Procurement Cards

Certain designated full-time employees may take part in the Royal Bank Visa Procurement Card program.  Procurement Cards (P-Cards) offer a more efficient, cost-effective way of paying for goods and services.  The standard P-Card allows for individual transactions of $1,000 with a monthly limit of $5,000.

How does the P-Card work?

Through this program, employees are given a Visa card that is in both their name and the name of the university.  This card can then be used to make authorized, work-related purchases of eligible goods and services.  It is used in the same manner as a credit card, and can be used where the supplier accepts credit card transactions. 

How is the balance on the card paid?

The card is linked to the general ledger account of the employee's department.  Each month, the balance owing is paid through Accounts Payable, which in turn charges the department for all the purchases made with that card.

What are the responsibilities of the P-Card holder?

Although charges made to these Visa accounts are a liability of the university, and not the individual cardholder, employees are still responsible for ensuring that the items they purchase are allowable under university procurement policies.

The employee is also responsible for obtaining the standard proof of purchase issued by the supplier (e.g. itemized receipt or invoice) for each purchase made.  In addition, the employee should obtain a transaction slip and/or packing slip that clearly indicates the purchase was paid for by Visa.

Each month, the cardholder must submit a reconciliation of the expenses, properly coded to GL account numbers and submitted by a defined deadline.  The receipts along with the approved monthly reconciliation are then sent to Procurement Services along with other supporting documentation as part of a Monthly Activity Statement.

What are eligible purchases that can be made with the P-Card?

Valid purchases for standard procurement cards include: office or packaging supplies; small tools and small tool rentals; memberships, subscriptions and registration fees; books, periodicals and interlibrary loan fees; lab supplies; safety and first aid supplies; plumbing and electrical supplies; and minor vehicle repairs.

What are ineligible purchases that must not be made with the P-Card?

Employees may not use standard procurement cards for: personal use, for cash advances, for salaries or wages, or for the purchase of liquor, hazardous chemicals or radioactive materials, computer hardware or software, vehicles, gifts or supplies for social functions or for travel expenses such as transportation tickets, hotels, etc. or for any expenses that will be charged to a Research account (funds 40-59).

Why can’t the P-Card be used for Research expenses?

The auditing requirements that are placed on the university by external funding agencies require original signatures of the grantee or Principal Investigator and account approval from the Office of Research Services on all documentation prior to the transaction being posted to the research account.  This oversight is not available with the P-card transaction process.  As well, the use of a P-card does not allow for unique identified voucher numbers on each individual transaction to support retrieval of documents for audits or monitoring visits by these agencies.

The practice of using a P-Card, charging the expense to an operating account, and then moving the expenses to a Research account by journal entry will no longer be allowed as it does not comply with the oversight requirements of the funding agencies as described above.  In addition, this practice contravenes internal controls in place that require approved budgets in the operating accounts for expenses, and also results in undue administrative effort at both the unit and central administration levels.

For more information on procurement cards, please see Procurement Card Policies and Procedures.  Applications for procurement cards can be made using the Procurement Card Application Form.  Cardholders may also want to read through the Web Access Instructions.