Purchasing Cards

Category: Operations
Number: OPS-020-010
Audience: All University Employees
Issued: November 12, 2008
Revised: October 11, 2017
Owner(s): AVP (Finance)
Approved by: VP (Administration)
Contact: Director, Supply Management Services - 306-585-4126

Introduction

This policy applies to all University of Regina employees. It sets out policies and processes for obtaining and using a purchasing card to purchase goods and services on behalf of the University of Regina (the University). (For the University’s policies and processes on travel and travel cards, see EMP-050-005 Travel, EMP-050-015 Corporate Travel Card and EMP-050-010 Travel Insurance.) A purchasing card offers the cardholder a convenient way to purchase goods and services that cost less than $3,500.00 Canadian, including taxes and shipping.

Every month, the University pays the total amount owing on all University purchasing cards (based on cardholders’ monthly Expense Reports) to the banking card provider.

Definitions

  • Inappropriate purchases: transactions that include obtaining cash, transactions over $3,500 CDN, and controlled items.

Policy

Employees must have their supervisor’s recommendation and approval to apply for a purchasing card. They must also complete purchasing card training before a card will be issued to them.

Employees must have the appropriate purchasing authority before they may purchase goods or services with University funds. See GOV-010-005 Approval Authorities and Execution of Documents and GOV-010-035 Purchasing Goods and Services.

Only Supply Management Services (SMS) may issue a contract to purchase goods and services. If a contract might be required (e.g., if the goods or services will be supplied or delivered over a period of time), employees must contact Supply Management Services (SMS).

Employees may not use their purchasing card to purchase a single item or service that costs more than $3,500, and they shall not split what should be a single purchase or contract into two or more components to circumvent this transaction limit.

Employees must not exceed the $20,000 monthly limit unless they have SMS approval.

Employees must not use the card for personal and inappropriate purchases.

Employees must reconcile their purchasing card transactions every month and submit an Expense Report with the required transaction documents to Accounts Payable, Financial Services by the 19th of each month.

Employees must keep their purchasing card secure to avoid any risk of unauthorized use.

If the purchasing card is stolen, lost or misplaced, employees must immediately report it to the banking card provider and the Purchasing Card Administrator. A replacement card will be issued within five business days.

Roles and Responsibilities

Purchasing Cardholder

  • Use the Purchasing Card only for authorized University purchases within the University’s established policies and procedures
  • Complete a Purchasing Card training session before a card is issued.
  • Review and sign the Employee Acknowledgement Form agreeing to comply with the purchasing card responsibilities and restrictions.
  • Sign the card once it has been received.
  • Reconcile card statements on a monthly basis.
  • Keep purchasing card secure to avoid risk of unauthorized use.
  • Resolve discrepancies or disputed charges by contacting SMS to assist with contacting the supplier, then the credit card provider (if not resolved) to rectify the billing problem.  Ensure the transaction in dispute appears on the current or next monthly Expense Report.
  • Report lost or stolen cards to the Banking Card Provider and the Purchasing Card Administrator for cancellation and replacement.
  • Return or destroy purchasing card upon request by SMS, for the termination of the FOAPAL or termination of employment.

Purchasing Card Administrator

  • Sets the card transaction and credit limit (maximum $3,500 per transaction, including taxes and shipping, and maximum $20,000 monthly limit per billing cycle).
  • Ensures each purchasing cardholder is informed of the transaction and credit limits of their purchasing card as well as the responsibilities and restrictions regarding the usage of their purchasing card. Restrictions include: personal purchases, split purchases, inappropriate purchases, and travel for Tri-Agency Grant Research.
  • Authorizes the Employee Acknowledgement Form for the issuance of a purchasing card.

Supply Management Services (SMS)

  • Provides ongoing education and training programs in collaboration with Information Services.
  • Communicates program information and updates to cardholders.
  • Maintains and controls a central record of all purchasing cardholders and pertinent card information.
  • Liaises with the banking card provider and provides contractual management of contract.
  • Manages and assists in rectifying disputed charges with proponents and the banking card provider.
  • Oversees the purchasing card records.

Accounts Payable

  • Reviews and matches all documentation with the monthly purchasing card statement.
  • Contacts cardholder if any transaction documents are missing from the statement.
  • Ensures the signed Expense Report has been received by the 19th of each month.
  • Retains the records of purchases for a period of six years plus the current year.

Consequences for Noncompliance

If goods and services are not purchased according to this policy, the fiscal integrity and reputation of the University may be compromised. 

If employees incur a charge that is not allowed (e.g., personal purchase or inappropriate purchase), they will be required to reimburse the University immediately and shall be responsible for any related interest or service charges. In addition, their purchasing card may be cancelled and their purchasing privileges may be revoked. Split purchases are not allowed and may lead to the purchasing card being cancelled.

