Purchasing Terms to Note

Appendix D - Purchasing Terms to Note 

Competitive Solicitation Process

A formal process providing an equal and open opportunity to qualified parties and culminating in a selection based on submitted documentation and established criteria. At the MFA, the Competitive Solicitation Process may be achieved through the issuance of an invitation to bid or a request for proposals.

Formal Solicitation

A formal invitation to receive quotes, in the form of a request for proposal or an invitation to bid.

Invitation to Bid

A formal bid solicitation document that is used when (1) the estimated value of the requirement exceeds the threshold for formal bidding; (2) two or more sources are considered able of supplying the requirement; (3) the requirement is adequately defined in all respects to permit the evaluation of bid against clearly stated criteria; and (4) bids can be submitted on a common pricing basis. An Invitation to Bid is intended to accept the lowest-priced responsive bid without negotiations.

Justification and Approval (J&A) - Federal Contracts

A form required when purchases are part of federal contracts and in an amount greater than $10,000; The form requires a rationale for omitting the solicitation process.  It is submitted to the Procure-to-Pay Department through the online requisition for approval.


A lease is a contract by which an owner of real estate, facilities, or equipment conveys to another, the exclusive use of such asset for a specified amount of time in return for a specific amount of rent.  The MFA commonly uses leases for the rental of office space and the rental of copying machines.


A license is a contract by which an owner gives permission to another to use something or to allow an activity that would otherwise be forbidden.  A common license used by the MFA is a Software License:  A software license is a type of license made by the owner of a computer program (“licensor”) to another (“licensee”) for the use of that computer program.  A software license grants the licensee the ability to use one or more copies of the software in ways that without such permission would be considered infringement.  Another common license is a License for the Use of Space:  A license for the use of space conveys a different set of rights than what is conveyed by a lease. 

Purchase Order (PO)

A document issued by the MFA (the buyer) to a contractor, authorizing a purchase.  It includes the terms and conditions that will govern the purchase and describes the purchase quantity and price. After a Requisition is approved, P2P issues a PO to the contractor. 


An offer by a contractor for the sale of a good or service. An informal quote can be verbal (received by phone and documented in the requisition) or written.  A formal quote must be received in writing from the contractor.  Quotes are requested so that the MFA can get the best price and quality.

Request for Proposal

A request for proposal (sometimes known as a “RFP”) is used to solicit proposals from potential contractors for goods and services. Unlike the invitation to bid, price is usually not a primary evaluation factor when a RFP is used. A RFP provides for the negotiation of all terms, including price, prior to contract award.  It may include a provision for the negotiation of best and final offers.  Use of RFPs can be a single-step or multi-step process.


A written request for an authorized purchase. The MFA requires submission of a Requisition for the purchase of most goods and services.  Requisitions are created using Enterprise Accounting Services (EAS).   P2P reviews the choice of contractor to ensure it is not in conflict with an existing contract with a preferred contractor.

Requirements Document

Documentation relating to a procurement – such as a specification, scope of work, or statement of work – that describes the good or service to be procured.  The requirements document is used to solicit responses (bids or proposals) from contractors.

Scope of Work

This is a written description of the contractual requirements for the materials and services contained within a Request for Proposal.


A precise description of the physical or functional characteristics of a product, good or construction item.  A description of goods as opposed to a description of services.  A description of what the purchaser seeks to buy and what a bidder must be responsive to in order to be considered for an award of a contract. 

Statement of Work

A statement of work (SOW) is a formal document that details the work, deliverables, locations, timelines, pricing, and other requirements of a contractor in performing specific work. The SOW is typically used after the RFP process, builds on the scope of work, and is used to manage the agreement once it is time to execute. The SOW can also be used as a "task order" when placing an order against an established contract.

Supplier Selection Memo (SSM)

The document that accompanies a requisition for goods or services that tells the story of how the procurement occurred.  The SSM records what vendors were contacted for competition, what responses were received, as well as how the recommendation for award was determined.  A SSM is also used to justify sole-source awards to suppliers when competition is not sought.


A disqualification from federal government contracting and subcontracting for a temporary period of time because a company or individual is suspected of engaging in criminal, fraudulent, or seriously improper conduct. Suspension is to be used on an interim basis pending debarment proceeding.

Task Order

An order for services placed against an established contract (sometimes known as a Master Services Agreement).