The Definitions for Professional Ethics in Procurement

Procurement clerks follow a code of ethics when making company purchases.
Procurement clerks follow a code of ethics when making company purchases. (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Procurement clerks follow a code of ethics to practice professionalism when acquiring products for their organizations. The code of ethics outlines proper procedures when dealing with vendors, making payments from the organization's accounts and creating accurate documentation regarding purchases. By following this code of ethics, organizations can ensure that the clerks will not commit unethical behavior involving embezzlement or fraud.


Professional ethics involve the taking of gifts and gratuities from vendors. Procurement clerks should refrain from taking these gifts, since it could put them in the unethical position of showing favoritism toward that particular vendor. A procurement clerk could feel obligated in buying all future products from this vendor without taking into account the quality or price of the obtained products. This puts the organization at a disadvantage of paying higher prices for poorer quality products.

Confidential Information

Procurement clerks have access to sensitive information regarding the organization's business practices and accounts. The procurement clerks also have bidding information from the suppliers for products and services. This information should be kept confidential and not used in unethical ways. Unprofessional behavior could result from the procurement officer in selling this information to the competition.

Conflict of Interest

Procurement clerks should avoid conflicts of interest in their profession. Ethical issues can arise if the clerk engages in a personal business that uses the same vendors and suppliers to the organization that the procurement clerk works for. This creates a situation where the procurement clerk might obtain the best prices and products for himself rather than for the organization. The clerk also may put himself into the situation of borrowing or loaning money to the vendor, which could create a tense environment between the vendor and procurement clerk if the money is never paid.

Business Professionalism

To maintain professional ethics in the buying of products, the procurement clerk must always keep the organization's polices and business goals in the forefront with every purchase made. The procurement clerk must show consideration and professionalism with every vendor he deals with, and communicate his intentions in a clear and confident manner. The procurement officer should obtain the products required of the business without seeking personal profit or gain considered unethical or illegal.

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