Approver Responsibilities

The Approver Role

An Approver is the individual assigned to a Cardholder to ensure compliance with procurement card policies and with university fiscal and procurement rules by reviewing the transactions found on an expense report. A Cardholder cannot function as his or her own Approver. The Approver plays a critical role in ensuring the integrity of the procurement card program at the departmental level.  Approvers are responsible for:

  • Attending P-Card training;
  • Reviewing all online simulations for iBuy+ Expense Reporting Training;
  • Monitoring transactions of assigned Cardholder(s) for appropriateness of purchase;
  • Ensuring adequate transaction documentation, including explanation of business purpose for unusual purchases;
  • Identifying possible violations of assigned Cardholder(s);
  • Taking appropriate action if violations are found;
  • Ensuring expense reports are submitted by the Cardholder within 30 days of the transaction date;
  • Approving expense reports within 15 days of the submission date; and,
  • Notifying the P-Card Program of changes in departmental program participants.

Supporting Documentation

Approvers must ensure transactions have the required documentation. If the required documentation is lost, or if the merchant did not provide documentation, the Cardholder should contact the merchant directly to request it. If the required documentation cannot be obtained, the Cardholder must explain the situation in the Comments field in the Expense Report. 

Per university policy, purchases of $35 or less do not require the submission of a receipt when submitting an expense report in the iBuy + Expense Reporting System. It is the Cardholder's responsibility to gather and retain supporting documentation for their P-Card purchases. This documentation will take the form of a supplier-produced document that contains detailed information regarding the transaction. This includes cash register receipts, charge slips, invoices, and/or computer screen printouts. The documentation should always contain the following information:

  • merchant name and address
  • unit prices
  • transaction total amount
  • transaction date
  • transaction details: item description(s),quantities ordered and received

For travel and entertainment expenses, additional documentation may be required, such as hotel folios, airline flight coupons, etc. Additionally, business meals and entertainment require special notes submitted via the iBuy+ Expense Reporting system, such as:

  • attendees’ names, titles and affiliations (company or organization).  If this is a meal with just yourself, then you must add your name as attendee.
  • the specific business purpose of the meal/entertainment.  

Escalation Procedure for Exceptions

Notification Protocol for Delinquent Reporting

NOTE: Please review the iBuy Expense Reporting Frequently Asked Questions located on the GW iBuy site for more information about expense reporting. 

 

What is the purpose of the protocol?

The protocol has multiple purposes as described below.

  • Obtain immediate action from employees and PCard holders to submit an expense report to address the aging charges.
  • Define the escalation path when timely action by the PCard holder does not occur. At 40 days, escalation to the employee’s manager will occur.
  • Define appropriate time frame for additional corrective activity such as declining reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, suspension of PCard privileges and including the amount on the employee’s W-2.

 

Why is the protocol being implemented?

The protocol is being implemented to promote timely submission of expense reports and timely recognition of the related expenses.

 

Who is included in the protocol?

The protocol includes all purchasing card (PCard) holders, without exception.

 

When will the charge privileges be revoked?

Revocation of charge privileges will occur when charges remain unsubmitted at 60 days from the card’s transaction date. In addition, the charges will be reported on the employees’ Form W-2 at 60 days, if no action is taken. Once charges are added to an employee’s W-2 form, the related expenses will not be reversed and the W-2 will not be amended.

 

When will charges be reported on employees’ W-2 forms?

Charges will be reported on employees’ W-2 60 days after the transaction date if no action is taken to address them through the submission of an expense report. Once charges are added to an employee’s W-2, the related expenses will not be reversed and the W-2 will not be amended.

 

Will card privileges be reinstated when the expense reports are submitted or the charges are included on the employee’s W-2?

Once PCard privileges are revoked, the PCard holder will be barred from reapplying for a PCard for a year.  An employee can request a PCard, which will be reviewed by the finance director and Procurement, after one year from the suspension.   If privileges are revoked a second time for delinquent reporting, the suspension will be permanent.

 

Can I apply for a new PCard if my charge privileges are revoked?

After 60 days without action, an employee will be barred from reinstating the revoked PCard for a year. An employee can request a PCard after a year, and that request will be reviewed by the finance director and Procurement. If privileges are revoked a second time for delinquent reporting, the suspension will be permanent.

 

How is the aging of a transaction being calculated?

Aging is calculated by using the transaction date reported by the card company and the current date.

 

What if I submit an expense report but approval does not occur in a timely manner?

The aging of the PCard transaction stops when it is included in a submitted expense report. The employee will not be impacted by a submitted expense report pending approval by management, OVPR, Accounts Payable or others involved in the approval process.

 

What if the aged charges are related to fraudulent activity?

No aging of fraudulent charges should occur. Employees who have a university PCard have a responsibility to review charges in a timely manner for accuracy and validity. If a fraudulent charge occurs, timely reporting of the charge to JP Morgan, the card issuer, must occur. Once the fraudulent charge is reported, JP Morgan will issue a provisional credit. The charge and the credit should be submitted on the same expense report.  If an employee through inactivity allows a fraudulent charge to remain unreported to the card-issuing company, he or she is responsible for the aged transaction pursuant to this protocol.

