EDUCATION 101: Purchasing Records



Purchasing records are concerned with the storage of information with manual systems. This information will be entered on card indexes or filed in appropriate systems. Computerization using master files or databases not only enables vast amounts of information to be stored but also obviates duplication and ensures the efficient retrieval of data. Apart from files of requisitions, purchase orders and other original documents, purchase records may include;

  • Supplier index giving details of addresses, telephone, staff and items supplied.
  • Supplier rating giving details of supplier performance relating to price, quality, delivery and so on
  • Supplier visits giving details of visits paid to suppliers to inspect their facilities
  • Record of items purchased giving details of standard descriptions of bought-out and particulars of suppliers and the orders placed
  • Price trends of sensitive commodities _ graphs of the trend of prices
  • Records of materials issued to subcontractors
  • Jigs, tools and patterns owned by purchaser whether in the possession of suppliers or otherwise.
  • Contact records such as contracts from the supply of materials or components over a specified period of time.
  • Order registers providing records of orders placed each day to:
  • Facilitate reference to orders placed and filed alphabetically, numerically or by project.
  • Provide information regarding the number of orders placed during a given period.

The question is sometimes raised regarding the period which records providing evidence relating to contractors such as order terms, acknowledgements and related correspondence should be based on such consideration as the size of the possible payments and the possibility, however emote of legal action. For small amounts, records need to be kept for no longer than the expiry of the contractor. For substantial contracts is prudent to retain evidence for a minimum of six years.


Purchasing manual is a medium for communication information regarding purchasing policies, procedures, instructions and regulations


  • Manuals help precision and clarity
  • They provide an opportunity for consultation between purchasing and other departments
  • Procedures are prescribed in respect of activities undertaken or controlled by purchasing, thus promoting consistently and reducing need for detailed supervision of routine tasks
  • A manual is useful aid in guiding and training staff
  • A manual can help annual auditing
  • A manual coordinates policies and procedures and helps to ensure uniformity and continuity of purchasing principles and practices


  • Manuals are costly to prepare
  • Manuals tend to foster red tapes and bureaucracy and to stifle initiative
  • Manuals must be continually be updated to show changes in procedures and policy.



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