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Policy Details

7 -02.16

Administrative policy regarding use of purchasing card (p-card)

 (A)      Purpose.  As a public institution, the university must ensure that resources are used judiciously and appropriately in support of university business.  This policy establishes guidelines for procuring goods and/or services using a purchasing card (p-card).   The p-card program is designed to streamline the purchasing and accounts payable processes by reducing the paperwork generated for small dollar purchases and facilitating quick payment to vendors.  While the p-card program enhances efficiency and cost effectiveness, this policy establishes corresponding financial controls.

(B)       Definitions.

(1)       P-card. A purchasing card issued by the university’s exclusive credit card provider for authorized business expenditures under the purchase order thresholds.

(2)       Cardholder. An employee in whose name a p-card is issued who is responsible to protect the card and corresponding account access and ensure proper use.

(3)       Reconciler. An employee responsible for monthly reconciliation of transactions on a particular p-card.

(4)       Approver. An authorized employee responsible for approval of transactions on a particular p-card.

(5)       System Administrator(s). Staff member(s) in the accounts payable department who are responsible for oversight of the p-card program and training.

(C)      Scope/Criteria. 

(1)       Scope.

(a)       This policy applies to all Kent state university departments and employees who are assigned access to a p-card or are identified as cardholders, reconcilers, approvers, or system administrators in the p-card program.

(b)       All p-cards shall be governed by this policy and used in a manner that complies with university policies and procedures; federal, state and local laws; and regulations and constraints imposed by agencies and donors.

(2)       Criteria.

(a)       The p-card is the only credit card allowed to be obtained on behalf of the university for departmental purchases.

(D)      Procedure.

(1)       Acquiring a p-card.

(a)       A p-card is issued in the name of the employee identified as a cardholder only with approval of the appropriate approving authority and the executive officer of the employee’s division.  Only a Kent state university employee who is in a continuing assignment is allowed to be assigned as a cardholder.  Student employees, independent contractors, temporary or term employees, etc. are not permitted to obtain a p-card.  The function of the role of cardholder is described in the p-card procedure manual which can be found on the accounts payable department website.

(b)       A complete purchasing card cardholder application including indication of business purpose, requested credit limit, and appropriate approval must be submitted to a system administrator in the accounts payable department.

(c)       For each new card issued, a reconciler and approver must also be identified as per details provided in sections (D)(3) and (D)(4) of this policy.

(d)       Authorized cardholders must attend a training session on proper use and maintenance of the p-card and related documentation before the card will be issued.

(e)       New cards must be picked up from the p-card system administrator in the accounts payable department and signed for by the cardholder in person. Photo identification is required.

(f)        A purchasing card cardholder agreement is required to be signed for each p-card issued indicating the cardholder has read and understands the p-card policy, procedures, appropriate use of the p-card, and  the responsibilities of a cardholder and agrees to comply with the provisions regarding responsible use of the p-card.  The original cardholder agreement will be maintained in the accounts payable department and a copy must be maintained in the cardholder’s department.

(2)       Making purchases.

(a)       A cardholder is authorized to make business purchases.  The business purpose should be noted on the receipt or attached documentation.  In addition, at the cardholder’s discretion, other employees may be designated to make purchases on behalf of the cardholder.  (Some vendors will not accept any signature other than that of the cardholder).  It is the cardholder’s responsibility to inform the individual using the p-card of the appropriate procedures and to maintain a departmental p-card purchase log to track other employees’ purchases.  Only Kent state university employees are allowed to make purchases on the p-card.  Independent contractors are not permitted to use the p-card.

(b)       The p-card is to be used only for business expenditures that are not prohibited by university policy (e.g. alcohol is prohibited).  Personal charges are strictly prohibited regardless of intent to reimburse the university.

(c)       All merchants are classified with a merchant category code (MCC). Each cardholder’s p-card will be assigned to a profile including allowable MCCs.  Transactions will be declined if the merchant has an MCC that is blocked from the cardholder’s MCC profile.  Transactions that have been forced through on a blocked MCC are in violation of this policy. 

