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Purchase to Pay - Frequently Asked Questions

What will change in purchasing everyday goods and services?

Under the rationalised purchase to pay system, ordering and receipt of goods and services will be carried out in EASEbuy (Executive Agency, Scottish Executive Buying System) and paid for in SEAS (Scottish Executive Accounting System). This is mandatory for core departments as the SEAS purchase ordering responsibility and SEAS SSP (Self Service Procurement) catalogues will be switched off from the launch date. EASEbuy, along with the GPC (Government Procurement Card), is the only purchasing option for all goods and services.

The system does not affect current processes for paying Worthy Causes (claims, grants or funding payments, normally made to organisations that are providing a service on behalf of the Scottish Executive).

Why do we need to change the way we order our goods and services?

The way we purchase our goods and services and our overall payment performance needs to change in line with our procurement policies as directed by the McClelland Report. The rationalised approach will assist in the delivery of £600,000 annual savings as part of our Efficient Government targets.

When will these changes happen?

The changes went live on Monday, 12 February 2007. SEAS Purchase Ordering responsibility and SEAS SSP catalogues were switched off from that date.

I regularly bought goods and services on SEAS - how will this affect me?

If you purchased goods and services via SEAS Purchase Ordering responsibility and SEAS SSP catalogues, this purchasing option is no longer available. You must ensure that you have access to EASEbuy and/or GPC before to enable you to carry our purchasing.

Will the new system affect Worthy Cause payments?

No, there will be no change to the current way in which Worthy Cause payments are made. They will continue to be made through SEAS SSP.

Why do I have to buy on the EASEbuy system and not on SEAS?

Purchases via EASEbuy are on average 1% cheaper than the same goods ordered through SEAS - so there is an immediate cost benefit. It is not cost effective to maintain 2 purchasing systems when one is perfectly efficient. It also offers better management information from one software platform - eliminating the lengthy and complicated analysis of two separate systems.

EASEBUY

What is EASEbuy?

EASEbuy is a simple, easy to use eProcurement purchasing system. It is web based, does not require any specialised software to be installed and enables online communication with our suppliers. Providing the internet can be accessed from a PC then users have access to the EASEbuy system.

TRAINING

EASEbuy training

Training is already underway to ensure that all staff purchasing through EASEbuy are ready to operate the system by the 'go-live' date. Over 2000 people are already trained on EASEbuy. EASEbuy training is particularly important as you will not gain access to the system without first attending a training course such as Stationary, Car Hire or TMP (Advertising).

Government Procurement Card (GPC) guidance

Guidance on the use of GPC and how to apply for a card is available on the training page of this site.

Any other training available?

You should note that there is no 'special' P2P Training. EASEbuy training is provided on the main modules, Stationery, Car Hire, Hospitality and TMP (Advertising). We will be publishing details on this site in the near future regarding Open Ended Orders, ad-hoc orders and 3-way invoice matching in SEAS.

See also the specific page on training in this site for further details.

GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT CARD (GPC)

What is GPC?

The card is an efficient method of purchasing and paying for ad-hoc, one-off goods and services costing up to £5K excluding VAT. Using the card reduces the time required to raise and process large numbers of ad-hoc payments. Suppliers benefit by being paid a few days after despatching the goods or delivering the services. As this is a credit card, goods or services do not require a purchase order number. A separate T&S Charge Card is also availaible to individual travelling officers specifically to claim incidental travel and subsistence allowances.

How do I go about getting a GPC or T&S Charge Card?

See the specific 'training page' on this site for details.

3-WAY MATCHING

What is 3-Way Matching?

3-way matching is the process by which the Purchase Order, Receipt and Invoice for goods and services are matched against each other, eventually allowing final payment of the invoice. It works like this:

  • Stage 1: Requisitioners ordering the goods on EASEbuy will automatically generate a Purchase Order with a unique number.
  • Stage 2: Once the goods or services have been delivered, the requisitioner will then retrieve the purchase order on EASEbuy and receipt to acknowledge delivery.
  • Stage 3: Those who receive and process the invoices will then perform the 3-way match of the purchase order, receipt and invoice in SEAS - checking to ensure that the quantity and price are the same as in the original order. Once matched, payment can then be made.

