Original Issuance Date: January 10, 2024

1. Policy Purpose

This policy establishes the framework for implementing and managing a successful purchasing card (PCard) program at the designated institutions.

2. Responsible UW System Officer

Senior Associate Vice President for Finance

3. Scope and Institutional Responsibilities

UW System Institutions shall adhere to this UW System policy and accompanying procedure SYS 351.A, Purchasing Card Procedure. Each institution is responsible for administering the PCard program and should designate one or more people as a Purchasing Card Program Administrator (PCPA) dependent on the need of the institution. Working with the Purchasing Card Program Manager, PCPAs are responsible for program implementation and ongoing administration within their respective institutional divisions. Institutions may develop guidance to support the policy and procedure.

4. Background

The State of Wisconsin’s PCard Program provides institutions with flexibility in making small dollar purchases up to $5,000 in a manner that reduces paperwork and processing time. Implemented statewide in 1996, this program has proven effective and efficient in making purchases within delegated purchasing authority. UW System Administration obtained approval to participate in the PCard Program from the State Bureau of Procurement (SBOP) and the State Controller’s Office (SCO). This policy and the related procedure are an extension of the Cooperative Agreement on Accounting, Preauditing, and Internal Accounting Control Activities between UW System Administration and the institutions in which delegation is authorized by Wis. Stat. § 16.53. In addition, purchasing delegation is authorized by Wis. Stat. § 16.71.

5. Definitions

Billing File: Detailed daily and biweekly files that are received electronically by the respective institution from the PCard supplier.

Cardholder: An authorized employee (permanent, project, LTE, or graduate student) who has been issued a PCard by the institution of employment.

Designated Central Storage Area: An area designated by the institution for record retention purposes, i.e., Accounts Payable, Purchasing, the college division level offices, or within an automated financial system. A cardholder’s desk/file cabinet/office is NOT an acceptable designated central storage area.

Original Receipts: Written acknowledgement that goods and/or services have been received. All receipts should include the date of purchase, supplier name, items purchased, and prices. Any exceptions must be documented in writing.

Examples of original receipts are as follows:

  • Purchases in Person: Must have a detailed receipt, at the time of purchase, clearly identifying each item purchased.
  • Phone/Fax Orders: The original invoice, packing slip, or shipping confirmation sent with the goods purchased. If the packing slip does not have the itemized detail, write it on by hand.
  • Internet Orders: Print a copy of the order, confirmation screen, or invoice sent via email that shows what was purchased and the dollar amount.
  • Registration Fees: Attach the registration form and supporting documentation that includes actual event dates; location; title of the conference, convention, or seminar; amount of fee; and a breakdown of specific costs (meals, etc.) included in the fee. Note: This may require obtaining both a payment receipt and a copy of the applicable page from the brochure, application, or registration form.

Purchasing Card (PCard): A charge card issued to an authorized employee (permanent, project, LTE, or graduate student), by the institution of employment, through the contractual agreement between the State of Wisconsin and Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA-NASPO) Contract.

Purchasing Card Program Administrator (PCPA): Individual(s) appointed by the institution to manage, coordinate, and control PCards within the institution.

Purchasing Card Program Manager (PCPM): Individual(s) appointed by System Administration to be the liaison between the institutions and SBOP and Pcard supplier. Responsible for overall planning and administration of the Pcard Program.

Purchasing Card Record (PCard Record): Form used by the cardholder to maintain a record of purchases, including supporting documentation, business purpose, and approvals.

Examples include:

  • PCard Log reconciled to Statement with supporting documentation and approvals;
  • Statement with supporting documentation and approvals;
  • Transaction Detail Report or other report reconciled to Statement with supporting documentation and approvals.
  • Transactions loaded daily into an automated financial system with supporting documentation attached and processed through the automated approval workflow.

Site Manager: Individual responsible for administering a department’s or division’s Pcard activity.

Statement: Detailed report of charges that is provided to the cardholder by the PCard supplier at the end of each biweekly billing cycle.

Supervisor: Individual responsible for approving the cardholder’s time and leave form, or an individual assigned  review authority who is organizationally independent of the cardholder.

Supporting Documentation: Any record or information which verifies a purchase. This includes an itemized supplier receipt, agenda, or various travel-related items (see SYS 351.A, section 4.C.V). In addition, any purchase that is non-routine in nature, quantity or dollar amount must include a business purpose.

6. Policy Statement

Institution stakeholders participating in the PCard program will fulfill the responsibilities indicated here and designated in SYS 351.A, Purchasing Card Procedure.

A. System Administration Responsibilities

  1. Appointing a Purchasing Card Program Manager (PCPM) to be the liaison between the institutions and SBOP and Pcard supplier.
    1. Responsible for overall planning and administration of the Pcard Program.
  2. Establishing purchasing card policies and procedures
  3. Establishing required training schedule, including:
    1. Cardholder at card issuance, after noncompliant usage, and refresher every 3 years
    2. New Cardholder supervisors, after noncompliant usage by Cardholder, and refresher every 3 years

B. Institution Responsibilities

  1. Establishing proper controls, including:
    1. Developing internal policies and procedures within the guidelines identified in this policy.
    2. Monitoring use of PCards by individual cardholders to ensure that all purchases align with applicable laws and regulations.
    3. Performing periodic audits of cardholder records to ensure compliance with all the guidelines, policies, and procedures governing this program.
    4. Disciplining cardholders when misuse of the PCard occurs and ensuring that appropriate steps are taken to rectify the situation.
  1. Maintaining budgetary controls.
  2. Establishing individual cardholder credit and single purchase limits.
  3. Facilitating the payment cycle.
  4. Reporting PCard fraud.

C. PCPA Responsibilities

PCPAs must:

  1. Approve, process, and retain electronic PCard applications for their respective institution or institutional division.
  2. Maintain a log of cardholders, cardholder’s supervisors, and site managers, and reconciling this log with records at US Bank.
  3. Assist with suppliers.
  4. Respond to inquiries regarding internal policies and procedures, billing information, missing statements, and damaged, lost, or stolen PCards.
  5. Facilitate the cardholder setup process.

D. Cardholder Responsibilities

Cardholder must:

  1. Following appropriate procedure to obtain a PCard.
  2. Complying with PCard policies and procedures.

E. Cardholder Supervisor Responsibilities

Cardholder Supervisors must:

  1. Receive training as established in SYS 351, Purchasing Card Compliance Policy.
  2. Review and approve PCard transactions submitted by cardholder on a PCard record.
  3. Verify purchases comply with appropriate rules and regulations.
  4. Verify travel-related charges are in accordance with UW System Travel Policy, have been authorized, and are cross-referenced to the cardholder’s expense report (ER) for consistency and to avoid duplication of reimbursement.
  5. Ensure the signed PCard record, with original receipts and other supporting documentation, is stored in the designated central storage area.
  6. Determine if any personal OR unauthorized charges occurred on the PCard.

7. Related Documents

SYS 351.A, Purchasing Card Procedure

Appendix A-4. Purchasing Card Log

Appendix B. Commonly Questioned Items

*For other appendices and supporting documents, see the guidance page.

8. Policy History

First approved: January 10, 2024

9. Scheduled Review

January 2029