Spend Categories and cyBUY Orders – What exactly are they used for? 

Spend categories are used for cyBUY orders as well as P-Card and T&H Card purchases and non-catalog requisitions to enable us to describe or identify what is being purchased.   

Spend categories should not be used to describe how the purchase will be used or where the item will be used.  The how and where information should be included in your University Business Purpose as it helps to document why you are purchasing the item. 



A toner cartridge would always be an office supply (SC10486) regardless of where it is used (a lab, a classroom, etc.) or what it is used for (printing marketing materials, items for a course, data from an experiment).  


This distinction is necessary because the University, departments, and units, as well as Procurement Services, use spend categories to track spending and compile data on what is being purchased, regardless of how and where those purchases are being used.

When ordering items through the cyBUY Marketplace, Workday uses an automated process to choose the spend categories for the items being purchased.  However, if you find that an auto-populated spend category incorrectly describes what the item is, email finance_delivery@iastate.edu and the Procurement and Expense Specialist (PES) will work with Procurement Services to investigate and correct the issue.

We have also created a Spend Categories by Commodity Area page on our website as a reference for those who are looking for the most appropriate spend category to describe what they are purchasing.  Fair warning: it is a long page with a lot of information on it.  We recommend using the index at the top, which will link you directly to the listed section, and/or using ctrl + F  and searching the page for keywords to help you to more quickly navigate the page. 


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