University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Contact Officer: Director, Strategic Procurement Services

Purpose

This procedure describes how to obtain and ensure effective use of a Queen’s Procurement Card (PCard) to make approved low dollar value purchases.

 

1. GETTING A PROCUREMENT CARD

a. Applying

The Cardholder is required to read the Procurement Credit Card (PCard) Policy and adhere to all PCard policies and procedures.  Individuals must complete the PCard Application Form #P0002 and sign a Cardholder Agreement Form before a PCard can be released.  All newly issued PCards are mailed directly from the card provider to Strategic Procurement Services (SPS) for establishment in the credit card provider’s settlement system.  The Cardholder will be notified via email once this establishment is finalized.  Cards can then be collected from the Strategic Procurement Services, by appointment.

The standard application process time is a maximum of three (3) weeks from the submission of applicant data to receipt of the card, providing the application has been completed properly. The PCard Application Form - #P0002 can be downloaded from the SPS website, and must be filled out in its entirety, including both applicant and a supervisors signature (who has authority to sign on the account) before it is sent to SPS.

As per the Procurement Card Policy, there is a maximum monthly card limit as well as a maximum single transaction limit.  SPS reserves the right to assign lower limits for certain Cardholders or cancel cards for improper use.  See the Procurement Credit Card Policy for further details.

PCards are assigned to one Cardholder only (per the Cardholders name listed on the PCard) and can not be assigned to multiple users.  PCards must not be loaned to any other individual.  The Cardholder is the only person authorized to use the assigned PCard and bears sole responsibility for all transactions.

 

b. Activating and Registering your PCard

After receiving a PCard and signing a receipt form (which states how the card is to be used and reconciled), Cardholders are to follow the card activation instructions found in the envelope containing their card.

Please contact the Card’s Customer Service team or Strategic Procurement Services (SPS) with any questions.

c. Renewal Cards

Expiry dates on cards are based on the end of the month.  All renewal cards are automatically sent to SPS, two (2) to four (4) weeks prior to the expiration date of the card.  Once renewal cards are received, Cardholders will be contacted via email for scheduled distribution dates.  Renewal cards which are not collected by the cardholder within fifteen (15) days of the distribution event, will be securely destroyed.  Cardholders would then have to reapply for a new card and the approval process would recommence. 

d. Replacement Cards

For more information on what to do if a PCard has been lost or stolen, please see the 'Lost/Stolen/Damaged Cards' section of the Troubleshooting a PCard page.

2. Responsible PCard Use

It is important to understand that the proper use of a Queen's PCard is more than conducting transactions in a safe, ethical, and professional manner.  There are two activities associated with the use of the credit card.  One is the purchasing of the product or service, the second is ensuring that the bank and University financial information is correct, along with the Policy and Procedures being followed appropriately.  

a. Making a Purchase

The PCard may be used to purchase goods in person at the supplier site, over the phone, on the internet, via fax, or by mail.  When you are placing an order remember to:

  • Identify yourself as a Queen's employee
  • Inform the supplier that a Queen's Procurement Credit Card is being used
  • Inform the supplier to send the paid invoice to the Cardholders address at Queen’s
  • Provide Cardholder name
  • Provide individual PCard number
  • Provide expiration date of the card and possibly the CSV number on the back of the card
  • Provide description of goods to be ordered and confirm prices
  • Confirm with the supplier if the purchase is HST exempt – this must be done at time of order
  • Provide delivery address including building and room number
  • Check to find out if the purchase requires a permit or other shipping documentation (for more information see Customs and Shipping)
  • Confirm that the total order including shipping, handling and exchange rate does not exceed the single-purchase limit assigned to the Cardholder
  • Provide any other information necessary to make the purchase
  • If making a purchase over the internet, print confirmation receipt showing item(s) purchased, date, cost of goods etc., for month-end reconciliation purposes as no further receipt may be issued
  • Card numbers should only be given over the phone or through a secure internet site – do not fax your number to any company, or store your number on line.

The Cardholder is responsible for ensuring receipt of goods, and for following up with the vendor to resolve any delivery problems, discrepancies or damaged-merchandise concerns. 

