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Procurement & Payment Services

Procurement Card Program

Best Practices

 

The Procurement Card (P-Card) Program, introduced in 1996 by the Office of General Services (OGS), has many advantages to all parties involved such as providing timely payments for vendors, reducing the time between requesting and receiving products/services for departments, issuing of fewer checks and vouchers for payment thus reducing administrative costs associated with small dollar transactions for Payment Services, allowing more time for buyers to focus on larger transactions where expertise can be utilized and offering rebates to campuses based on overall usage of the P-Card - to name a few.

However, with all procurement card programs, there are inherent risks that must be considered and policies and procedures established to minimize these risks which include potential fraud. The following is a list of required best practices established by OGS, SUNY and The College at Brockport that all cardholders are expected to follow to maximize program success:

  • P-Card accounts are issued to individuals and are not to be shared within departments or among employees, including supervisors.  Always keep the account information secure to be used solely by the assigned cardholder.
  • The use of a P-Card is for appropriate state expenditures only.  Accounts are not to be used when a non-state account is the intended source for payment.  In addition, caution should be taken by cardholders to ensure P-Card accounts are not being used where personal accounts are intended. 
  • Cardholders are to place orders that fall within program guidelines and authorized transaction limits.  Split orders are not permitted to create multiple small dollar payments to the same vendor for a single transaction that collectively exceed this limit.
  • Whenever possible, utilize the use of NYS OGS Contracts, Preferred Sources and NYS Minority/Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBE).
  • Be able to substantiate reasonableness of price for items and/or services purchased.
  • All transactions on a P-Card statement, debit or credit, require back up documentation for possible future audits.  All receipts are to be itemized with a clear description of what was purchased and if necessary, an explanation of what it is to be used for.  In general, be sure to document as if a stranger is seeing your information.
  • When purchasing for college-sponsored events, be sure to keep event information such as flyers, invitations or guest lists that detail the event and where appropriate, a list of participants at the event.
  • The cardholder should take the necessary steps to ensure the transaction is tax exempt or that the credit for sales tax is requested and obtained.
  • Review the monthly credit card statement for accuracy and reconcile each transaction according to the vendor receipts and/or invoices properly maintained by cardholders during each billing cycle.
  • Minimally, all cardholder monthly statements and receipts must be reviewed and approved by the cardholder's supervisor for appropriateness.
  • Immediately report discrepancies to respective vendors for timely resolution.
  • Services and resources provided and available for use on campus are to be utilized before seeking and purchasing these same services and supplies from outside sources.  For example, the campus Mailroom, Shipping/Receiving, Design & Production and Print Shop should be used before obtaining these same services from an off-campus source.
  • Make purchases in a timely fashion and not in anticipation of a possible future need – especially with equipment that has a depreciative value, a limited warranty period and the potential for loss/theft.  Once the product is received, it should be confirmed the item is functioning properly and be for a specific purpose at that time.
  • Notify the Program Administrator when taking an extended leave from the College, such as a sabbatical or family leave, so that the account transaction limit may be reduced during the leave to decrease the potential for fraudulent activity.
  • There are specific policies and procedures in place with regard to employee use of state property off-campus.  In addition to these policies and procedures, items should be logged out of a department and logged back into the department when it is returned so its whereabouts can be confirmed at all times.
  • State property that has the potential to “walk” should have a property sticker placed on it and added to the department inventory list, regardless of its value and where feasible to do so.  Additional property stickers are available by contacting your Program Administrator.
  • Purchases that require electrical, plumbing, building installation, etc., must have written approval from Facilities & Planning prior to placing the order to ensure the feasibility of such a purchase.  Keep this written approval with all related P-Card documents.

 

Questions related to proper procedures or the appropriate use of P-Card accounts should be directed to the Program Administrator, Donna Napier, at x5139.