Purchasing Card Site Manager Guide

The University of Wisconsin – Madison Purchasing Card Program is designed to expedite the purchasing process and reduce the costs associated with processing low-dollar, best judgment purchase orders.  The site manager is the individual responsible for managing the purchasing cards at the department level.  This guide provides the individual with specific instructions on how to perform their required duties in accordance with the UW – Madison Purchasing Card Policies and Procedures.


Site manager duties include the following:

  • Determining who at the site should receive a card
  • Assisting the approved applicants in obtaining a card
  • Tracking the departmental cards and requesting changes
  • Auditing expenditures on the cards
  • Accessing the transaction information via Access Online
  • Reallocating the transaction funding when necessary
  • Communicating with Program personnel when necessary
  • Ensuring source documents are properly retained for the required seven years


The Department’s Administrative staff and the respective Division/Dean’s Office determine who should be a cardholder.  Anyone on the University of Wisconsin – Madison payroll system that has been approved by their Department and Dean’s Office can be a cardholder.


The individual completes the online purchasing card application and agreement at https://wneta.bussvc.wisc.edu/CardApp/CHApply.aspx .  The application is automatically routed on to the Site Manager, Dean’s Office and Research and Sponsored Programs as well, if 144 funding is indicated as the default coding.  The individual must attend a Purchasing Card training session prior to receiving a card (and Purchasing Card Travel Training if applying for a Travel Purchasing Card).


The cards should always be stored in a secure place.  Some departments keep them locked in a central area, while others allow the individuals to carry them in their own wallet or purse.  The cardholder, site manager, and department administrative staff should agree on where and how the cards are to be kept.  Those with access to the card or any documentation containing the card number should recognize the importance of protecting the account number.  


All changes to a cardholder account are to be submitted in by the site manager via the Account Update Request form. All new requests, changes, and cancellations must be routed through the Dean's Office for approval. A card cannot be transferred from one individual to another.


If a cardholder is on an extended leave of absence consisting of 30 days or more, the card must be deactivated (cycle limit reduced to $1) to prevent misuse or unauthorized use of the card during the individual’s absence.  The card can be reactivated upon the cardholder’s return.  Please use the Account Update Request Form to communicate these changes to your Dean's Office and the Purchasing Card Program Office


When a cardholder leaves the department, cancellation of the card is to take place prior to or immediately following the cardholder’s last day of employment unless extenuating circumstances exist.  Timely cancellation of the card is an integral part of maintaining the integrity of the program.  If all items ordered on the card have been received prior to the cardholder’s departure date, the cardholder is to cut up his/her card and turn it into the department site manager to begin the cancellation process.  The site manager then disposes of the card and completes the Account Update Request Form.

If items remain outstanding or backordered, the cardholder is to cut up the card and turn it over to the site manager for safe keeping until all outstanding orders have posted.  At that point in time, the card is disposed of and the completed Account Update Request Form is routed through the proper channels to initiate the card cancellation process.

Under no circumstances should the department continue to use the card to order supplies and services after the cardholder’s departure date.  Departments must acknowledge the fact that the cardholder is ultimately responsible for all orders placed on the card and continued use of the card after the cardholder’s departure date should not be requested or expected.  The department must respect the cardholder’s rights and responsibilities.  Whenever possible, complete the application forms to obtain a card for the new employee or an interim replacement cardholder prior to the current cardholder’s departure date.


A vendor’s eligibility to do business with the University is contingent upon their compliance with s.16.765, Wis. Stats., which imposes requirements for affirmative action employment. Each vendor must also comply with s.77.66, Wis. Stats., tax laws. Purchasing Card Program Staff will update the Ineligible Vendor Lists quarterly and send the updated list to all campus site managers. Cardholders should either reference our website or contact their site manager for the most current Ineligible Vendor Lists.


The purchasing card is intended for best judgment purchases under $5,000. All purchases must comply with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's purchasing and accounting policies and procedures and with extramural funding agency restriction.

For more information, see the list, Frequently Questioned Purchases.


The original supporting documentation should always be retained in the payment mechanism file; therefore, the original Purchasing Card documentation should be attached to and stored with the Statement of Account Report. A scanned copy of the original is acceptable.

Statement of Account Report: The Statement of Account Report is automatically generated on a bi-weekly basis and sent to the cardholder via e-mail.  The Statement contains the vendor name, transaction date, total dollar amount and default funding string for each transaction posted in the respective two-week cycle.  The Statement must be printed off, signed by the Cardholder and forwarded on to the site manager with the original source documentation.  The Cardholder may also choose to maintain a Cardholder Log.  The site manager signs the Statement of Account Report after the reconciliation process is complete.

Services/Supplies Documentation Requirements

Standard Documentation

Required documentation includes at least one of the following:

  • Invoice
  • Packing Slip
  • Order/Confirmation Screen
  • Cash Register Receipt
  • Registration Form
  • Missing Receipt Form (for occasional use only)

Additional documentation may be required by the cardholder’s department or Dean’s office.  All receipts should be attached to the Statement of Account Report and forwarded to the site manager at the end of the bi-weekly cycle.

Phone/Fax Orders

Attach the enclosed packing slip or invoice when the merchandise is received.  Although the packing slip often times does not have the price of the item included, it is still considered to be acceptable source documentation.  The invoice is preferred over the packing slip and should be attached to the statement if the vendor encloses it in the shipment.

Internet Orders

Print and attach a copy of the order screen or confirmation screen.  The confirmation screen, if available, is preferred over the order screen.