Upon receipt of the order the Cardholder must keep an acceptable invoice/receipt received from the supplier (typically a sales receipt or packing slip with pricing information) for monthly reconciliationAn acceptable receipt must show the following: Company Name, Date of Transaction, Description of Goods, Cost of Goods, and all applicable taxes, shipping charges, etc.  The receipt must match the amount charged to your card exactly.  After reconciling, file and store your receipts, along with approved statements and any other supporting documentation.  This documentation may be reviewed by the SPS and/or Internal Audit Services for audit purposes at any time.

Receipts and records must be kept on file for at least seven (7) years before being destroyed or longer if specifically requested by a research funding agency.

Note:  Please ensure documentation is accessible to at least one (1) other person in your department during a temporary leave of absence from the University (e.g., sabbatical, sick leave, maternity leave, etc.)

 

b. Restricted Commodities

The PCard is not to be used to purchase any commodities from the list below, even if they are University business-related.  There are compliance issues relating to many of these items that require either pre-audit or pre-authorization.  If you require a card for travelling on behalf of the University, please apply for the University Corporate Travel Card.  Research Granting Agency restrictions take priority over the PCard restrictions.

If a cardholder purchases a restricted commodity, they will be required to reimburse the University for the full-cost immediately.

The Procurement Credit Card is not to be used for the following:

  • Environmental health and safety purchases, specifically:
    • Biohazardous material not listed on an approved biohazard inventory and risk group document
    • Prions, infectious agents classified as Risk Group 3 or 4 and Security Sensitive Biological Toxins above the trigger quantity
    • Radioactive Material or equipment or products that contain radioactive materials or sources
    • Controlled Goods or Substances (Contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety)
    • Class 3b or 4 Lasers
    • X-Ray equipment
  • Travel and entertainment purchases, specifically:
    • Airline tickets
    • Train tickets
    • Bus or coach tickets
    • Ferry tickets
    • Taxis used during Cardholders’ business travel
    • Hotel bookings
    • Food
    • Entertainment tickets for theatres, cinemas, theme parks and events
  • Additional purchases, specifically:
    • Internal service providers (any supplier using Queen's internal chart of accounts numbers)
    • Office furniture
    • Products or services greater than $10,000, including applicable taxes and exchange rate
    • Long term (one (1) year or more) rental or lease of equipment
    • Automatic annual payment of subscriptions (manual payments are permissible when it has been confirmed funds are available)
    • Materials requiring a government permit 
    • Personal purchases
    • Alcohol 
    • Gift certificates or gifts intended for employees may not be purchased from University accounts due to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Guidelines – please refer to Financial Services website
    • Departmental food purchases from restaurants or fast food restaurants

If you have any questions regarding these restrictions, or the appropriate use of the PCard, please contact SPS.

 

3. Reviewing and Reconciling

If you have been issued a Queen's PCard, your responsibilities include ensuring that monthly reconciliations are completed on time, either by the cardholder or a designated individual.  All transactions must be reviewed and settled monthly.  PCard transactions are posted on the Credit Card’s website settlement system usually within two (2) to three (3) business days.  

Cardholders or a designated reviewer will log onto the proper website using their web browser.  Each card must have an assigned reviewer.  The reviewer is the individual responsible for regularly verifying transactions on the settlement system.  Reviewers will make the required changes, adding business purposes where needed, and maintaining the proper supporting documentation stated above as per the instructions found on SPS’s website. 

While individual Cardholders most commonly reconcile their own PCard, departments and faculties are encouraged to designate one individual in their cost center to maintain records and review transactions monthly on the credit card provider’s website for all cards in that cost center. 

Failure to reconcile on a monthly basis will result in the card being cancelled. 

Copies of the approved reconciliations/statements must be kept on file with original copies of receipts attached.  As previously noted, these must be kept for a minimum of seven (7) years (longer terms may be required for research projects, please check with Financial Services).

With the authority to purchase comes the responsibility for maintaining adequate documentation of the transaction.  It is the responsibility of each unit to develop a process and assign responsibility for document retention in accordance with Queen's University's. Please refer to the Records Management Policy.

If the default "Chart of Accounts" number has been changed during the reconciliation process and there are any errors in the input, SPS will re-key the entry back to the default "Chart of Account" numbers.