This process highlights the importance of requisitioners following Stage 2 and receipting goods or services on EASEbuy once they are received. Failure to receipt prevents the 3-way matching process being completed, leading to possible delays in payment to suppliers.

I am in an organisation which is carrying out its own 3-Way Matching. If I attempt to match a PO to an invoice on SEAS and there is a difference in price or quantity between the Purchase Order and the Invoice, can I do a Change Order in EASEbuy in order to complete the 3-Way Match?

No, if you have attempted to match the invoice on SEAS it will have to be cancelled, the Change Order made in EASEbuy and the Invoice re-entered on SEAS. We would recommend that you conduct a health check on SEAS of the PO to ensure that the PO matches the invoice etc before you enter the invoice.

Note if the detail on the invoice is wrong it will be returned to the supplier.

PURCHASE ORDERING

I want to book myself or someone else onto a training course. Do I have to raise a purchase order first?

You can phone and reserve a place on a training course initially, or fill in a form to request a place if that is the preferred method (Note - some booking forms, like those from the National School of Government, carry a box to enter PO numbers). You should then make the purchase on EASEbuy, or, if the course costs are under £5k and non-recurring, use a GPC card.

I have a query regarding purchasing arrangements for hotels or use of the T&S Charge Card once the P2P Programme goes live.

If you have any queries regarding purchasing arrangements for hotels, you should initially refer to the following points of contact:

Core Departments for hotels - Amanda Adams - 43730

Agencies for hotels - Sarah Warburton - 43627

T&S Charge card - Margo Gordon - 43638

I want to book a hotel or conference centre for the use of their conference facilities. How should I do this under P2P?

First of all contact Expotel, with whom a collaborative contract has been established. They will recommend venues to you.

Then raise a Purchase Order on EASEbuy to book the venue. If the venue is not set up as a supplier on EASEbuy, then contact the EASEbuy helpdesk on 48500 and they will set it up for you. You must confirm the venue with Expotel before you raise your PO.

You could also consider using the GPC card to pay for the venue if the purchase is not over £5000.

What if we frequently use the same hotel or conference centre?

If the hotel or conference centre is used repeatedly for conferences (and therefore is not a one-off payment) the user should consider adding the venue as a supplier on EASEbuy.

How do I book Arnold Clark hire cars?

All orders for Arnold Clark car hire must be made on EASEbuy. The only exceptions to this are when vehicles need to be ordered urgently within a 24-hour period, when telephone calls or faxes to Arnold Clark are allowed.

I already have blanket orders set up - will P2P affect them?

From the P2P go live date, blanket orders already set up will need to have their remaining balance covered by an open ended order, up to the end of financial year 06-07. Thereafter we would recommend open orders be set up as outlined in the following question.

What is an open ended order?

An open ended order is an EASEbuy purchase order where the goods and services will be receipted more than once over a period time e.g. a utilities bill for a building for one financial year. Your order should be based on the estimated project cost over its duration. You will then receipt the orders on EASEbuy against the open ended order as the invoices come in.

If you need to revise the amount of your open ended order over the course of the duration we advise you carry out a change order as outlined in the following question.

How do I change an order?

If you need to change the price or quantity of the goods and services that you have ordered in EASEbuy, you need to use its Change Order function. Once you have amended the quantity or price of the ordered goods and services, you must resubmit the amended order for approval. Refer to the updated EASEbuy manual on how to do this.

What is the difference between a catalogue order and non-catalogue order?

A catalogue order is an order for goods and services where the items are selected from a pre-defined list from a particular supplier. An example of this is the various stationery items that can be bought from Lyreco.

