P-Cards Part 3 - The conference

By Kristy Varda posted 03-17-2017 10:56

  

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Bank of America Annual P-Card conference for my state.  Yes the Commonwealth of Virginia has a contract with them for government credit cards and they cohost an annual event.   Since I am new to being a P-Card administrator I went to the conference to gain ideas on how to better utilize the resources available through BofA, best practices on audits, compliance issues and in general learn how others were managing their programs. 

I have to say while it was a long day (2.5 hr drive each way with 8 hrs of conference in between) I learned a lot and made some new connections!

First lets talk about the things I learned to look for when I start auditing the spend of my organization.

  • Check for vendors that by pass the MCC restriction tables
  • Sort transactions by MCCs to see if any others being used are questionable
  • Search by key words
  • Get used to pulling 3rd level data

The next item that was hit on a lot at the conference is using the audits/compliance checks as a means to build relationships with your end users.  (Who would have thought that policing transactions could lead to better relationships?!!) Communication between you and the end user builds rapport and can lead to them asking permission rather than forgiveness. Being consistent in asking questions then makes it easier later on when you do see something that just doesn't look right.   Have monthly meetings to stay in touch.

Fraud Happens!  It happens to all of us, so reassure your end user and help them to resolve the issues.

Violations - personal use and other known violations, work with HR/Management to address as appropriate.  (Management Support is key here and not all of us have it... if you don't, Document, Document, Document!!!)

Continuing with the Audit topic don't forget to look for split transactions!  Train and retrain as often as possible to ensure there is no confusion on what they can and cannot do.  Reconcilers and Account Managers are people too, don't assume they know everything, training and retraining them is important so that they can help you to help them.

Use your reports!  Declined Transaction reports can show you if levels need to be increased, attempts at fraud, and other issues.  Single Transaction limit reports can show you if someone is splitting a transaction.  Audit reports by vendor can let you know if you may need to go out to bid for that commodity.  Use the 13 month report to help find cards you may not need anymore...

Needless to say the wheels are turning and plans being formulated to improve and grow our program... hope this helps you with yours too!

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03-23-2017 08:49

Good comments Kristy. I am not a big proponent of one bank over another when it comes to p-cards but the BOA seems to at least stay with us on innovations and government issues. Here in Georgia our program is receiving  major scrutiny because of some recent illegal actions by persons who should know better. The result as I have always predicted was an over-reaction by our statewide offices that will lead to even more superfluous controls. Happy sailing in your program!