Procurement Card Guidelines
The Purchasing Department encourages use of the procurement card as a lower-cost alternative to requisitions and purchase orders. This page provides guidelines to assist employees with appropriate use of the procurement card.
The Citibank VISA procurement card ("P-Card") program is ideal for small-dollar purchases of $2,500 or less. Use of the P-Card increases departmental efficiencies and decreases administrative costs associated with the processing of small-dollar purchase orders. However, there are certain expectations for use of the procurement card which are outlined below.
What You Need to Know about Using Your P-Card
Basic Rules for P-Card Use
- Employees with P-Cards are authorized to make purchases of up to $2,500 maximum (or other limit assigned by deparmtental supervisors).
- The card should be used for official state purchases only
- Before making purchases, departments should determine if the good or service can be purchasing from a NYS Preferred Source, an Minority/Women-Owned (M/WBE) business, or a centralized NYS OGS Contract.
- Departments must be able to substantiate reasonableness of price for items and/or services purchased.
- Keep card and account information in a secure place. Never allow the use of the card or even the account number by another person. If necessary for someone else to pick up an item, you may be able to call the vendor and process the order. Let the vendor know who is picking the item up.
- Comply with all requirements listed in the State Card Acknowledgment Form.
What You Can Charge to Your P-Card
Examples of purchases that are allowable on the P-Card include:
- Chartwell’s Catering
- Note: If you are paying for catering at an approved function, you must include in your documentation: The names of participants, the meeting agenda, location and business purpose for all meal-related charges. In addition, the credit card number must be given to Chartwell's at time services are requested.
- College Store Purchases
- Conference registrations
- Equipment ($2500 maximum regardless of limit, “Property of...." stickers required)
- Ferry passes that are not related to travel- Departments are required to keep a log showing the use of the ferry passes
- Film processing
- NYS (OGS) contract purchases
- Preferred Source purchases
- Repairs of equipment not covered by maintenance agreement
- Shipping Charges (up to 10% over single per-transaction limit)
- Note: If the freight charge is over $100.00 and shipping is by other than company truck, UPS, Fed Ex, or other common carrier, the College requires an itemized freight bill.
- Supplies and materials (all paper ordered needs to be 100% recycled)
What You Can't Charge to Your P-Card
Examples of purchases that are prohibited on the P-Card include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Bottled water (Due to an executive order by the governor)
- Cash Advances
- Cash back (rebates) on purchases
- Cash refunds on returns
- Contracted services from an individual
- Controlled substances (e.g. narcotics and prescription drugs)
- Copier maintenance agreements.
- Employment Advertising
- Equipment exceeding $2,500
- Financial and/or non-financial agreements requiring signature of representative of College
- Gifts, Gift certificates/cards or any other cash equivalent
- Hazardous Chemicals (unless specifically authorized)
- Items purchased separately that when purchased together (either same vendor or same commodity) in 60 days would exceed the $2,500 limit (split ordering)
- Leases, Rentals
- Medical services
- Personal use
- Printing and or copier services.
- Radioactive materials
- Savings Bonds
- Specialty gases/cylinder rentals
- Travel Related Expenses (i.e., airline, car rental, lodging, restaurant, gasoline etc.)
What's New (Jan. 31, 2019)
The following are new to the Procurement Guidelines as of January 31, 2019
- Departments are required to keep a log showing the use of the ferry passes
- Certification and documentation of that certification should be sent to to Accounts Payable no later than 25 days after email notification stating that it is time to certify.
- If a third-party reimbursement is paying for it, the original 3rd-party reibursement form should be attached to the transaction and a copy of the 3rd-party reimbursement form placed directly on top of the certification page so Accounts Payable can see this right away.
- Clarification provided on the order of documents in the P-Card certification packet.
Procurement Card "How-to" Guides
Step-by-Step Guides for Using Your P-Card
How to Place an Order
As a holder of a Purchasing Card, here are a few things to remember when placing orders:
Before Placing an Order
Make sure funds are available in the account (usually default) that you intend to make payment from. Always obtain proper written approval for the intended purchase from an individual with authority over that budget.
When selecting a vendor, you need to consider whether the good or service can be procured via 1) NYS preferred sources, 2) NYS minority/women-owned businesses (M/WBE), or 3) NYS OGS centralized contracts. If you need assistance checking these sources, contact Purchasing to verify what vendors are on contract.
Inquire if the vendor accepts VISA prior to the purchase being made.