A non-catalogue order is an ad-hoc purchase from a supplier for which no specific items catalogue has been set up.

It should be pointed out that some suppliers can provide both catalogue and non-catalogue items.

How do I cancel an order, or part of an order?

If you need to cancel all or part of the goods and services that you have ordered using EASEbuy, you need to locate the order then either cancel the whole order or the specific order lines, which you no longer require or the supplier cannot provide using specific change order functions in EASEbuy. Refer to the updated EASEbuy manual on how to do this.

Can I raise Purchase Orders at zero cost (sometimes called 'Dummy POs') if I do not know the cost of the good or service?

No, you must ensure that you are raising an order for the costs of the goods / services that are required. If suppliers are unable to provide you with exact costs, always make sure they give you an estimate price. Should this differ from the final price, ensure the supplier notifies you before issuing the invoice. This will allow you to change the order to match the final cost. If you do not change the order to the price (net value) that will be detailed on the invoice, it will not be possible for your invoice to be '3- way matched', and your order will be treated as an exception (see the question on 'discrepancies between invoices and purchase orders' for more information).

Can I raise retrospective purchase orders?

No. From 'go live', our procurement policy is that all purchases must be approved and recorded in advance via official EASEBuy Purchase Orders (this will enable us in due course to move to full commitment accounting). Retrospective purchase ordering will be treated as a breach of procurement policy and may lead to disciplinary action.

Only invoices with a valid PO number will be paid. Invoices without a purchase order number will be returned to the supplier, who will then need to contact the requisitioner to raise an order on EASEbuy with a new invoice being issued detailing the correct Purchase Order Number. So waiting until you receive an invoice to raise a PO will result in significant delay, will annoy your supplier, and the breach of procurement policy will be reported to your line management.

Suppliers have been notified not to accept orders unless they carry an official EASEbuy Purchase Order number.

I need to order something urgently and have no access to EASebuy - what do I do?

If your job requires regular last-minute purchases of ad-hoc goods and services, you may wish to consider ordering a GPC card as the most efficient way of covering this.

I have a secondee in my area. How is the payment for this affected by P2P?

Whether a public or private sector secondee, you have to raise a purchase order on EASEbuy for each secondee. It is recommended that this be done through raising an open ended order covering expected salary and expenditure costs over the duration of the secondment. If necessary, this amount can be changed through a change order.

How do I pay for the services of a tribunal member?

Each tribunal member should be set up as a supplier on EASEbuy. Phone the EASEbuy Helpdesk on 48500 to do this. Then set up an open-ended order on EASEbuy for each member to cover the cost of their services. IMPORTANT NOTE - the costs of members services is the amount of hours each member actually sits on the tribunal. It does NOT cover any T&S claims the member may make. Additional T&S claims should be paid on SEAS SSP as a Worthy Cause, and not as part of the open-ended order.

Is there any help available about the use of non catalogue orders, open-ended orders and three way matching of invoices?

Detailed guidance is now available. Please email the following to obtain copies:

For EASEbuy and non-catalogue order guidance:

EASEbuy@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

for 3-Way Matching guidance:

SEAS.training@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Are amounts entered into EASEbuy Net or Gross?

The amounts entered into EASEbuy are always Net (Gross is inc of VAT).

Can I change the financial tracking/distribution line (i.e. the account code, cost centre code , sub-analysis codes , programme code ) on a PURCHASE ORDER/OPEN ENDED ORDER if I make a mistake?

Here's what you need to do depending on whether the order has or has not been receipted:

1. If it HAS NOT been receipted:

  • delete the line which contains an invalid/incorrect account code that has not been receipted
  • add a new line
  • code it correctly

2. If it HAS been receipted:

  • Return the items
  • delete the line which contains an invalid/incorrect account code that has not been receipted
  • add a new line
  • code it correctly

3. If it HAS BEEN RECEIPTED AND 3-WAY MATCHED (the invoice has been applied in SEAS) then:

  • the EASEbuy Invalid account will be coded against your cost centre in the SEAS General Ledger.
  • a SEAS Journal will need to be created by your finance team prior to month end to rectify this.
  • Your finance team will monitor their SEAS GL report to spot the EASEbuy Invalid account entry
  • when it hits the SEAS General Ledger , your finance team will reverse it at that point.
  • Remember, when you receive an e-mail, notifying you that you have made an invalid account code entry, you must forward that e-mail to your finance team.