Pick Up Orders

Attach the cash register receipt.  If the itemized detail is not on the receipt, write it in by hand.

Recurring Monthly Charges

Attach the original contract or service agreement to the Statement of Account Report that reflects the first monthly service fee posts. A memo justifying the need for the service should also be attached. Each month thereafter, the recurring fee should be noted as such, since there will be no monthly receipt or additional documentation to attach.


Specific documentation requirements for refreshment breaks, catering, meals, and receptions can be found under the Events/Meals tab.

Subscriptions and Memberships

  • The same subscription, membership or registration cannot be paid twice in one fiscal year
  • The subscription or membership must be mailed to a UW address
  • If purchased from grant funds, the term of the subscription or membership cannot exceed the grant ending date.


Attach a copy of the registration form. Make a second copy of the form to attach to the traveler’s e-Reimbursement receipt packet. The registration is noted in the e-Reimbursement system by selecting “University Prepaid” as the payment type when entering the expense into the system.

Missing Receipt Form

If unable to obtain any type of documentation at all, complete the Missing Receipt Form (intended for occasional use only).

Travel Documentation Requirements

The Purchasing Card cannot be used for travel expenditures unless prior approval has been obtained from the cardholder’s Department and Dean’s Office.  The cardholder and site manager must attend a Purchasing Card Travel Training session prior to using the card for travel-related purchases.


The original travel agency invoice showing a zero-balance or the ticket confirmation if the reservation is made electronically. The invoice/confirmation must contain the following information:

  • Name of the traveler
  • Price of the flight
  • Flight dates and a complete itinerary reflecting the most direct flight available
  • Travel class (must be coach)
  • Purpose of the trip must be written on the invoice/confirmation
  • Signature of the individual that approves the travel for the department

Additional documentation required depending on the circumstances:

  • A total cost comparison when leaving or returning on Saturday/Sunday to obtain cost savings in fare
  • A cost comparison if indirect routing or stopovers are indicated


The hotel folio containing the following information:

  • Name of the traveler
  • Dates of the stay
  • Single room rate and taxes
  • Total price paid
  • Additional documentation required, depending on the circumstances:
  • Conference brochure, if the traveler is staying at the conference hotel
  • Name of the second occupant, if sharing a room
  • Purpose of the call, if business calls are charged to the room

Car Rentals

Car rental contract


The supporting documentation is the official record for the Purchasing Card transactions and must be retained by the department/site manager for seven years.  The site manager is responsible for record retention and ensuring documentation is available for reviews/audits.


Audits and edits should be completed according to the bi-weekly schedule to ensure proper posting to the General Ledger. The bi-weekly cycle and edit deadlines are indicated on the Site Manager Editing Schedule.  The person reconciling the transactions to WISDM or Access Online should not have access to the card. After reconciling the Cardholder Statement and documentation to Access Onlione, the reviewer must sign and date the statement, indicating the review process is complete and the statement has been reconciled. Before approving the transactions, check the following information:

  • Proper documentation must be attached to the statement for each purchase.
  • Question any sales tax charged unless the service/supply is utilized outside the state of Wisconsin. The cardholder must attempt to recover individual tax payments greater than five dollars. All tax recovery attempts should be documented and attached to the source documentation.
  • If inappropriate purchases appear, the employee should return the merchandise to the vendor or the employee should be directed to reimburse the University. If the employee does not reimburse the University within 30 days, the department should take steps to garnish his/her wages. In addition, appropriate disciplinary measures should be taken. See the Noncompliance Policy and Procedures.
  • Check the Ineligible Vendors Lists. If a purchase is made from an ineligible vendor, the cardholder should be asked to return the merchandise. If they are unable to return it, the cardholder may be asked to provide us with an alternative method of payment.


  • The cardholder is to follow-up with the vendor on any erroneous charges, disputed items or returns as soon as possible.
  • Any item that is returned must be returned for credit.  Do not accept a refund in cash or in-store credit for another purchase.
  • If the cardholder is unable to reach an agreement with the vendor, the site manager should dispute the transaction in Access Online. See the Access Online User Guide for Site Managers for specific instructions. Disputes must be filed within 60 days of the transaction date.


The Director of Purchasing Services has signature authority for procurement agreements, however, individual cardholders are considered to have delegated agent authority to sign certain confirmation documents when less than $5,000. Documents that require signatures to confirm arrangements are permitted to be signed by individual cardholders when the document confirms a simple transaction committing the University to pay a specific sum in return for specific, clearly defined product/services. Such documents cannot:

  • exceed a single credit card transaction
  • exceed one year in duration
  • have any automatic renewal language
  • have penalty clauses for termination
  • require the University to “waive” any rights
  • contain any “limits of liability clauses”
  • contain any “hold harmless” or “indemnification” clauses


Sites are required to report all purchasing card transactions processed through Minority Business travel agencies on a monthly basis.  This should be done electronically no later than the 10th of each month at http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/purch/mbtravel.html.  A separate form should be submitted for each Minority Business travel agency used, providing the dollar amount of purchases for the given month.


  • Complete the Site Manager Form
  • Obtain the required signatures and forward the form to the Purchasing Card Program Office at:
    • 21 N. Park Street, Suite 5301, Madison, WI 53715-1218
  • Have the new site manager sign up for Site Manager Training


The Purchasing Card Program is a combined effort of the departmental site managers, UW – Madison Business Services, US Bank and TSYS iSolutions.  Your feedback on policies, procedures and program materials is welcome.  A list of contact people is posted at http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/purchcd/tabcontacts.html.

Purchasing Card Index