Any employee who fails to comply with this policy is subject to possible disciplinary action under the applicable law, collective agreement, employment contract or University policy.

Processes

Applying for a Purchasing Card

  1. Once approval has been given to an employee that a purchasing card is required to perform necessary duties within the Faculty\Department, the employee will complete the Employee Acknowledgement Form.
  2. Submit the form to the Purchasing Card Administrator for approval, but keep a copy of it for your records.
  3. Book and attend a purchasing card training session through the Technology Learning Centre (TLC). Online training is also available. Check the training schedule for upcoming courses offered.
  4. When notified by SMS, pick up the hard copy of your Purchasing Card Application form. Sign the Employee Acknowledgement of Responsibilities portion of the form, designate a Banner FOAPAL, and get your supervisor to sign the form.
    • The Banner FOAPAL for your card must have a minimum lifespan of six months and a budget that will support the transactions that will be made by the approved purchasing card cardholder for the assigned FOAPAL.
    • If the card is for research or a special purpose, designate a research or special purpose FOAPAL for your card that follows internal and external FOAPAL guidelines and apply for a defined expiry date.
    • Return the form (the original) to the Purchasing Card Administrator.

When You Receive Your Purchasing Card

1. Sign the back of your card.

2. Comply with account-specific guidelines and this policy.

Using Your Purchasing Card

  1. Keep all of transaction documents. These transaction documents must be attached to your cardholder and supervisor approved monthly credit card Expense Report and sent to Accounts Payable, Financial Services by the 19th day of each month.  This date is earlier in May for the month of April each year to meet fiscal year end deadlines for the University’s annual audit.  Please refer to the year end deadline schedule on the web page for Financial Services.
  2. Whenever possible, ensure transaction documents have the following information on them: the merchant’s name, date of purchase, a description each item purchased, the quantity and cost of each item purchased and the cardholder identification. 

If

Then

You require a limit change on your monthly limit

Upon receiving approval by the supervisor to request a limit change on your monthly limit a request is forwarded to the Purchasing Card Administrator.

You purchase computer or computer related equipment

Ensure the equipment complies with the IS Policy Support Hardware, Software and PDA Devices.

If the item is to be shipped to the University, ask to have the delivery information marked on the outside of the package; be sure it includes a contact name, faculty/department, address and phone number.

Also, be sure to review the risks associated with Internet purchases on non-secure websites.

Your card is rejected at the time of a purchase

The purchasing card may have reached the transaction or monthly limit, or the purchasing card number or expiry date may be incorrect, or there may be a technology processing issue with the credit card provider and proponent.

Contact SMS if you need assistance.

You need to return an item you purchased with your purchasing card

Ensure you have the receipt for the item or service.

Coordinate the return with the proponent.

Ask the proponent for a credit transaction slip to verify that credit has been given.

Contact SMS if you need assistance or have questions.

You wish to dispute a charge or find a discrepancy in the quantity or price of the goods or services

Contact the proponent to rectify the billing problem. If this does not resolve the matter, contact the credit card provider.

Record any adjustments for the transaction on your current or next Expense Report.

You do not have the required supporting documentation to attach to your Expense Report

Ask the proponent for a copy of the original documentation. If a copy of the original documentation is unavailable, ask the card provider for a copy of the transaction slip.

Notify the Purchasing Card Administrator.

Your require an exemption to purchase a hazardous or non-hazardous chemical

You must receive approval from Human Resources -Occupational Health and Safety.

You require travel for Tri-Agency Grant Research

Follow the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Manual.

Reconciling Transactions Monthly

  1. You must reconcile your purchasing card transactions every month.
  2. Between the first day of the month and the last day of the month, the correct account code(s) (FOAPAL) are applied to reconcile your purchasing card transactions.
  3. Reconcile your online purchases by the 12th of each month.

    **Please note: For the months of March and April, due to earlier fiscal year end reporting requirements, the dates for reconciliation and reports will change to accommodate this requirement, and notification of these dates will be sent out by SMS via email with enough advance notice to ensure adequate time is provided to the card holder for reconciliation and processing of the Expense Report.

  4. Forward your Expense Report along with the required transaction documents to your supervisor for review and approval.
  5. Once you have your supervisor’s approval, forward your Expense Report along with the required documentation to Accounts Payable, Financial Services by the 19th of each month. (Failure to provide the required documentation is considered a cardholder violation.)
  6. Note that if an individual who is a supervisor instructs a direct report to purchase goods or services for use by the supervisor, then the Expense Report of the staff member requires approval by the supervisor’s supervisor.  Otherwise the supervisor is in effect approving their own purchases.
          Financial Services retains a record of all purchases for a period of six years plus the current year for audit purposes.

Reporting a Lost or Stolen Purchasing Card

  1. Phone the banking card provider: 1-888-823-9657. Outside Canada/USA call collect 1-416-750-6138.
  2. Email the Purchasing Card Administrator.

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