Purchasing Cards

No. 5-25i     Rev. 03-06-07       Date 2-23-83       



I. PURPOSE

To outline the policies for the Purchasing Card program, which allows individuals to have a credit card issued to them for the purpose of making purchases in behalf of Weber State University. The University is responsible for paying the issuing financial institution for purchases made using purchasing cards.

II.  REFERENCES

III. DEFINITIONS

A. Cardholder - A person to whom a University Purchasing Card has been issued.

B. Default Account - The accounting code assigned to a cardholder. All charges made with a purchasing card will be posted into that card's default account by the issuing financial institution unless the purchase is reallocated.

C. Issuing Financial Institution - The financial institution with whom the University has currently contracted for the purchasing cards.

D. Purchasing Card - A credit card issued to an individual employee of Weber State University for the purpose of making authorized purchases on its behalf. The University is responsible to make payments for all charges made using properly issued purchasing cards.

E. Purchasing Card User’s Guide ("Guide") - The document that contains instructions and guidelines for the use of the purchasing card.

F. Reconciler - The person assigned to review a cardholder's monthly statement and paper work for completeness. He/She may review more than one cardholder’s account at the discretion of the Responsible Person. A reconciler may or may not be a cardholder. A cardholder can not be His/Her own reconciler.

G. Responsible Person ("RP") - The person to whom the cardholder reports related to transactions made with the purchasing card. 

IV. POLICY

A. Background

A major purpose of the purchasing card program is to reduce the amount of paperwork incurred when making certain types of purchases for the University. This reduces costs in many ways including reduction of the number of purchase orders and checks that must be printed and issued, and reducing the number of invoices that must be matched and paid.

B. Description of Responsibilities

1. The Director of Purchasing, or his/her designee, is responsible for contracting with an issuing financial institution to support this program.

2. The Purchasing Card Program Coordinator, and/or their assistant(s) are responsible for:

a. Updating the University's information with the issuing financial institution when necessary (such as updating the list of signers that are authorized to approve limit increases, new applications, etc.).

b. Training cardholders and reconcilers.

c. Obtaining and verifying appropriate authorization signatures and completed application forms for each purchasing card that is requested.

d. Continually updating the Guide, Program Policies and Procedures, and obtaining appropriate approvals for all changes from all entities affected.

e. Assisting cardholders, reconcilers and others as necessary with problem resolution.

f. Serving as the primary liaison with the issuing financial institution, Administrative Computing, suppliers, using departments and any other parties that are involved in the program.

g. Responsible for designing all forms and other documents that are used, and for obtaining appropriate approvals for these as necessary, such as from Internal Audit and/or the Director of Purchasing.

h. Responsible for notifying the director of Purchasing, Internal Audit, and appropriate supervisor of the cardholder of violations or fraudulent card use.

i. Maintaining the following documents:

  • Properly signed application forms
  • Memos listing approved exceptions to any limitations (approved by the Director of Purchasing)
  • Copies of forms submitted to the issuing financial institution

j. Preparing and sending management reports to the Director of Purchasing, Internal Audit and others as needed.

k. Providing assistance to companies that may not currently accept purchasing cards to get signed up with their respective financial institutions.

l. Assisting suppliers and using departments with problem resolution on specific transactions.

3. The Accounting Services Department is responsible for:

a. Managing the electronic flow of transaction information from the issuing financial institution to the University's accounting system, including feeding the detailed transactions to the on-line review/reallocation system on a daily basis whenever possible.

b. Ensuring that the monthly electronic payment to the issuing financial institution balances with the daily transaction records.

4. The Responsible Person ("RP", refer to definition) for the default account that is assigned to a purchasing card is responsible for:

a. Selecting appropriate individuals within their department to receive purchasing cards (i.e. those with the responsibility of making the purchases and those who are backups for that function). The Department Head must also approve each person selected to be a cardholder (a space for his/her signature is included on the application form).

b. Establishing processes within their department or area to support the purchasing card system.

c. Notifying the Program Coordinator or his/her assistant(s) promptly of any known or suspected inappropriate or fraudulent use of a purchasing card.

d. Taking appropriate disciplinary measures with cardholders under their supervision who inappropriately or fraudulently use their purchasing cards (refer to section IV - E).

e. Reviewing, approving and signing the monthly statement for each cardholder under him/her in a timely manner.  The signing of the monthly statement is a certification that the purchases are appropriate and in compliance with university policy.

f. Never requesting or directing a cardholder or reconciler to make a purchase or reallocation which violates any portion of the policy and procedures, the Guide, or any other relevant rules, regulations or guidelines.

