Audit Summary

The UW System Office of Internal Audit has completed another round of testing as part of their continuous review of UW Madison purchasing card activity. This round of testing included 91 transactions that posted between 07/30/2016 and 11/04/2016. Sixteen transactions, or 18% of those tested, resulted in a negative audit finding. Please review the compliance issues below:

  • Statement Approval: The auditor identified five instances in which the cardholder and/or site manager did not date the US Bank statement. As such, the auditor was unable to verify whether the statement was reviewed/reconciled in a timely manner. The problem is some users are not submitting the custom Cardholder Account Statement, which includes signature/date lines, but instead are using a Cardholder Activity Report, which only contains signature lines. All cardholders must utilize the Cardholder Account Statement as the official record of their purchasing card activity. After completing their review/reconciliation processes, cardholders and site managers must sign and date the Cardholder Account Statement, which is retained with the supporting documentation and receipts. Cardholders can access the correct statement in Access Online by navigating to Account Information > Cardholder Account Statement.
  • Serial Purchases/Split Transactions: The auditor identified three serial purchases and one split transaction. Both types of purchases involve a total purchase that exceeds a cardholder's single purchase limit. The single purchase limit on UW Madison purchasing cards varies from cardholder to cardholder; however, the maximum single purchase limit allowed is $5,000 (in alignment with the best-judgment purchase limit). When a cardholder splits a purchase to bypass their approved single purchase limit, but the total purchase remains under $5,000, the purchase is considered a split transaction. When a cardholder splits a purchase to bypass their approved single purchase limit AND the $5,000 best-judgment purchase limit, the purchase is considered a serial purchase. Serial purchases bypass procurement requirements and are more severe infractions than split transactions; however, both types of purchases are non-compliant with purchasing card program policy.

    So, what should you do instead? If you are trying to make a purchase that exceeds your single purchase limit, but not the $5,000 best-judgment purchase limit, contact your supervisor and site manager. Determine together if a credit limit increase is appropriate. Submit a request through your Divisional Business Office - via the Account Update Request Form or an email - and wait for the Purchasing Card Program Manager to increase your limit. If you are trying to make a purchase that exceeds the $5,000 best-judgment purchase limit - STOP! Most likely, you do not have authorization to do so. Before proceeding with the purchase, contact Purchasing Services and work with an agent to obtain the goods/services required.
  • Utilizing Shop@UW and Other Campus Resources: The auditor noted six instances in which cardholders purchased supplies and computers from non-contract vendors instead of purchasing from a contract vendor via Shop@UW or other campus resources. In most cases, the same or similar items could be purchased for less from a contract vendor than what was actually paid to the non-contract vendors. Shop@UW should be considered before any other purchasing avenue. By purchasing through Shop@UW, consumers have access to contracted, discounted prices and automatic sales tax exemption. Furthermore, by funneling our purchasing through one common location, the University increases its ability to negotiate fair and desirable pricing on the items we use most. If a cardholder chooses to purchase an item available in Shop@UW from a non-contract source using the purchasing card, he/she should document the business reason behind this decision. Shop@UW training, including online video tutorials, is available at

Purchasing Card Compliance Follow Up

On March 6, 2017, Martha Kerner, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services, sent an email communication to campus stakeholders, purchasing card site managers and purchasing cardholders addressing plans to address compliance issues identified by UW System Office of Internal Audit purchasing card reviews. Please see the email communication here.

Best Practice: Internal Purchases

While many internal vendors (e.g. DoIT Tech Store, campus catering, campus libraries/printing services, Union Hotel) accept payments by credit card, the purchasing card should not be used for purchases between units within the University. Vendors pay a per transaction fee for all credit card payments. To avoid paying these fees as a University, departments should use the Inter Departmental Billing Form, or another internal payment method, to transfer funds from one unit to another.

Access Online Tip of the Month - Real Time Fraud Alerts

US Bank closes approximately one dozen purchasing cards per month on the UW Madison campus due to external fraud. Real-time fraud alerts are available for purchasing card accounts. Cardholders should sign up for this free service and receive notification by text and/or email if and when suspicious activity is detected on their cards. To enroll, please complete the following:

  • Login to Access Online at
  • Navigate to My Personal Information > Account Alerts > Fraud Alerts.
  • Provide or confirm your contact information, select how you like to receive notification (text/email), accept the terms and conditions, and click Submit.
    Note: You MUST scroll through the terms and conditions to activate the "accept" box.
Once enrolled, if you receive a fraud alert via text, your account will be suspended and all subsequent purchasing activity will be declined. You will have 15 minutes to respond "valid" or "fraud". By responding "valid", the fraud block on your card will be cleared and no further transactions will be affected. By confirming "fraud", your card will be protected from additional activity. You can then either call the number provided in the text, or a US Bank fraud agent will contact you shortly via phone. If you receive a fraud alert via email, you should call the service center number provided in the email. You will not be able to respond to the email to clear the fraud.

If you have additional questions, please refer to these FAQs.


If you have any questions or concerns, contact Meghann Grove, Purchasing Card Program Manager.