Who Should Receive Purchasing Cards?
Setting Transaction and Monthly Dollar Limits
Monthly Limits Over $100,000
Inter-Ministry and Inter-Program Purchases
Authority to Implement the Purchasing Card Program
Overall Responsibility with the Senior Financial Officer
Issuing Purchasing Cards
3.0 Authority to Use the Purchasing Card
are issued under the general control of the expense authority whose budget will
be charged with the expenditures. It is the expense authority's responsibility
to ensure that card expenditures are within his/her budget allocation.
Where a cardholder is required
to make purchases that will be charged to several budget allocations, the issuance
of the card should be approved by the senior financial officer or expense authority
who has applicable delegation over the budget areas.
When an employee receives
a purchasing card, that individual may not re-delegate the authority to any
other individual. Only the employee whose name is embossed on the purchasing
card may make purchases using the card. These restrictions provide a basis for
expense authorities to determine whether or not a transaction has been properly
Before making any purchases
with the purchasing card, cardholders are required to obtain authorization (preferably
in writing/email) from the expense authority to whose budget the purchase will
be charged. When a cardholder makes purchases for more than one organizational
unit, obtaining written expense authority up front is most advantageous as it
eliminates the possibility of any misunderstanding about which items are to
be purchased. Expense authority is required to initiate a transaction and is
applied "per transaction", however, expense authorities must still
ensure that total expenditures made with the card remain within their budget
Should Receive Purchasing Cards?
There are two general guidelines
for establishing who is to receive a purchasing card:
- cardholders will be people
who are most likely to make purchases for organizational units; and
- organizational units
will likely need a primary and a backup cardholder.
The first guideline was
developed to place a level of control and security on the program by limiting
the number of individuals who are issued purchasing cards.
The second guideline was
developed to ensure that there are no disruptions to operations in the absence
of the primary cardholder.
Transaction and Monthly Dollar Limits
Transaction and monthly
limits should be set annually based on actual requirements and must be within
the budget allocation of the expense authority to whose budget the expenditures
will be charged. Transaction and monthly limits above $10,000 require the additional approval
of Procurement Services Branch, Shared Services BC.
Limits Over $100,000
Monthly card limits over
$100,000 require the approval of the Office of the Comptroller General. The
request for approval should be submitted with a business case that discusses:
- the reasons the high
limit card is necessary;
- other options; and
- measures that will be
taken to safeguard the high limit card.
Card coordinators should
be aware that the job descriptions of employees receiving purchasing cards may
have to be reviewed to ensure that purchasing duties are reflected.
and Inter-Program Purchases
In exceptional cases cardholders
in one ministry may be required to make purchases for another ministry. In such
cases, the ministry paying for the purchases should authorize the purchasing
card by completing the Request For Card/Card Detail Change form. A copy
of the form should be kept by the purchasing card coordinators in each ministry.
If the employee has purchasing
requirements in both ministries, he or she must be issued a purchasing card
for each ministry. Card coordinators should ensure that employees with two purchasing
cards can distinguish between cards to avoid incorrect charges. One way of accomplishing
this is to place a sticker on the back of the card, directly below the cardholder
signature block. The sticker should indicate the ministry or program for which
the card should be used when making purchases.
to Implement the Purchasing Card Program
The last stage of implementing
the Purchasing Card Program in a ministry is issuing cards. A number of components,
listed below, must be in place before cardholders receive their cards. The senior
financial officer must inform the Government Card Coordinator in writing that
all the necessary elements are (or will be) in place and that the program is
ready to proceed.
The requisite elements are:
procedures are approved by the senior financial officer (after consultation
with the Office of the Comptroller General);
Card Coordinator and Alternate are formally appointed by the senior financial
officer and trained by Shared Services BC;
are trained; and
- the Request for Card/Card Detail Change form and the Government Purchasing
Once all elements are in
place, the Government Card Coordinator will assist the ministry purchasing card
coordinator in setting up the program in the BMO details Online system.
This will include setting up the ministry hierarchy points, the ministry purchasing
card coordinator/alternate and the cardholders with the appropriate rolls and
Responsibility with the Senior Financial Officer
The senior financial officer
has the overall responsibility for the administration of the ministry's Purchasing
Card Program. The senior financial officer must ensure that there are appropriate
controls in place before purchasing cards are issued which includes the appropriate
training for cardholders, expense authorities and the purchasing card coordinator/alternate.
Purchasing cards are ordered
by the ministry purchasing card coordinator using the BMO details Online
system. Cards will normally be sent to the purchasing card coordinator within
five to seven working days who will distribute the cards to the cardholders.