Once the transaction is loaded onto the settlement system, authorized users will need to reconcile each and every transaction by the reconciliation dates. Refer to http://www.queensu.ca/procurement/PCard for any of the necessary changes which were noted above.  When all transactions for a given cycle date have been reviewed, an activity statement must be printed, signed by the Cardholder, and approved by the Supervisor within the allotted reconciliation time frame.

All original corresponding receipts for the current month are to be attached to the statement and filed locally.   Even if there are no transactions for the current month, the statement must be printed and signed by the Cardholder and the Supervisor for future audits.

Failure to reconcile could result in incorrect GL accounts being charged, as well as additional journal entries being required.  Journal entry corrections are the responsibility of the Cardholder.   Please refer any questions regarding access to the PCard settlement system (password problems) or reconciling the card to SPS. 

A backup reviewer needs to be designated in the case where the reviewer will be absent during the month end reconciliation cycle process.  Cardholders must forward all supporting documentation, including credits to the PCard, to the person in your department who has been assigned responsibility for document retention in a timely manner.  All transactions will be posted regardless of whether they have been marked as reviewed.  Failure to reconcile PCards will result in cards being cancelled.

Original receipts must be kept on file for all transactions as defined in section 3 above.  

 

a. Missing Receipts

While all efforts should be made to acquire and retain original receipts, in the event that documentation for a purchase is missing or receipts are lost or misplaced, the Cardholder may contact the supplier and obtain a duplicate receipt/invoice. 

b. Managerial Oversight

Once a PCard has been reconciled, it is necessary for documentary and audit purposes for the Supervisor to sign off on the printed monthly cardholder activity statement in order to ensure managerial oversight and adherence to the University Procurement Credit Card Policy.

4. Misuse of Cards

The issuing of a Queen's PCard represents Queen's trust in you as a responsible employee who will safeguard and protect University assets.  As a Cardholder, you assume the responsibility for the protection and proper use of the procurement card.  This includes both the proper and ethical use of the card as well as the regular reconciling of the associated account. (For more information, see the Reconciling Accounts section 4d).

PCards and card numbers must be safeguarded against use by unauthorized individuals within or outside the university.

The following situations are examples of misuse of the procurement card:

Personal Misuse

  • Purchases made for the sole benefit of the employee
  • Use of a procurement card by a suspended or terminated employee

Administrative Misuse

  • Lack of proper and timely reconciliation of individual cardholder accounts
  • Lack of funds in your departmental or research budget accounts
  • Splitting an order to avoid the single-purchase limit
  • Use of the PCard to purchase commodities that have been restricted by procedure as described in 2b

The PCard holder’s Departmental Head or Supervisor has the responsibility to report instances of misuse.  Supervisors have the responsibility to suspend or terminate card privileges in instances of misuse, and report them to SPS.  As the Supervisor approving the issuance of the card to the cardholder, the Supervisor is responsible for verifying proper use and monthly reconciliation of the card by the cardholder or other designated individual and signs to this effect on the monthly system printed statement. 

Improper use of the card may also result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.  SPS may cancel PCards for non-adherence to the Procurement Credit Card Policy and Procedures, at any time.

It is the responsibility of the Department Head and the Cardholder to ensure SPS is notified no less than two (2) weeks prior to the Cardholder leaving the University, upon termination of employment, maternity or parental leave, or any other applicable circumstances.

 

5. Identifying Phishing Scams

No financial institution, bank, credit card provider, or otherwise, will contact their customers via email to request account information.  Often these emails claim that accounts have been declared suspended or on hold, and request that the card information be resubmitted or updated in order to reactivate the account.

If there is any concern about a card or card number, financial institutions will contact the cardholder by phone.   If you are concerned about the legitimacy of the call, hang up and call the credit card company yourself.

Any email, regardless of how professional or legitimate it may appear (i.e. professional wording, logos or graphics), that requests your account information is fraudulent and should be forwarded to abuse@queensu.ca and the email deleted.  These emails are referred to as "phishing" emails.

If you are at all in doubt as to the legitimacy of an email, please contact either SPS or call the phone number for Customer Service on the back of the PCard in order to speak with a Credit Card Customer Service Representative. 