What do I do if I raise an EASEbuy order using an INVALID ACCOUNT CODE?

Some account codes are invalid because they have not been changed from the automatic default setting (99999…..) If you use an invalid account code, the transaction will be temporarily put into the following suspense account code:

310000.A99.40102090.000000.00000000.000000.180

It will stay in this account code until it can be corrected (reversed by a journal) by either yourself or a member of your finance team, or your BCLO.

Once it has gone through the normal receipting and 3-Way Matching, then the following process needs to happen:

  • The EASEbuy invalid account will be coded against your cost centre in the SEAS General Ledger.
  • A SEAS Journal will need to be created by your finance team prior to month end to rectify this.
  • Your finance team will monitor their SEAS GL report to spot the EASEbuy invalid account entry
  • When it hits the SEAS General Ledger, your finance team will reverse it at that point.
  • Remember, when you receive an e-mail, notifying you that you have made an invalid account code entry, you must forward that e-mail to your finance team.

Can I split a quantity of goods and services (ie 10 desks) on a single purchase order line between different financial tracking codes (ie 2 cost centre codes)?

No, but you can split the cost of the quantity of goods and services between different financial tracking codes by entering the quantities on separate purchase order lines (ie 5 of the 10 desks on one line and the remaining 5 on the other). Alternatively, you can post a journal to the General Ledger to apportion the costs as you see fit.

INVOICING

Where will invoices be sent to?

From the P2P go live date, invoices will be sent to the SEAS P2P Payables Team in 3A South Victoria Quay (except for CCS, who will continue to process their own). Agencies and NDPBs who currently process their own invoices will continue to do so.

Suppliers have been informed of this change and the address to which all invoices should be sent to will be carried on all PO's raised via EASEbuy. As all orders raised will need to follow the three way matching rule (purchase order, receipt and invoice) the Payables Team will only be able to pay invoices if you have receipted your order.

What happens if there are any discrepancies between the invoice and the purchase order?

Should there be any issues with the invoice and your order, i.e. purchase order does not match invoice, incorrect VAT charged etc, a soon to be appointed P2P Customer Service team will contact the requisitoner to inform them of the problem. It will then be up to the requisioner to resolve this matter with the supplier and change the order accordingly to match the invoice.

I work in a core department and I understand I am not going to receive my invoices directly after the P2P go live date. Can I still get sight of the invoices through any other means?

You can access electronic copies of your invoices by using the SEAS General Ledger Enquiry functionality to search for the invoice through the relevant cost centre code and account code. This will enable you to list your invoices and then drill down into each invoice to locate the SEAS voucher number. The SEAS voucher number will then enable you to locate the relevant batch of scanned invoices in eRDM.

Further info about the SEAS GL Enquiry functionality can be obtained from the SEAS Payables Team.

RECEIPTING

Why is it so important that I receipt the goods or services on EASEbuy once I receive them?

A 3-way matching process of PO numbers, receipts and invoices is central to the proper accounting and payment of the transactions. Quite simply, if the purchase is not receipted by you on EASEbuy then the 3-way matching process cannot be concluded and invoice payments will be delayed.

Checks will be carried out by a P2P support team on invoices that are not receipted and purchasers will be reminded to receipt the goods.

I need a specific good or service from a supplier who is not on EASEbuy. How do I address this?

Contact the EASEbuy Helpdesk on 0131 244 8500 and they will help set up the supplier on EASEbuy for you.