Be aware of your spending limit. Do not allow a vendor to split your order into smaller units so as not to exceed your card limit. This is called “Split Ordering” and is not allowed. You may, with your supervisor may request a temporary increase in your spending limit on your card. If this happens frequently, your supervisor may request that a permanent raise in your spending limit be granted.
Placing the Order
Orders may be placed via telephone, fax (be sure account information going to an individual, not a general fax number), on-line, or in person. Be prepared to provide the following information to the vendor:
- Cardholder name and account number
- Account expiration date
- Ship to address, including "VISA" and cardholder's name and room number, should appear on the outside of the package. If shipment is to come through Central Receiving, please use 40 Sanborn Ave as the delivery address. If delivery is to arrive through U.S. Mail, please use the 101 Broad Street address. The preferred method of shipment is UPS.
- Tax exempt letter from NYS (Orders placed in-person outside of NYS are subject to that state's sales tax.)
All purchases require a comprehensive itemized invoice. On-line orders should be printed before being submitted. Do not rely on confirmations after the orders have been placed.
Cardholders should be prepared to collect the following information from the vendor:
- Name of person receiving the order if placed by phone.
- Cost for each item including any/all-shipping charges. If the vendor is unable to provide an exact shipping charge, please obtain an estimate.
- Anticipated delivery date that product will arrive or service will be completed.
- Itemized receipt for all purchases and packing slips for items shipped.
- Ask that a receipt be faxed or emailed to you if you place your order by phone.
- Examine any confirmations to verify that tax is not being charged. If you are charged tax on your order, it is important to let the vendor know we are tax exempt as soon as possible after the sale and that you immediately ask for a credit of the tax.
Follow-up After the Order
Cardholders should keep all outstanding transactions in a pending folder until the transaction is complete. If the vendor provides a confirmation of the order, the cardholder should maintain it for backup and expediting purposes.
Vendors are not authorized to process an order for payment against procurement card accounts until goods are in transit and/or services are completed. Pre-payments are not allowed unless they are confirmed in writing. Typically, once a product or service is processed, the charges will appear in the cardholder's statement page within 24-48 hours of being received at VISA. Cardholders may review transaction logs in order to charge them to accounts other than issued SUNY default accounts (where authorized), resolve discrepancies with vendors, and/or detect any suspected fraudulent activity.
Reciept of Goods
Once the product is delivered to and received by the cardholder, the packing slip should be carefully reviewed to ensure proper goods were received in good condition. If the order is received complete, the cardholder should match the packing slip to the outstanding order form and maintain it until a corresponding VISA statement is received. If the order is received in more than one shipment, the cardholder should keep a copy of the order form as "open" with items noted as backordered. For each delivery, the corresponding packing slip should be attached behind the invoice and the transaction detail page of the certification. Once all items have been received, the order is considered complete.
How to Return a Product
A few situations may arise that require the return of an item(s) purchased using VISA.
First, an item(s) may arrive damaged and need to be returned for credit. A replacement may or may not be requested. A cardholder should follow the procedures below for returning the damaged item(s):
- Call the vendor to alert them of the damage immediately.
- Be prepared to provide the following information to the vendor:
- Order number typically located on the packing slip
- Cardholder name and account number
- Telephone number
- A vendor will give specific instructions for returning the item(s) that may include written authorization or a return authorization number (RA or RMA number) to be referenced on the return package; packaging instructions, etc. Please follow these instructions exactly.
- When product is returned due to damage from shipping or manufacturer defect, the cardholder is not responsible for paying return shipping charges. The vendor must issue a "call tag" or pick up the item(s) at the vendor's expense. Once the vendor has received the item(s), a full credit for that item and its original shipping cost must be issued to the original credit card account. Cash refunds are not allowed!
- If a replacement item is requested, a new charge with all new shipping costs (if applicable) should be submitted through VISA. Credit is not usually issued for a return until the item is back with the vendor.
Second, a cardholder may opt to return an item that is not what was expected or is no longer needed. In this situation, the above process applies with the exception of return shipping charges. The cardholder will now be responsible for paying shipping charges to return the item; will, most likely, not be refunded the original shipping charges and may be subject to a restocking fee (a percentage of the original cost for the handling of the item back into inventory by the vendor). A restocking fee may vary from minimal (1-2%) to more costly (25-30%). The cardholder must weigh the cost of the entire return against the original cost of the item(s). It may be advantageous to the department, as well as the college, to find another use within the department or college community.
