Private-Eye Purchasing Lookup Utility

Purchasing goes green. In an effort to reduce our environmental impact and increase efficiencies, Purchasing has introduced the Private Eye system in lieu of printing multiple copies of purchase orders. In doing so, we have eliminated over 1 million paper copies per year in favor of a more robust paperless system. Individuals are able to query and view purchase orders at will using the new web-based system. In addition, vendors will receive their orders electronically. As a result, our turn-over time has been reduced as the traditional mailing/sorting process has become obsolete.

Beginning late 2012, a new web-based version of Private Eye will be made available. The system will display virtual images of purchase orders, requisitions, change orders, quotes, correspondence, etc. We have been hard at work converting data from the past 5 years into this new format. The system is easy to navigate and allows for immediate retrieval by a variety of search parameters. Users can opt to keep an electronic copy in Adobe format, or simply view the information on screen at any time. In fact, our pilot groups were able to start viewing virtual copies in as little as 30 seconds! We’d also like to point out that there were no new monetary costs associated with the implementation of this system.

The new web-based version of Private Eye adds the following functionality:

  • Support for Windows 7 (32bit and 64 bit) users without the need for optional utilities
  • Support for Mac users
  • Ability to query up to 5 years of purchasing data from one system
  • Ability to export your search results to Excel
  • Remote access


Private Eye is protected by FAU’s central authentication network services. You may access the site from your desktop at work (or through VPN while away from FAU) by clicking the following link:

Use your FAUnet ID and password to login. This is typically the same login that you would use to access your FAU desktop computer, check email, etc.

Basic Search:

Enter any relevant search criteria in the main search field. (Requisition number, PO number, Banner Index, Fund, Org, Initiator, etc.) and click the Search button. Private Eye will display all matching results for the past 5 years. You may then limit the search to a specific fiscal year by clicking the relevant year button after the search is complete. Note that the year buttons may be toggled on and off. Click the button once to make the year filter active and a second time to show all results. The button will appear darkened when it is active.

To further enhance the effectiveness of your searches, you may enter multiple search criteria separated by spaces. This is helpful if you want to add an additional filter to your searches. Example: If you wanted to see everything charged to Index F12500 and issued to Office Depot, simply enter F12500 Office Depot in the main search field and click the Search button.

Retrieving Purchase Orders:

Once your search results are displayed, it is easy to view a copy of the associated purchase order(s) by clicking the blue “View PO” link on the right of the page. When you do this, the program will download a copy of the PO in Adobe PDF format. Most versions of Windows will display the file name in the lower, left lower corner of your screen. Clicking on the file name will allow you to view the order, save it, email it, etc.

Exporting Your Searches to Excel:

A recent enhancement to Private Eye will allow you monitor your purchase order activity by exporting data to an Excel file. Example: If you want to create a spreadsheet with all purchase order activity charged to index F12500 for Fiscal Year 12:

  1. Enter F12500 in the main search field and click search.
  2. Click the 2012 year tab to limit your results to that year
  3. Click the Export button on the lower left
  4. Select the green Excel logo from the Export All Data tab
  5. Excel will open on your desktop with the requested data (Excel must exist on your computer)

Advanced Searches:

Advanced users can opt to work from the Advanced Search menu. To enter the advanced mode, click the Advanced Search Button on the upper right. (You can toggle between the Advanced Search and Simple Search modes by clicking the buttons alternatively).

The Advanced Search mode gives you 13 parameters to help filter your results even further. Example: If you want to see everything initiated by a particular last name, enter the name (Smith) in the main search window and click on the Initiator button. The result will present matches where only the Initiator’s name is Smith. Unlike the Simple Search mode, if there is a vendor with the same name, these results will not be presented.  

Note that similar to the year buttons, the advanced search parameters can be toggled on and off. The button is active when it is pushed and will appear dark. Clicking the button a second time will remove the filter and it will revert back to light.