ProCard Project standardizes policies, processes and practices with a focus on stewardship

The ProCard, or procurement card,  plays an important procurement role in day-to-day business across the university. The ProCard Office, which administers ProCards, is committed to compliance and controls while safeguarding university funds through standardized policies, processes and practices. To do this effectively, the ProCard Office launched the ProCard Policy and Process Improvement Project in 2018 and continues to rollout the project and refine processes.

Procurement and Payment Services Manager Sara Palacios had a quick answer when asked what is different about ProCard policies and responsibilities within this new framework of integrity and more recently the response to the pandemic.

“Pretty much everything,” Palacios said.

Palacios explained that the project focuses on improving the ProCard’s internal controls and compliance, creating a culture of integrity, trust and accountability. Throughout the project, the ProCard team has remained committed to making the processes more efficient, effective and easier to understand for ProCard holders across campus.

According to Palacios, the project’s significance was further reinforced with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which spotlighted even more the importance of good stewardship over university resources. The ProCard Office has urged cardholders and managers to consider how essential purchases are to business operations as well as to be mindful and strategic in their spending.

Palacios explained that as part of the project rollout the ProCard team is providing new guidance and resources to help the university’s ProCard holders make sound purchasing decisions in ways they had not done before. All current and new cardholders must begin the process by applying for a ProCard once they are contacted by their CSU’s business officer. Once approved, cardholders must then attend a live, virtual ProCard training session via Zoom. Reconcilers and Final Approvers are highly encouraged to attend these sessions as well. The team also offers live, virtual Zoom trainings for Amazon Business Prime once the ProCard training is completed, another new procurement resource.

Following the ProCard training, cardholders receive a slide deck and a link to the ProCard website as well as a link to a ProCard reference kit in Box. Additionally, the team sends regular email reminders and resources to ProCard holders, keeping them informed of changes and current expectations. Reconcilers and final approvers must also now attend the ProCard trainings -- another new part of the process.

From an auditing standpoint, the ProCard team now runs ProCard Daily Spend by CSU Reports, giving colleges, schools and units (CSUs) a clear picture of their daily transactions. Palacios stated that this provides an elevated level of transparency with a focus on stewardship, giving everyone an opportunity to be good stewards of university funds.

“This report was designed and implemented in mid-May to provide CSU business officers with fairly real-time data into the expenditures occurring within their units via the ProCard,” Palacios said. “The post-audit, singular report is still pulled daily and organized alphabetically by CSU in an effort to provide transparency for leadership into spend.”

Summing up the ProCard effort, Palacios said the ProCard team has tried to remove the guesswork with the new Business Procedures.

“People no longer have to ‘read between the lines,’ as rules and policies are laid out very clearly,” Palacios said.

The ProCard project rollout is continuing, although with a number of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such changes include allowing off campus shipments for those who are working remotely and offering electronic document resource options to support social distancing.To date, 48 percent of units on campus have completed the rollout within their CSU and approximately 52 percent are currently doing so. Trainings began in January 2020, and the ProCard team intends to complete trainings across campus by the end of the 2020 calendar year. For more information on the ProCard Policy and Process Improvement Project’s timeline, visit the Procard website.

To see ProCard team guidance during the pandemic, visit ProCard Coronavirus Guidance for Cardholders and Managers.

Stewardship FAS value graphic
Oct. 1, 2020