For more information on phishing emails or other concerns regarding potential fraudulent activities, visit VISA's Common Frauds information page.

 

6. Preparing for an Audit

To ensure the continued success of the PCard program and to meet the audit requirements of both Queen's University and various government agencies, Audit Services and SPS will conduct periodic audits to verify that items purchased have been received and that the correct procurement policies and procedures have been followed. 

For convenience and in the interest of saving time, Cardholders are reminded to have the following ready for the audit:

  • All receipts and invoices from the past seven (7) years including those that belonged to employees who have left the University
  • All monthly reconciliation activity statements for the past seven (7) years
  • These two (2) items should be filed together for easy retrieval

Note:  Please ensure documentation is accessible to at least one (1) other person in your department during a temporary leave of absence from the University (e.g., sabbatical, sick leave, maternity leave, etc.)

Adequate documentation must be maintained to record the transaction.  Cardholders must forward all supporting documentation (including credits to the PCard) to the person in their department who has been assigned responsibility for document retention.  These receipts assist in the verification of the online transaction and proper allocation of the purchase.  Failure to meet audit standards may result in the loss of PCard privileges.

 

7. Returning a PCard

a. Cancelling a P-Card

It is the responsibility of the Cardholder to return the physical card to SPS no less than two (2) weeks prior to leaving the University upon resignation of employment or retirement, or any other applicable circumstances.

Department Heads are responsible for ensuring that cards are cancelled when an employee leaves their position in that department for which the card was issued, and that all outstanding or relevant receipts have been collected.  The account attached to the card must be reconciled in order to facilitate closing the account attached to the card.  A backup person must be designated to reconcile the card in the event that the cardholder is unable to.

Please ensure that SPS is informed of the Cardholders name, the account to which the card is attached, and only the last four (4) numbers on the card.  It is helpful to specify if the Cardholder has transferred between units at the University or left Queen's entirely.

To cancel a Queen's PCard, first contact SPS.  The physical plastic must be cut in half width-wise, sealed in an envelope and sent to:

Credit Card Program, Strategic Procurement Services
3rd Floor, Rideau Building, Queen's University
207 Stuart Street, Kingston, ON   K7K 3N6

b. Extended Leave

It is the responsibility of the Department Head and the Cardholder to ensure SPS is notified no less than two (2) weeks prior to the cardholder leaving the university upon termination of employment, maternity or parental leave, or any other applicable circumstances. The card will be cancelled and the individual can apply for a new card upon their return to Queen's University.

8. Troubleshooting a PCard

a. Lost / Stolen / Damaged Cards

In the event that a Queen's PCard is lost or stolen, Cardholders are required to immediately notify SPS and the card provider at the number provided by SPS. If a card is damaged beyond use, contact the card provider who will forward a new card to SPS for the Cardholder to pick up.

If a replacement card is required for a name change or other reason, the Procurement Credit Card Change Request (#P0004 form along with supporting documentation) must be completed and sent to SPS.

b. Returning an Item

Items should be returned directly to the supplier by whichever logistics the supplier requires.  It is the Cardholder's responsibility to return items and determine that proper credit is posted to the card for any returned item.

c. Disputing a Transaction

A Cardholder may dispute a charge that appears on their monthly credit card statement.  The Cardholder is responsible for following up with a supplier for any erroneous charges, disputed items, or returns.  Disputed charges can result from failure to receive goods, fraud or misuse, altered charges, defective merchandise, incorrect amounts, sales tax charges, duplicate charges, credits not processed, etc.

The Cardholder should contact the supplier first in order to resolve any outstanding issues.  Most issues can be resolved in this way.  If successful, make sure to get a written confirmation of the credit from the supplier.  If unsuccessful, contact the Credit Card’s Customer Service number on the back of the card to discuss further action.

 

9. Cardholder Resources

Questions should be directed either to the Credit Card’s Customer Service using the phone number found on the back of the PCard or by accessing the provider’s online resources.  Any other questions such as account information, spending limits etc., should be directed to SPS.

Strategic Procurement Services - Credit Card Program:      http://www.queensu.ca/procurement/contact