TO: Deans, Directors, and Department Heads

FROM: Edward A. Johnson
Associate VP for Administration/Controller

Rebecca E. Anchor
Director of Purchasing & Central Services

DATE: August 23, 2006

SUBJECT: Mandatory Use of the CitiBank Visa Procurement Cards for Purchases
under $500

In April 2001, the Office of the New York State Comptroller issued Accounting Bulletin No. G-196 to establish best practices for all New York State agencies regarding the processing of small dollar purchases. The Bulletin urges all State agencies to develop and implement payment procedures that will decrease the number of small dollar purchases, and identified the following preferred methods of payment: purchasing cards, travel cards, petty cash, and travel advance accounts.

In support of this new policy, the College’s Purchasing and Accounts Payable Departments implemented new procurement and distribution guidelines for small dollar purchases in fall 2001 that required close review of all purchase requisitions under $250 to determine whether they could be processed with the procurement card. When the supplier accepted the procurement card, the purchase requisitions were returned to the department for processing with their P-card. Departments were receptive to this change and, since 2001, have made nearly 11,000 small dollar transactions with their procurement cards for a total dollar value of more than $2.2 million!

In response to a recent audit by the State Comptroller, and in the continuing effort to improve efficiency, the College will be expanding its policy on the use of the P-card for small dollar purchases. Effective October 1, 2006, the Citibank Visa Procurement Card must be used as the form of payment for all purchases under $500. As an added convenience, please note that cardholders are allowed to use their P-Card for authorized purchases up to $2,500 per transaction. However, mandatory use only applies to procurements under $500.

The only procurements exempt from this policy will be:

(1) Items that have been identified as restricted from purchase with the P-Card, such as items related to travel and entertainment (gasoline, airfare, car rental, lodging, meals, etc.), chemicals and specialty gases/cylinder rentals, radioactive materials, computer systems (peripherals and components are allowable), controlled substances, live animals, leases, insurance, and when a written agreement needs to be signed by a representative of the College; and

(2) Rare instances when the item(s) or service cannot be procured from a supplier who accepts Visa as a form of payment.

When a department is not able to identify a supplier who accepts Visa, they may submit the order to the Purchasing Department on a purchase requisition for processing. However, the department must attach a brief justification to the requisition indicating that (1) the supplier does not accept Visa as a form of payment and (2) the department was not able to successfully locate an alternate supplier who accepts Visa.

Next week, Tom Underwood, Procurement Card Program Administrator, will begin contacting those departments that currently do not have at least one Citibank Visa cardholder, so that a card may be ordered and training rendered well in advance of the October 1, 2006 deadline. If your department would like to expedite the process, you may contact Tom immediately at ext. 5100 or After October 1, any purchase requisitions received for goods and services having a value of less than $500, as described above, will be returned to the requisitioning department if they (1) have not signed up for a card or (2) have a P-card, but have not used it.

Your continued support of this initiative to process small dollar transactions more efficiently is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca Anchor or Tom Underwood at ext. 5100. Thank you, in advance, for your attention and understanding in this matter.