(d)       The single transaction limit for p-card transactions may not exceed the purchase order thresholds.  Splitting a transaction to keep it below the assigned single transaction limit is prohibited.

(e)       Itemized original receipts must be obtained and maintained in the department for all purchases made on the p-card.  If an original itemized receipt is not obtained at the time of purchase, the cardholder must contact the merchant to request a copy of the itemized receipt.  If no receipt is available, a substitute purchasing card receipt form must be completed and approved by the applicable p-card approver and maintained in the department.

(f)        Orders for goods and services can be made in person, by phone, fax, mail, or on the secure internet.  P-card information should never be e-mailed.  In any case where the entire 16-digit card number is shown on documents such as faxes, the cardholder should mask the card number upon completion of the transaction.

(g)       P-card transactions must comply with the university’s conflict of interest policy (6-23).

(h)       Cell phone expenditures shall not be paid using the p-card.  See administrative policy 7-02.15 for available options for provision of cellular devices.

(i)        Use of p-card for purchase of gift cards is prohibited.

(j)        P-card does not allow for cash advances.

(k)       Ohio sales tax should not be charged on the p-card.  Merchants should be informed of our tax-exempt status at the time of the transaction.  A tax exemption certificate may be required.  This form can be obtained from the procurement website.  If Ohio sales tax is charged it is the cardholder’s responsibility to contact the merchant to obtain a sales tax credit or provide an explanation of why an exemption was not available. 

(3)       Reconciliation of transactions.

(a)       For each p-card issued, a reconciler must be identified.  Only a Kent state university employee who is in a continuing assignment is allowed to be assigned as a reconciler.  Student employees, independent contractors, temporary or term employees, etc. are not permitted to reconcile the p-card.  The cardholder and reconciler may be the same individual.  The function of the role of reconciler is described in the p-card procedure manual.

(b)       An authorized reconciler must attend a training session on proper reconciliation of p-card transactions before the card will be issued.

(c)       A purchasing card reconciler agreement is required for each individual identified as a reconciler indicating the reconciler has read and understands the p-card policy, procedures, appropriate use of the p-card, and the responsibilities of a reconciler.  The original reconciler agreement will be maintained in the accounts payable department and a copy must be maintained in the cardholder’s department.

(4)       Approval of transactions.

(a)       For each p-card issued, an approver must be identified.  The approver must be determined according to the normal departmental approval hierarchy as per policy 7-02.10.  Only a Kent state university employee who is in a continuing assignment is allowed to be assigned as an approver.  Student employees, independent contractors, temporary or term employees, etc. are not permitted to approve the p-card.  The cardholder and approver may not be the same individual.  The function of the role of approver is described in the p-card procedure manual. 

(b)       Cardholder’s transactions require approval by the fifteenth (15th) of each month following statement issuance. 

(c)       Approval indicates that the approver attests to having thoroughly reviewed original receipts for each transaction and verified that all transactions are business appropriate and allowable expenditures which are properly coded and comply with all applicable policies.

(d)       Authorized approvers must attend a training session on the responsibilities pertaining to approval of p-card transactions before the card will be issued.

(e)       A purchasing card approver agreement is required for each approver indicating the approver has read and understands the p-card policy, procedures, appropriate use of the p-card, and the responsibilities of an approver.  The original approver agreement will be maintained in the accounts payable department and a copy must be maintained in the cardholder’s department.

(5)       Maintenance of card and documentation.

(a)       Each cardholder must maintain their card, receipts, and statements in a secure location (locked desk, locked file cabinet, etc.) within the individual’s department.  Monthly p-card statements should be maintained with the receipts and departmental purchase log once the purchases have been reconciled.   Receipts for p-card transactions must be maintained in the department making the expenditure pursuant to university policy 5-15 and the related records retention schedules that can be accessed on general counsel’s website.

(b)       Under no circumstances should p-card information be entered and stored on any computer database unless it is part of a secure system that has been approved by the office of security and access management.

(c)       Department heads are responsible for completing a purchasing card maintenance form to notify a system administrator immediately regarding any transfer or termination of employees who are cardholders, reconcilers, or approvers or if a cardholder, reconciler, or approver will be on a leave in excess of one month.

