What Does a Purchasing Specialist Do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A purchasing specialist is an individual assigned to handle all of the purchasing processes and decisions for a business while adhering to an assigned budget. Individuals in this position must also keep track of all records and data as they pertain to company purchases and bids submitted to vendors. They are also charged with reporting this information to appropriate staff members on a regular basis. The duties of this position entail purchasing business-related items and equipment, as well as negotiating with various vendors to ensure that a fair price for goods and services is being received. Most jobs in this field also authorize that person to make bids for goods and services on behalf of a company.

Precise purchasing specialist duties will vary as each company has its own internal operations. Most purchasing specialist requirements, however, involve very strict record keeping. Records may be kept in paper files, maintained in a computer database or both. Specialists must, therefore, sometimes work with specific software in order to assure that records are accurate and up to date. Among the most basic types of records a specialist is required to keep are invoices, purchase orders and bidding contracts.


While making purchases and keeping accurate records, a specialist must also prepare reports for key personnel within an organization. Regular communication with vendors, as well as other departments and company employees, are also included in a typical job description for this position. Individuals employed in such positions must also be careful not to exceed set budget limits and must assure that all purchasing procedures are adhered to.

In many companies, a purchasing specialist works within a finance department or works very closely with that department’s staff. As such, it is important that both work together to assure that invoices and purchasing requests are processed in a timely manner. A specialist also works closely with finance staff to make sure that budgets allow for the purchase of required items and services.

Maintaining regular contact with vendors is also an important aspect of a specialist’s job description. When payment issues arise, a specialist must work with a vendor to resolve such issues. As well, a specialist must keep track of all orders, deliveries and inventory. Depending on the size of the company a specialist is employed by, such a responsibility often involves building a relationship with multiple vendors.

Some purchasing specialist jobs also assign specialists to track the maintenance of office equipment. Maintaining records of warranties and service agreements is sometimes expected of a person in this position. When office supplies and equipment needs to be replaced a purchasing specialist is usually the person to evaluate and place those orders.


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Post 1

Another job of these folks seems to be cracking down on those dastardly fiends who swipe office supplies. Once knew an office manager who kept everything locked in a cage and employees had to sign in with him before they could get a pen, a box of paperclips, etc.

Extreme? Yes, but it was effective.

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