Materials Management

Effective Date: 07/02/2003 Revised: 02/028/2008

Policy Statement 49: ProCard (Purchasing Card) Procedures


I. PURPOSE OF PROCARD

The ECU purchasing card (ProCard) is a corporate Visa credit card in which the liability rests with the University instead of the individual cardholder. Upon approval of the Department Chairperson, the ProCard is issued in the designated individual's name to streamline the purchasing process by allowing the rapid purchase of low dollar goods and services. All state purchasing rules and regulations and University policies apply to ProCard transactions. Under no circumstances may this Visa card be used for personal or foundation fund purchases even if you intend to pay the University back or transfer funds from a foundation fund.

II. HOW TO BECOME A CARDHOLDER

To apply for a card, download the ProCard enrollment form found at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/purchasing/pcard/ProCardHome.cfm Complete the information requested, obtain the required signatures, and forward it to Materials Management. It generally takes 2-4 weeks to complete the bank application and cardholder training process. Both cardholder(s) and the designated departmental reconciler are required to attend a 2-1/2 hour cardholder training session and sign a card use agreement before receiving the card. Departments are responsible for notifying Materials Management of any changes in a cardholder's employment status. Cards should be treated as university property and be recorded on the department's university property log. Departments are encouraged to apply for at least two cards so that there is an alternate cardholder in the event that the primary cardholder is unavailable.

III. TRANSACTION LIMITS

Four spending levels are available to the cardholder at the department chair's discretion:

  ECU-2 ECU-3 ECU-4 ECU-5
Single Transaction Limit $ 500 $ 1,500 $ 2,500 $5,000
Daily Transaction Limit $2,500 $3,000 $ 5,000 $10,000
Monthly Transaction Limit $5,000 $10,000 $15,000 $25,000

IV. AVAILABLE FUNDING SOURCES and LIMITATIONS

NO Foundation purchases allowed on ProCard. Under limited circumstances, Financial Services (only) may prepare ID Transfers to Foundation funds as appropriate.

Trust funds are allowed with written permission from the Special Funds office. State, Practice Plan, Grants, and other Special Funds accounts are allowed on ProCard. A single default Banner fund, organization, and program is designated on every ProCard enrollment form. The default can be changed upon written request and approval.

V. BILLING

The billing cycle closes on the fifteenth (15th) of each month. The purchase balance is paid in full each month and IS NOT encumbered in advance. It is essential for cardholders to keep good records and for the departmental reconciler to closely monitor account expenditures for this reason. Cardholders must keep priced, itemized invoices and receipts to document each transaction. Memo statements are sent directly to the cardholders at the close of the billing cycle. Cardholders must verify the transactions, attach the priced, itemized invoices and receipts to the statement, and submit the package to the departmental reconciler by the thirtieth (30th) of each month. Division of Health Sciences statements are due to the Business Office by the first (1st) of each month. Reconcilers must review the package for appropriate purchases and documentation, approve each statement electronically in the Bank of America Works System, batch the statements, and submit all to Materials Management by the tenth (10th) of the following month for audit and archiving.

VI. RECONCILIATION STEPS

The ProCard billing cycle closes on the fifteenth (15th) day of each month.

A. IF CHANGES TO ANY ELEMENTS OF THE BANNER ACCOUND CODE (FOAPAL) ARE REQUIRED
On-line FOAPAL changes MUST be completed prior to the 22nd of each month. Cardholders may make these changes or may submit their paperwork to their departmental reconciler prior to the 17th of each month with the FOAPAL to be charged clearly indicated for the reconciler to make the change. All departments should follow their internal processing procedures.

Please note that the cut-off date may be moved up to allow sufficient processing time during holiday periods.

This will require advance planning and coordination on the part of BOTH the cardholder and the reconciler. Although it will shorten the normal reconciliation period, it will ELIMINATE the need for manual disbursements.

