requires a specific ordering and payment process; review any links provided and contact the respective department/central office team (e.g. Procurement Card, Strategic Procurement, Logistics) for exception approval or instruction 

The IPPS Payment System Decision Tree has been created as a companion guide to the decision matrix. The Payment System Decision Tree should be used in tandem with the Common Purchases table below to determine the appropriate system to process your purchase.

P: Preferred Method

A: Allowed method when the preferred method is not available

E: Allowed as an exception with prior approval

X: Special Method

Common Purchases

Purchase Procurement Card Oracle Services & Support Concur T&E Card (Concur) Special Method

Abstract/journal publication fee

Advertisement - recruitment, event, promotional P A E
Alcohol for ships operations or specialized inventory P
Alcohol and\or bar service for a meeting or hosted event P
Animals X
Audiovisual equipment & supplies A P
Award, recognition or prize; employee or student A P E
Award or prize; non‐employee A P E
Book, CD, DVD P A
Break room appliance & supplies P A
Break room large appliance & supplies P
Building repair & alteration X
Catering - UCSD Catering/HDH Delivers E E
Cell phone purchase with the service plan billed through ITS A X
Certifications & exam associated w/employment P
Charter - boat, bus, shuttle, plane, etc. P
Computer - desktop, laptop, peripheral A P
Conference meeting room booked at a hotel with audio visual and/or presentation equipment for University-hosted events (event where guests do not pay a conference fee to attend) P
Controlled substance X
Copier X
Copy or print; on campus X
Copy or print; off campus P A
Employee clothing /uniform A P E
Entertainer/Performer P X (UEO)
Entertainment - meals, refreshments, non-meal expenses (business event) P
Equipment < $4999 and without a signed agreement A P
Equipment  > $4999 P
Equipment repair A P
Flower Arrangement - décor (non-entertainment) P
Flower Arrangement - recognition or sympathy P
Food/Beverages - dine-in/delivery, pickup (meeting/entertainment event) P
Gasoline - UC vehicle E X
Gifts - employee A P E
Gifts - non employee A P E
Gift Cards P (Vanilla Visa®) E
Honorarium - speaker or lecturer P
Independent Contractor or Consultant P
Insurance premium or payment P
International purchase with duty papers P
International purchase without duty papers A P
License - professional A P
Maintenance service agreement P
Marketing or promotional material P A
Membership dues - professional or technical organization P E
Mileage - including parking and tolls P
Moving service - office or lab X
Moving company service (employee move/relocation) P
Office furniture & accessories A P
Permits P
Postage X
Postage (stamps) - off campus E
Precious metal P
Programmatic event or expense  E P
Radioactive material P
Registration - conference or seminar without travel P
Registration - conference or seminar with travel P
Reprint - i.e., professional/research journals (reprinting articles avail to dept) P
Research Participant compensation (clinical trials/human subject) – payment directly to participant P
Research Participant compensation (clinical trials/human subject) - gift card, payment to PI/Assigned Coordinator X P
Fellowship – support for research expenses (non-employee) P
Service requiring a contract P
Freight/Shipping P A X
Freight (FedEx) P
Software; off the shelf & digital, no signed license agreement P A
Software; requiring signed license agreement P
Sponsorship P
Subscription, professional & technical  print or online; - journal, periodical, magazine or newspaper P
Supplies - instructional, lab, office, classroom, custodial, or landscaping A P
Temporary labor staffing A P (TES)
Travel expenses (e.g. airfare,  hotel, rental car, meals, ground transportation) P (Concur Travel for booking)
Vehicle purchase P
Vehicle lease A P (Fleet)
Visa –international scholars and employees not associated with business travel (i.e. H1B Visas) P
Visa –international employee /scholars associated with business travel P


Travel & Entertainment

 The Travel & Entertainment Card is used to pay for:

  • Official UC San Diego business travel services and expenses for the cardholder only 
  • Moving Company invoice payment for new employee/appointee move or relocation
  • Meeting meal and entertainment expenses when the cardholder is acting as the meeting coordinator of official business meeting or host of official University-sponsored entertainment (event) 

Please see Travel Blink for more information on the travel and entertainment policies and payment options as well as information on Concur.

Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.