Learn the purchasing process for state and local governments.

In a governmental environment, purchasing is a highly respected profession with high potential for advancement. Government purchasing professionals are responsible for obtaining materials, equipment, and services at the best overall value for their employer. To do so effectively, they must perform many crucial steps. These can include developing procurement strategies, writing specifications, reviewing supplier proposals, selecting suppliers, negotiating contracts, placing orders, and evaluating vendor performance. 


Format: Online

Hours: 13.8

Credits: 1.35 CEUs / 11.5 CPEs

When: Start anytime

Cost: $299 - $339

Purchasing is an online, self-study training NASBA-approved course developed by the University of Georgia. This 13.8-hour course will familiarize you with the purchasing process from determining your needs to receiving goods or services. You will learn about different methods of purchasing, proper supporting documentation, internal controls, and purchasing ethics. As you progress through each of the lessons, you will be challenged with self-test questions and interactive exercises. Online consultations with a financial professional can be scheduled on request.

Lesson 1 — Introduction to Public Purchasing

  • Identify the reasons for a government to have a sound purchasing system
  • Recall the functions and goals of purchasing
  • Define the characteristics of a quality purchasing staff

Lesson 2 — Purchasing Organization

  • Identify the advantages of centralized versus decentralized purchasing systems
  • Recall the importance of authority and responsibility in the purchasing function
  • Identify the laws, rules, and regulations when purchasing with state and federal funds
  • Recall the components of local ordinances and regulations

Lesson 3 — The Purchasing Process: Request for Supplies, Equipment, and Services

  • Recall the steps of the purchasing process
  • Identify the importance of writing specifications
  • Define the process of issuing the requisition and purchase order
  • Recall important aspects of delivery and receipt of goods
  • Identify the importance of identifying capital assets as part of the purchasing process

Lesson 4 — The Purchasing Process: Competitive Sealed Bids and Proposals

  • Identify the competitive sealed bidding process
  • List options for selecting sources for supplies
  • Recall the characteristics of bid documents
  • Define the process for awarding bid
  • Recall the differences between a competitive sealed bid and competitive sealed proposal, and the combination of the two (multi-step or two-stepbidding).

Lesson 5 — The Purchasing Process: Additional Purchasing Methods

  • Recall when informal bidding methods are permitted
  • Define how to perform a telephone quote
  • Identify circumstances in which an emergency purchase should be allowed
  • Recall situations in which sole source purchases should be allowed
  • Identify when term contracts may be advantageous
  • Recall purchasing methods employed by user departments

Lesson 6 — The Purchasing Process: Receiving, Inspection, Payment and Disposal

  • Recall the receiving process including the importance of inspection
  • Identify the invoice payment process
  • Recall the process for disposal of a government’s capital assets

Lesson 7 — Accounts Payable and the Purchasing Process

  • Recall how requisitions are used in the purchasing process
  • Define the entries to the accounting ledger for purchase orders
  • Recall how direct pays differ from the purchase order process
  • Identify the entries to the ledger required for petty cash

Lesson 8 — Purchasing Documentation and Records

  • Recall required documentation for the purchasing process
  • Identify levels of authority in the purchasing process
  • Recall purchasing documents required for retention
  • Identify time requirements for records retention

Lesson 9 — Other Purchasing Issues

  • Identify benefits of cooperative purchasing
  • Recall characteristics of various preference programs
  • Define requirements for a successful warehouse program

Lesson 10 — Purchasing Ethics

  • Recall the purchasing ethics related to vendor relationships
  • Identify employee ethics relating to purchasing goods under contract prices
  • Recall guidelines for dealing with the media
  • Identify examples of purchasing crime

Lesson 11 — Internal Controls

  • Identify the two major internal control models for governmental entities
  • Define internal controls and internal control system
  • Recall the importance of internal controls as it relates to the purchasing process

Who Should Attend?

  • Local government finance professionals and paraprofessionals who want to enhance their career skills and professional development opportunities.  (Georgia residents can use course credits for the Georgia Local Finance Officer Certification Program.)  
  • Accounting professionals who want to earn continuing professional education required for all CPAs.
  • Governmental professionals with previous private sector experience who want to gain governmental purchasing knowledge.
  • Many state licensing boards require that CPAs maintain and improve their skills through continuing professional education (CPE) courses. This course is approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Course Information

Course Number: 


Course Date Info: 

Enroll at any time

  • Complete the courses required online quizzes and exercises within 60 days of receiving the course URL, username, and password information.
  • To complete this course, you will read the lessons and complete each lesson's exercises and self-tests. After the final lesson, you must successfully complete the final online assessment with a score of 70% or better.
  • View Frequently Asked Questions for more details about the course.

Field of Study: Finance
Delivery Method: QAS Self Study
Advance Preparation: None
Program Level: Basic
Prerequisites: None

Course Fee(s): 

$299 (US Funds) — Residents of Georgia
$339 (US Funds) — Non-residents of Georgia
$50 (US Funds) — One-Month Extension (Only one extension is granted per participant.)

Prepayment is required to be registered. Prices listed are per person. Prices are subject to change.

Cancellation/Refund Policy:
The Georgia Center will gladly issue full refunds for cancellations received in writing before the release of course access information. You may cancel your enrollment at any time during the course and receive a refund less a $50 administrative fee, provided that you have not accessed the online course material at all. Written requests should be sent to student@georgiacenter.uga.edu