5. The Reconciler is responsible for:

a. Maintaining the following documentation for four (4) years in their office and/or in archives in a manner that allows for efficient retrieval for auditing purposes:

  • Logs, receipts and telephone order records.
  • Monthly cardholder statements that have been signed by the cardholder and the default account’s RP.

b. Reviewing transactions on a regular basis and reallocating charges to appropriate and allowable accounting codes as necessary.

c. Notifying the Program Coordinator or his/her assistant(s) promptly of any known or suspected inappropriate or fraudulent use of a purchasing card.

d. Acting as a liaison between the Program Coordinator and his/her assistant(s) as needed by forwarding information to each cardholder upon request.

e. Never requesting or directing a cardholder to make a purchase which violates any portion of the policy and procedures, the Guide, or any other relevant rules, regulations or guidelines.

f. Being up-to-date with the current version of the Guide.

6. The Cardholder is responsible for:

a. Using the purchasing card in accordance with all pertinent policies, procedures, guidelines, etc. and insuring that purchases are in the best interest of Weber State University.

b. Promptly submitting monthly statements along with supporting documentation, such as receipts, telephone order records, transaction logs, and any reallocation information to the reconciler.

c. Being up-to-date with the current version of the Guide, and promptly requesting a new copy if theirs is lost.

d. Insuring that sales tax is not charged at the time of purchase, or requesting a credit promptly from the supplier, if sales tax is included in error.

e. Willingly surrendering the card upon termination of employment, or upon change in employment that no longer includes the purchasing function, or upon request from the Program Coordinator, Internal Audit, or from their supervisor.

f. Notifying the Program Coordinator promptly of any known or suspected inappropriate or fraudulent use or loss of a purchasing card.

g. Promptly reporting to the Program Coordinator (confidentially, if necessary) any request or direction by his/her supervisor(s) to use the card in an unallowed or fraudulent manner.

C.  Responsible Person/Cardholder Relationships

1.  There shall not be a reciprocal approval-of-statement relationships between a cardholder and a responsible person.  The responsible person must always be higher in the organizational unit than the cardholder.

2.  All cardholder/responsible person relationships are subject to review and approval of Division Heads or Deans and the Purchasing Department.

3.  If due to unique circumstances, a responsible person that meets the above criteria cannot be identified, the cardholder's purchasing activity will be subject to audit at least annually.

D. Management Reports

The Program Coordinator and/or assistant(s) are responsible for generating and distributing monthly, quarterly and annual management reports to the director of Purchasing, and others as needed, in a timely manner to facilitate the continuous review of the program. The reports which can be generated are maintained by the Program Coordinator and may, from time to time, be updated as software capabilities allow and as circumstances require.

E. Purchasing Card User's Guide

1. The Guide is written and maintained on the Purchasing Department website by the Program Coordinator. The current Guide and any appendixes are incorporated into this policy by this reference. Notification of all changes to the Guide will be forwarded in a timely manner to each cardholder, reconciler and other pertinent individuals and departments, such as Internal Audit.

2. The purpose of the policies and procedures listed in this section are to outline items that are not referenced in the Guide. The Guide includes:

a. Name of the currently contracted issuing financial institution.

b. Phone numbers for customer service for the issuing financial institution and for the University.

c. Instructions for keeping the purchasing card secure while in the cardholder's possession.

d. Information and form regarding the University's sales tax exemption status.

e. Detailed list of limitations on all cards and on each individual card.

f. General purchasing guidelines.

g. Forms and instructions regarding the handling of disputed transactions.

h. Instructions regarding the relevant accounting and reallocation procedures.