(6)       Disputing transactions.

(a)       Erroneous transactions should be reported promptly by the cardholder through the disputes process as outlined in the procedures manual.

(7)       Fraudulent transactions.

(a)       Fraudulent transactions must be reported to a system administrator immediately.  If outside of normal business hours, the cardholder must immediately notify card services at the number identified on the back of the card or on the monthly statement and inform a system administrator of the card’s status.

(8)       Lost or stolen cards.

(a)       If a p-card is lost, misplaced, or stolen the cardholder must notify a system administrator immediately.  If outside of normal business hours, the cardholder must notify card services at the number on the monthly statement immediately and inform a system administrator of the card’s status.

(9)       Card surrender or termination.

(a)       The p-card is and remains the property of Kent state university.

(b)       The cardholder will surrender the card upon termination of employment or transfer to a new department or at the time that the employee begins a leave that will be in excess of one month.

(c)       As per section (D)(5)(c) of this rule, department heads are responsible for completing a purchasing card maintenance form notifying a system administrator immediately regarding any transfer or termination of employees who are cardholders, reconcilers, or approvers or if a cardholder, reconciler, or approver will be on a leave with a duration of longer than one month.

(10)     Administration of the p-card program.

(a)       The procurement department is responsible for reviewing departmental buying patterns to assure appropriate use of the p-card.

(b)       The procurement department collects and analyzes p-card usage to identify opportunities or requirements for negotiation or soliciting bids with high volume merchants.

(c)       The accounts payable department performs program reconciliation and compliance audits.

(d)       Specific staff member(s) from the accounts payable department will be identified as system administrator(s).  A purchasing card system administrator agreement is required for each individual identified as a system administrator to indicate that this person has read and understands this policy and the requirements of the role of system administrator.  The original of the system administrator agreement will be maintained in the accounts payable department.

(e)       System administrators have authority to suspend or cancel p-card privileges per details provided in section (E)(2)(a) or at time of cardholder termination, transfer, or start of a leave with a duration greater than one month.

(f)        All transactions are subject to appropriate review by the Kent state university office of internal audit, the university’s external auditors, and other reviewing agencies in order to test for compliance with university policies and procedures; federal, state and local laws; and regulations and constraints imposed by agencies and donors.

(E)       Appeal/Violation.

(1)       Appeal.

(a)       Inquiries regarding specific issues not covered in this policy should be directed to the accounts payable department for clarification and resolution.  In cases where additional interpretation is required, the associate vice president for administration and business services will be consulted and the issue will be raised to the vice president for finance and administration if necessary.

(b)       Exceptions to this policy require written approval of the vice president for finance and administration.  Written documentation of exception approval must be provided to the accounts payable department at the time that the exception is granted.

(2)       Violations.

(a)       Violations of this policy by the cardholder, reconciler, or approver which are identified during audit or by any other means may result in a requirement for the individual to retake the appropriate training or suspension or cancellation of the p-card as detailed in the p-card procedures manual.   

(b)       Additionally, violations of this policy may result in the individual being required to reimburse the university for inappropriate charges and may result in disciplinary action as established in the conduct and discipline section of the employee resource manual pursuant to employee code of conduct guidelines found in university policy 6-01.


 

Effective: July 1, 2011  

Prior Effective Dates:  

Related Forms:

 

Related Policies:

5-12.3            Administrative policy regarding purchasing, sales and disposal of property and inventory control and policy

5-15                University policy regarding records retention

6-01                University policy regarding employment

6-23                University policy regarding conflict of interest of university employees

7-02.8            Administrative policy regarding travel regulations (in-state and out-of-state)

7-02.10          Administrative policy and procedures regarding general business expenditures and university equipment

7-02.15          Administrative policy regarding provision of cellular devices to university employees

 

Related Forms:

Departmental p-card purchase log

Purchasing card approver agreement

Purchasing card cardholder agreement

Purchasing card cardholder application

Purchasing card maintenance form

Purchasing card reconciler agreement

Purchasing card system administrator agreement

Substitute purchasing card receipt

Tax exemption certificate