 

What if I submit an expense report but it is returned to me by one of the approvers?

Unsubmitted transactions are defined as transactions not yet included on an expense report or included on an expense report but not yet submitted for approval.

 

What if I cannot locate a receipt for one of the aged charges?

Contact the merchant and request a copy of the itemized, detailed receipt. Most merchants, including hotels, car rental agencies, and restaurants, will provide a copy of a receipt upon request.

If a copy of the receipt cannot be obtained from the merchant, either the Missing Receipt Affidavit form accessed by the Attach Receipt button within your report or the Missing Acknowledgement and Approval Form must be uploaded as the receipt.  Delegates must use the Missing Receipt Acknowledgement and Approval Form.

Please note that only expenses above $35.00 must be reported. The form must be completed in its entirety, signed by the employee and approved by the management representative to whom the employee reports. Note that the form is not intended to replace a missing/lost receipt on a consistent basis.  Lost/missing receipts should be infrequent and unusual, as most receipts can be reprinted or easily requested (i.e., hotels, catering, restaurants if the date is provided) from the merchant, and they should generally be for small dollar amounts.

 

What if I am on extended business travel with limited access to the internet and cannot submit my expense report?

Expense reports must be submitted as often as access to the internet is available. Alternatively, an option is to make arrangements through your finance director to assign a delegate who can submit the report(s) on your behalf while you are on travel. This requires, however, providing the delegate with the receipts and the pertinent information to allow him/her to accurately create and submit a timely report on your behalf. Although a delegate is assigned, it does not diminish your responsibility for the expense reports’ timely completion and accuracy.

 

When will new employees be aware of the protocol?

Any new employee who will hold a PCard will receive training on the protocol as part of the PCard training. The PCard training is required before a PCard is issued.

 

When can I submit an expense report?

Employees are encouraged to submit expense reports as frequently as possible to ensure timely recognition of the related expenses and to prevent PCard transactions from aging. Therefore, an employee who is on extended travel should submit reports during the travel and not wait until his/her return to the office. Travelers can use tools such as the Concur Mobile App for smartphones to facilitate uploading receipt images and submitting expense reports at home or while traveling.

 

I purchase tickets and other travel costs 60 days or more ahead of a trip to get good prices. If we can’t submit expenses until after the trip is over; how do we avoid an issue with the 60 day policy?

Out of pocket transactions should be submitted within 60 days following the completion of travel.  Conversely, travel purchased on a P-card should be submitted within 30 days of the transaction date.  It’s recommended that costs be put on a P-Card whenever possible and not a personal card.

 

My out of pocket expenses are only for purchases and not travel.  What date do I use for the under 60 day requirement? 

The transaction date on the receipt.

 

What do I do if my PTA number is not available in time to submit within the 60 days.

 

Please reach out to Donna Ginter to assist if your trip is nearing the 60 day time frame. Alternatively, you may assign any expense to your R or C fund, and then transfer the charge to the PTA once established.  We cannot take action on awards until which time OVPR has built them within the Grants module.

Transferring Departments or Leaving GW

If you are transferring departments or leaving GW, you are not able to keep your GW P-Card.

If you transfer to another department, you must contact the P-Card Department prior to your final day in your old position via email only,  with the following information:

  • Email to:  pcard@gwu.edu
  • CC to: your Finance Director/Manager
  • Subject: Cancel P-Card Account

Include the following information in the body of your email:  Indicate that the GW P-Card (include the last 4 digests only) that was assigned to you was destroyed.    You will be responsible to reconcile these and any transactions you incurred for GW.  The P-Card Department will then cancel your assigned P-Card and your Financial Director/Manager (who must be CC'ed).

To obtain a new P-Card, a separate transaction/email is needed from you.  Please fill out a new P-Card Enrollment Form (PDF) to obtain a new GW P-Card for the new department.

If you are leaving GW, you must notify the P-Card Office prior to leaving GW via email only with the following information:

  • Email to:  pcard@gwu.edu
  • CC to: your Finance Director/Manager
  • Subject:  Cancel P-Card Account

Include the following information in the body of your email:  Indicate that the GW P-Card (include the last 4 digits only) that was assigned to you was destroyed.  Include the information of any outstanding transactions that are not reconciled with Accounts Payable.  This information should be the dates of these transaction, business reason, attendee’s names (if needed), Itemizations (if needed), Oracle Alias (if charges should be assigned to another) and any other information needed for these transactions. All receipts for these transactions must be included as attachments.  The P-Card Department will then cancel your assigned P-Card and your Financial Director/Manager (who must be CC’ed) will use the additional information to reconcile the outstanding transactions.

NOTE: For your protection and GW’s it is required that this information is done via email to the P-Card Department along with your Financial Director as opposed to verbal notification.  These steps are taken to ensure the integrity of the P-Card Program, in keeping with the fiduciary duty of Procurement.