F. Inappropriate or Fraudulent Use of Purchasing Cards

In the event that a purchasing card is used inappropriately or fraudulently, the procedures described below must be followed:

1. The Program Coordinator will be notified promptly, who will in turn notify in writing the director of Purchasing, Internal Audit and the cardholder's appropriate supervisor.

2.  If it appears that the misuse was intentional or fraudulent, an audit and/or investigation will be conducted to determine the full extent of misuse or fraud.  During the audit or investigation the cardholder's card will be temporarily deactivated.  (See Appendix I for audit and/or investigation process.)

3. The cardholder will be disciplined in one or more of the following ways:

  • A letter of reprimand in the employee’s personnel file.
  • Requiring reimbursement from a cardholder.
  • Temporary or permanent loss of the purchasing card.
  • Termination of employment.

G. Canceling a Purchasing Card

1. Reasons for canceling a Purchasing Card

a. Voluntary termination

b. Involuntary termination

c. Transferring to position or department which no longer requires use of purchasing card

d. Disciplinary action

2. Process for canceling

a. Voluntary termination: The Cardholder must surrender their purchasing card to the Program Coordinator or/assistant at time of termination.

b. Involuntary termination or transferring to a department which no longer requires use of card: The Cardholder's Supervisor must 1) Take possession of the cardholder’s purchasing card and 2) Return the card to the Program Coordinator with written notice that the card should be canceled.

c. Disciplinary Action

(1)  Permanent - same as b. above.

(2)  Temporary - Program Coordinator or assistant will deactivate the card for the specified probationary period and only reactivate with written request of supervisor.

d. The Program Coordinator must 1)Wait an appropriate time for all purchases that were made with the card to be processed by merchants (approximately 4 days) and 2) Submit a form to the issuing financial institution to cancel.

H. Employee Transfers

1. If a cardholder is transferred to a new position within the department or another department and will still need to make purchases using a purchasing card, the same card should be used. The Cardholder's Supervisor or his/her designee, must promptly notify the Program Coordinator if there are changes to be made (such as the cardholder's address, default account, etc.).

2. If a cardholder is transferring to a new position within the department, but will not have the same supervisor, and/or will no longer be purchasing items for the department the card must be retrieved and canceled as described in section IV - F2.

I.  Certification Training

1.  All cardholders and reconcilers shall take web-based training periodically and be certified by Purchasing.  Cardholders who fail to re-certify will have their cards deactivated.  If a reconciler fails to re-certify, they and the cardholders for whom they reconcile will have their cards deactivated.

2.  All responsible persons shall take web-based training periodically and be certified by Purchasing.  Failure to do so will result in their card and the cards of those whom they supervise being deactivated restricting purchases and travel.

APPENDIX I

WSU PURCHASING CARD PROGRAM

Process To Follow In The Event of Suspected Credit Card Intentional Misuse or Fraud

1.  Upon the first notice of suspected credit card abuse, the Department should IMMEDIATELY advise Purchasing and Internal Audit.

2.  Purchasing will have Internal Audit initiate and coordinate an investigation of the suspected credit card abuse.  As soon as practicable, Internal Audit will furnish a preliminary status report to the cognizant Vice President, with copies to the Director of Purchasing & Support Services, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, University Legal Counsel, and the College or Department.

3.  The employee shall be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations described in the preliminary report.

4.  The College or Department shall consult with Human Resources and University Counsel regarding the interview with the employee regarding the allegations and the employee's leave status pending the outcome of the investigation.  Human Resources shall assist the College or Department in the preparation of appropriate paperwork, if any.

5.  Following the interview with the employee and completion of the investigation, Purchasing shall issue a final written report to the cognizant Vice President and Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, with copies to University Counsel and the College or Department. 

6.  University Counsel shall consult with Purchasing, Internal Audit, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, and University Police regarding a recommended disciplinary course of action for the employee and possible referral of the case for criminal investigation and prosecution.

7.  The Assistant Vice President of Human Resources shall forward a copy of the final Internal Audit report along with a recommendation for disciplinary action to the cognizant Vice President.  Employee disciplinary action shall be determined on an individual, case by case basis.

8.  Human Resources will prepare the necessary and appropriate paperwork related to the recommended disciplinary action in consultation with University Counsel.


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