Alternatively, consider if the service can be purchased and paid for by using a GPC card, if the value of the goods and services you require are less than £5,000 and you are unlikely to purchase them more than once.

When I am receipting goods and services received on EASEbuy do I include VAT charges?

No. As amounts entered into EASEbuy when raising the initial purchase order are always in Net, the same applies to receipting goods and services upon delivery. Do not include the VAT element charge when receipting, just the Net amount. Including the VAT costs will mean that the original purchase order and receipt do not match, and 3-Way matching cannot be carried out.

I have raised a purchase order on EASEbuy for a specific amount and the supplier has also included a carriage or delivery cost on their final bill - do I include this when receipting the order?

If there has been a carriage or delivery cost included by the supplier, remember to include that as part of the Net costs when receipting the order. You should also do a change order on your original purchase order to include the carriage or delivery costs if they were not included in the original cost.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY SCHEME (CIS)

Does P2P affect the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)?

Yes - if you are raising a CIS related purchase order on EASEbuy you must use the specific CIS order box on EASEbuy. You must also raise separate lines on the purchase order for labour and materials.

CIS VAT issues

For further assistance on CIS purchase ordering contact FCSD Finance Teams. These teams will also help on any VAT-related queries.

SUPPLIERS

How will these purchasing and payment changes affect suppliers?

It will make life easier for suppliers as the 3-way matching process of purchase order numbers, receipts and invoices will lead to quicker turnaround, earlier payment and less chance of either goods or invoices going to the wrong addresses - which can lead to delays in payment.

Are you going to alert suppliers to changes?

Yes - letters are being sent to suppliers in advance.

Will the suppliers I use on SEAS be on the EASEbuy database?

A rationalised list of suppliers has been transferred to the EASEbuy database. SPD have conducted a user consultation exercise to make sure that the commodity you require should be available on EASEbuy.

How do I get a supplier set up on EASEbuy if they are not already there?

Contact the EASEbuy Helpdesk on 48500 and they will process this for you.

Does this mean I cannot use a supplier of choice if it is not on EASEbuy?

If a supplier of a particular service you require is not on the EASEbuy database it will still be possible to add them to it, as indicated above; however if the commodity you require is available from a centrally-contracted supplier on the system then you should use that contracted supplier, unless you have to apply open competition rules.

I want to pay for a specific order by GPC, but the supplier I need does not accept it - what should I do?

If you wish to order goods or services by GPC it is best to check first with the intended supplier that they accept VISA GPC. If they do not, you should then consider another supplier who does. If however, you need the goods or services from this specific supplier, you should approach the Scottish Procurement Directorate's soon to be established Central Purchasing Support Unit (CPSU) for advice.

MISCELLANEOUS

Will I still receive invoices?

All core Department SE invoices will go direct to SEAS Operations in Victoria Quay for processing, except for Change and Corporate Sevices (CCS), who will continue to process their own. If an invoice is sent to you in error by a supplier, you should forward it onto a P2P Programme Support Team, which will be established before the go live date. Full contact details for this team will appear on this site in due course.

All other organisations on the core set of books who are currently processing their own invoices will still do so.

Who do I contact locally if I have any queries?

Your BCLO or GBCLO should be your first reference point if you have any queries about purchasing procedures. You can also contact the Purchase to Pay Programme Team by e-mail at p2pprogrammeteam@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Is there a guide to help me find out which purchasing tool I need and how to use this tool?

An interactive PowerPoint Process Map is available to download from the 'Process Map' section on this site. By answering 'Yes' or 'No' questions, for yourself, the Process Map will guide you through the process of selecting the correct tool to use to make each purchase, before providing you with step-by-step guidance as to how use each tool. Users are recommended to familiarise themselves with this guide as it is invaluable in quickly understanding the processes which best suit the type of purchasing you need to do.

What do I need to do about delivery/collection charges?

Delivery or collection charges for goods and services must be agreed with suppliers in advance and a separate line included for these costs on EASEbuy, if any, in the requisition.