B. IF NO BANNER FOAPAL CHANGES ARE NEEDED
1. Cardholder Duties:
Cardholders must submit their itemized invoices, receipts, all backup, and signed bank statement to their departmental reconciler by the thirtieth (30th) of the month. Packing slips are accepted only if priced. All ITEMIZED invoices, receipts and documentation must be batched and submitted with each cardholder's monthly bank statement. Note: Detailed records are vital to the integrity of the ProCard program. Card documentation may be audited by the State Auditor's Office, NC Division of Purchase and Contract, ECU Internal Audit and is reviewed monthly by ECU Materials Management.

2. Reconciler Duties:
Reconcilers must review the batched statement and backup for appropriate purchases and documentation, and process electronic approvals of each cardholder's purchases monthly. Reconcilers must forward the approved statements with accompanying receipts to Materials Management for review and archiving no later than the tenth (10th) of the following month.

Both cardholder and reconciler MUST sign the memo statement with full signatures.

NOTE: If the cardholder and the reconciler are the same individual, the department head MUST countersign the statement. If the department head is the cardholder, his/her superior must countersign the statement in addition to the cardholder and reconciler. Also, please note that the designated reconciler should not report directly to the cardholder. If you have this situation, please designate someone in the division office to sign off on that cardholder’s purchases. If you are not sure how to resolve your situation, please contact the ProCard Manager for guidance.

VII. VIOLATIONS/COMPLIANCE

    The delegation of authority to purchase goods using the card is a privilege that automatically ceases upon separation from the University or upon reassignment to another department. ECU Materials Management reserves the right to revoke and cancel any credit card(s) for failure to comply with the policies and procedures of the program. ECU Materials Management further reserves the right to evaluate the seriousness of any violation and may allow the department to provide an explanation, which may be used as the determining factor to whether card privileges continue or not. ECU Materials Management has the right to exercise appropriate action as deemed necessary.

    1. Cause for employee suspension/termination
      Fraudulent or willful misuse of the card, including willful use of the card to make personal purchases even if you intend to reimburse the University, may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

    2. Cause to suspend or cancel purchasing cards
      ProCards may be suspended or cancelled if any of the following occur:
      1. Fraud or personal use
      2. A pattern of violation of ECU Purchasing and ProCard policies is documented , such as:
        • Splitting orders to avoid dollar limitations
        • Noncompliance with State contracts and/or Purchasing policies and procedures
        • Delinquent statements
        • Incomplete statements/documentation
        • Misuse of funds
        • Unauthorized expenses or use of card
        • Travel violations
      3. A card is determined to be of no use to the cardholder
        • A quarterly report is used to identify cards having no activity for a 12 month term
        • The ProCard office will contact the cardholder to make sure he/she still has the card and to justify keeping the card account open

      Cardholders and Reconcilers will be required to attend ProCard Training upon accumulation of three (3) or more violations from any of the categories listed above during a six month period. The card may be placed in a hold status until attendance at a class is documented.

      Willful misuse of the card or inappropriate expenditures may be cause for immediate cancellation of your card privileges.

      Using someone else’s card, allowing others to use your card, and failing to secure your card are not allowed and may be cause for card cancellation.

      Consistent abuse of the card is cause to place the card account in a hold status until a review can be conducted. Card abuse may be reason to cancel cards at the discretion of the ECU Department of Materials Management. Notice of card cancellation for any reason will be prepared by the ProCard Manager and sent to the Director of Materials Management who makes the final determination and sends the cancellation notice to the cardholder, reconciler, and department head.

    3. Personal use
      The purchasing card is NOT to be used for personal purchases under any circumstances, even if you intend to pay the University back. Intentional abuse of the card is cause for immediate cancellation of card privileges and may be cause for termination of employment. Unintentional use, as determined by the ProCard Manager, will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Repeated offenses, unintentional or otherwise, are cause for card cancellation.

    4. Splitting transactions to circumvent transaction limits
      This is based on the total order to a single vendor. The order cannot be “split” or divided into multiple smaller dollar orders to stay under your single, daily, or monthly transaction limits.

    5. Noncompliance with State contracts or Purchasing policies
      All State of NC purchasing rules and regulations apply. State contract items must be purchased through the contract vendors.