Regardless of the circumstance for requesting a credit (returns, sales tax, incorrect/duplicate billings, etc.), the cardholder must keep a copy of the original charge attached to the credit.
If the cardholder has a problem obtaining a credit within a reasonable timeframe (minimum 1 full billing cycle), please contact the Program Administrator for assistance in obtaining credit due. The cardholder may send previous communication documented and with the name of a contact at the vendor to Purchasing via inter-office mail or email.
How to Maintain Required Documentation
Reconciliation and Certification Process
The billing cycle for Citibank VISA runs from the 7th of a month through the 6th of the following month (e.g., January 7 through February 6 is the January billing cycle). Cardholders should maintain all open orders and respective documents in a separate folder to be matched to corresponding VISA statements at the end of each billing cycle. Once reconciliation and certification of these transactions have been completed, copies of the statement with its respective backup documentation should be placed in a "closed" fiscal year folder.
After certification, Cardholders are required to provide Accounts Payable with all original order forms, invoices, receipts, event information (if applicable), and packing slips along with their certification page, statement and transaction detail pages. Cardholders should certify and send paperwork to Accounts Payable no later than 25 days after email notification stating that it is time to certify. Please notate the date received on all packing slips and notate if the item or packaging was damaged.
Responsibility for Records Management
Records for every transaction made against the VISA account, debit or credit, will be maintained in Accounts Payable for seven fiscal years. The department may decide to keep copies if they wish to. If at any time, the original paperwork is required, Accounts Payable will be able to furnish the needed items.
How P-Card Audits Work
Reviewing and Audit
Accounts Payable as well as the Office of the State Comptroller may elect to audit any and all Purchasing Card accounts at any time. Once the certification paperwork is received in Accounts Payable, they will conduct a cursory audit to determine accuracy and legitimacy of purchases and documentation. Typically, the following information is reviewed during an audit:
- Certification packet is to be in this order:
- If there is a third party reimbursement form, a copy should be placed on top of the Certification page.
- Certification page with signatures on top
- Statement Information page
- Transaction detail page for each transaction
- Original third party reimbursement form, if account #900802 is charged
- Packing slip with date noting all items received and if the item/packaging was damaged
- Any other paperwork as needed depending on transaction (i.e agenda, list of attendees, emails, etc)
- Paperwork is maintained properly (i.e., original receipts with respective statements, maintenance in a secure location, confidentiality upheld, etc.) and reflects a complete procurement record, beginning to end.
- Types of purchases made are within program guidelines and NYS Finance Laws (i.e., no split ordering, no restricted items, no travel expenses, etc and use was for an official State purpose with appropriate backup provided when applicable)
- Items purchased are from permissible sources and/or NYS contracts, Preferred Sources, and M/WBE's are utilized whenever possible.
- Returns are handled properly (i.e., call tags and RA numbers, credits received on proper account, etc.)
- Incorrect billings are handled properly (i.e., sales tax charges, incorrectly charged items, shipping charges, credits received on proper account, etc.)
- Charges made to account are for product received and/or service rendered (no pre-payments)
- Documentation for specific events related to the purchase is with the order form.
- Pricing quoted is considered fair and reasonable from reliable/responsible vendors and is billed as expected.
- All transactions are coded with the proper sub-object code(s)-Do not ever use code 530950.
- Shipping charges are broken out into their proper sub-object code (556010 or 556020)
- Smaller receipts are to be stapled to a full sheet of paper.
- All levels of authorization are being adhered to.
- Based on the results of an individual audit, a follow-up audit may be required at a future date.
- If there’s a 3rd party reimbursement form for any transaction, the original 3rd party reimbursement form should be attached to the transaction and a copy of the 3rd party reimbursement form placed directly on top of the certification page so Accounts Payable can see this right away.
The following are guidelines established by SUNY Plattsburgh's Internal Control Program:
- Any purchase made that is deemed an inappropriate State expenditure is required to have reimbursement to the respective State account using non-State funds. Documentation indicating such, should be forwarded to the Program Administrator immediately. Any cash reimbursements need to be hand delivered to Accounts Payable and a receipt secured.
- Any cardholder found not following guidelines requires that department managers exercise greater involvement of the purchasing practices, program and cardholder.
- Any cardholder that does not adhere to fiscal and procedural requirements may have their card temporarily suspended or permanently revoked.