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

As Accounts Payable Services is responsible for ensuring that the program complies with university policies and procedures, P-Card documentation submissions are reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and propriety of expenditures. Exceptions to GW policies are pursued with the cardholder for resolution. When resolution cannot be attained, the issues are escalated to a higher level, as follows:

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Type of Exception 1st Offense * 2nd Offense * 3rd Offense
No report submitted 45 Days after transactions date: Cardholder and Approver are notified and P-CARD SUSPENDED.
Processing error (1) Cardholder notified Escalated to Approver Escalated to Approver's Supervisor. If not resolved within 5 working days, P-CARD SUSPENDED.
Error in judgment (2) Cardholder and Approver notified Escalated to Approver and Approver's Supervisor P-Card Department will escalate to Executive Director of Procurement and Travel Services for further action
Potential fraud by Cardholder Procurement will escalate this directly to the Finance Director and AVP for Financial Management.

*1st and 2nd Offenses not resolved within 5 working days are automatically escalated to the next level.
(1) This includes items such as missing receipts, reports not completed, unsigned documents, etc.
(2) These are violations of policy as well as the “unwise” transactions discussed in the above section.

These steps are taken to ensure the integrity of the P-Card Program, in keeping with the fiduciary duty of Procurement

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.