    6. Delinquent Statements
      Approved card statements with all documentation are to be IN Materials Management by the 10th of each month following the close of the billing cycle. If any statement is not received by the due date the cardholder and reconciler will receive a notice via email. If the statement is not received within 3 business days of the notice, the card will be suspended and the cardholder, reconciler, and Supervisor/Department Head will be notified of the suspension.

      Extenuating circumstances may be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Purchasing Card Manager upon receipt of a written (or emailed) explanation. Request for an extension must be made prior to the 10th of the month following the close of the billing cycle and does not guarantee approval.

      • First Offense – Immediate reinstatement after receipt of delinquent statement and documentation.
      • Second Offense – Reinstatement 10 business days after receipt of delinquent statement and documentation.
      • Third Offense – Card will not be reinstated for a minimum of 30 business days after receipt of delinquent statement and documentation, plus a written memo from the department head explaining the reason for the discrepancy which caused the delays/suspension and steps to prevent it from happening in the future. Cardholder and reconciler will be required to attend another ProCard training class.

      The above-mentioned statement offenses will be considered on an annual basis. If delinquent statements persist, Materials Management reserves the right to cancel or suspend card privileges.

    7. Incomplete statements and/or documentation
      Statements are considered to be incomplete for any of the following reasons: missing signatures, initials, missing invoices/receipts, missing prices or descriptions, or receipt totals do not match transaction totals to within $1.00.

      Through email, phone, and/or fax, every effort is made to give the cardholder opportunity to provide incomplete information. However, cardholders who do not comply with our request for items/information after two notices will have their card suspended. Once all outstanding documentation is provided to the ProCard Manager, the cardholder's designated spending strategy will be reinstated.

    8. Misuse of funds or use of invalid account codes
      State, Grant, Practice Plan, and some Special funds are allowed for ProCard purchases. The purchasing card does not change what you can buy, but how you pay for it. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to be aware of the rules and guidelines applicable to each fund.

    9. Unauthorized expense
      Below are examples of authorized and unauthorized transactions, which are reviewed during training classes. The purchasing card cannot be used for items listed on the unauthorized transactions list.

      Authorized Transactions:
      • Memberships and organization dues*
      • Subscriptions (to a business address~Annual Only~includes software subscriptions)*
      • Registrations (All ECU Travel policies apply)*
      • Publications*
      • Interlibrary Loans
      • Postage
      • Express shipping and freight (NOT for shipments being picked up by a courier)
      • Advertising
      • Certifications*
      • Licenses (nurses, doctors, etc.)
      • Office and lab supplies
      • Office and lab equipment
      • Computers, software, accessories, and peripherals
      • Other state contract items purchased through state contract vendors
      • Air, bus and train fares (additional approval required)

      All purchases must be within spending limits and approved by your funding source!

      * Required by ECU Financial Services to be paid on a ProCard (some exceptions apply)


      Unauthorized Transactions:
      • NO animals
      • NO purchases over designated spending limits
      • NO split ticket purchases to circumvent the single purchase limit
      • NO weapons or ammunition
      • NO purchases from pawn shops
      • NO controlled substances (Drugs, Alcohol, Fireworks)
      • NO Radioactive Materials
      • NO payments to individuals, consultants or employees [Vendor must provide a FEIN number versus a SSN]
      • NO purchases from University storerooms
      • NO purchases for personal use
      • NO travel (Lodging, Gas, Food, Meals, Car Rentals)
      • NO meals (Restaurant, Fast Food, Food Services, or Caterers)
      • NO entertainment
      • NO cash advances
      • NO gifts
      • NO contributions
      • NO gift certificates or gift cards
      • NO purchases from Foundation funds

    10. Travel violations
      The purchasing card can be used to pay registration fees, and if you have additional approval, it can also be used to purchase air, bus, and train fares. The purchasing card CANNOT be used for meals (including registration “add-ons”), lodging, car rental, or gas. Complete guidelines for use of ProCards for travel are found on the Purchasing Card Home page.

      All ECU Travel policies and procedures apply. The ECU Travel Manual may be accessed at
      http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/financial_serv/indextraveloffice.cfm