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Revised P-Card Policy and Guidelines

Effective March 1

February 15, 2019

For several months, Procurement Services has been reviewing and updating the University's Purchasing Card (P-Card) Policy and Guidelines, which were last reviewed in 2016. Our process entailed:

  • Seeking guidance on best practice from national organizations and Drexel's peer institutions in higher education;
  • Holding a focus group in July 2018 with 14 key Drexel financial administrators to obtain feedback and suggestions on an early draft of the policy and guideline revisions;
  • Incorporating feedback and providing updated drafts to the President's Cabinet in November 2018 to obtain additional comments and feedback;
  • Evaluating feedback and making further revisions; and
  • Presenting the final draft of the revised policy and guidelines to Cabinet in January 2019, where they were approved to take effect on March 1, 2019.

The University's revised Purchasing Card Policy and associated guidelines and forms are now published on the Procurement Services website. Below are some of the reasons behind the revisions, highlighted changes, and information about trainings on the new policy.

Why are these revisions needed?

  • To keep Drexel current with best practice in both the higher education and procurement industries by committing to cyclical review of existing guidelines.
    • There has been an industry shift toward steering goods and services spending away from P-Cards over to procure-to-pay systems, providing better fiscal oversight of university spending and better capture data used in contract negotiations.
    • Currently 15 percent of Drexel's overall spend is done on P-Cards, whereas most universities, including several of our local peers, now trend under 10 percent.
  • While the majority of Drexel cardholders are diligent in adhering to our policies, there have been significant audit findings surrounding unallowable purchases, including excessive and inappropriate purchases, and some involving restricted research funds, which expose the University to risk.

We understand this transition will take time, and we are here to work with you on how best to redirect some of your spend.

What are some of the highlights?

  • A consistent schedule has been established for online reconciliation and Transaction Allocation Report submission in lieu of the current rolling deadlines.
  • There will be an annual online compliance training through Career Pathway for cardholders to refresh their knowledge of the P-Card Policy and processes. The training will launch on June 1, 2019, to be completed by July 15. Procurement Services will help guide you through this process.
  • Allowable Purchases, Allowable with Restrictions, and Prohibited Purchases are clearly defined, with examples where appropriate.
  • A process has been defined and a new form is available for P-Card prohibited purchase exceptions, allowing flexibility to discuss unique purchasing circumstances.
  • Alcohol purchases that are allowed under the policy no longer need to be on a separate receipt. Alcohol will be reconciled as a part of the overall meal expense.
  • Electronic receipts are now an acceptable form of documentation, as long as they are stored on a University network drive.
  • Violation consequences for cardholders and approvers are more clearly defined, with greater leniency for first offenses, however progressively more significant actions as offenses escalate.
  • Sales tax exemption language has been revised to better explain the necessity, as well as provide guidance on how to make a best effort to manage the process and document results when traveling.

How do I learn more?

  • Review the updated P-Card Policy and Guidelines, and the associated Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Attend one of the information sessions listed below. Please RSVP using this survey.
    • Center City: Feb. 14, 1:30-3 p.m., Three Parkway, Room 1043
    • University City: Feb. 15, 9:30-11 a.m. or 1:30-3 p.m., Gerri C. LeBow Hall, Room 108
    • University City: Feb. 22, 9:30-11 a.m., Gerri C. LeBow Hall, Room 108
    • University City: Feb. 22, 1:30-3 p.m., Gerri C. LeBow Hall, Room 408
  • Contact us directly at with any questions you may have at any time.

We will also be moving the P-Card application online through JP Morgan, as well as rolling out online reconciliation approvals in a phased approach throughout the remainder of FY19 into FY20.

Procurement Services is grateful to all of the faculty and professional staff members who have provided valuable feedback over the last several months, and we look forward to working with our community as we transition our current practices. We appreciate the time you have taken to review the updated P-Card Policy and Guidelines and encourage you to attend one of our information sessions to learn more or ask questions.