Purchasing and Business Services Manual (PUR)

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Effective: 10/1/1996

Revised: 7/1/2010

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PUR 304–04: The Purchasing Card

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To facilitate the purchase of low-value items and items from contracts in the fastest and most efficient manner

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University policy

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Departmental purchase transactions

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This section is intended to explain the proper use of the Purchasing Card program. Details of the program are in The Purchasing Card: A Guide for Users, as described below.

The Purchasing Card is a corporate liability card. It is a method to spend university funds from a specific agency/org.

Department leadership must agree to participate in the Purchasing Card program before cards will be issued to the department staff members.

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Purchasing and Business Services publishes a cardholder’s guide that provides the details of the Purchasing Card program. The Purchasing Card: A Guide for Users is incorporated herein by reference. The Purchasing Card: A Guide for Users may be viewed on the Purchasing and Business Services Web site or obtained from Purchasing and Business Services. All forms used in the Purchasing Card program may also be found on this Web site.

The current generic dollar limit per Purchasing Card transaction is $5,000. This limit can be set for each individual card, and departments can obtain a higher transaction limit by justifying the need.

Card users must retain the cash register slip, card transaction document, and all other point-of-sale documents, including Purchasing Card statements in the department for five years. These items are either retained by the cardholder or submitted to a designated monitor in the user’s department. In either case, the cardholder must attach the transaction documents to the monthly memo statement from the bank and submit them for review to an independent person in the cardholder’s department for review. The reviewer signifies that the transactions are reasonable and appropriate by signing the monthly memo statement. Card transactions map to an object/sub-object code in Advantage based on the merchant category code of the supplier from whom each purchase is made. Departments may also use PaymentNet, a Web-based application to change suborg, object, and subobject codes before the transactions are posted to Advantage.

The Purchasing Card can be used only to conduct university business. It may not normally be used to purchase items found on the P-Card Restricted Purchases List.

Sponsored accounts have additional restrictions on office supplies and postage to include overnight services such as Federal Express or Airborne.

Note: Certain sponsored accounts have additional restrictions. Purchasing Cards cannot be used for purchases that would be in violation of ASU’s Costing Policy as described in the 12/15/97 memo from the provost of the university to sponsored project directors (OMB Circular A-21, Appendix A, Part 99005—Cost Accounting Standards for Educational Institutions). The Circular and ASU policy address, in part, the requirement to consistently treat costs incurred for the same purpose as either direct or indirect costs. For example, office supplies or postage and other mailing costs are typically treated as an indirect cost and therefore should not be directly charged to a sponsored project account by any means, including the use of a Purchasing Card. (See the Research and Sponsored Projects Policies and Procedures Manual—RSP 508–01, “Charging Direct and Facilities & Administrative Costs to Sponsored Projects.”)

The Purchasing Card is the preferred method of making small-dollar transactions.

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For further information about prohibited transactions, see

  1. PUR 203, “Prohibited Purchases”


  2. the Financial Services Policies and Procedures ManualFIN 401–03, “Prohibited Transactions.”

For more information on conflict of interest, see the Academic Affairs Policies and Procedures ManualACD 204–08, “Conflict of Interest.”

For information on direct and facilities and administrative costs, see the Research and Sponsored Projects Policies and Procedures ManualRSP 508–01, “Charging Direct and Facilities & Administrative Costs to Sponsored Projects.”

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