Purchase Card Compliance

St. Olaf College sponsors a Purchase Card program enabling employees to make business related purchases for goods and standard (not professional) services.  It is a cost-effective method of paying for purchases and travel expenses. Uses of the purchase card should:

  • Provide cost savings through consolidated payments (one monthly payment made by the Business Office to Wells Fargo verses multiple vendor payments)
  • Reduce paperwork and processing time in the employee’s department, as well as in the Accounts Payable Office
  • Enhance the purchasing options available to departments
  • Provide an alternative to personal reimbursements

Purchases made through this program must comply with:

The VISA card may NOT be used for:

  • Personal purchases or to loan to others
  • On campus purchases (e.g. Bookstore, Bon Appetit locations), because the College will be assessed fees for processing the credit card
  • Personal services from individuals (1099 non-employee compensation): consultants, speakers, and other personal services. These payments must be requested using a St. Olaf check request form and a properly completed IRS W-9 form.

You are asked to treat this program with the same sense of responsibility and security you would use for your personal credit cards. Violations of procedures or abuse will result in immediate deactivation of your card and possible disciplinary action.

To use the card, an individual must be on the College payroll and be authorized to do so by department head, dean, or designee.

Who needs to know these Procedures

These procedures apply to all St. Olaf faculty, staff, and students who use a St. Olaf College credit card.

Cardholder Responsibilities

  • You are responsible for the transactions identified on your statement. You must be able to produce original itemized receipts and prove that the transactions are expenditures for College related purposes. You will be required to reimburse the College within 30 days of the transaction date with personal funds for any activity you are unable to properly substantiate as a business expense.
  • Making sure that sales tax is not charged on exempt purchases. St. Olaf is not tax exempt for purchases of prepared meals, lodging, airline tickets, rental cars, and gas.
  • Reviewing your monthly statement online, verifying that all transactions are valid and coded correctly, entering descriptions, and hitting “Review Complete” by the grace period end date noted online (typically 5 calendar days from when the original email stating that statement is ready for review was received).
  • Obtaining original itemized receipts or other required documentation for every transaction and attaching them to a copy of your monthly statement.
  • Offering a copy of the monthly statement with attached required documentation to approver and verifying that approver completes online review.
  • Submitting monthly statement with attached required documentation to the Accounts Payable Office by the 8th working day of the following month.

Approver Responsibilities

  • Approving the monthly statement online after reviewing descriptions and reasonableness of purchases by hitting “Approval Complete” button by the due date specified online (usually 4 calendar days from when the cardholder was required to complete their review).
  • Optional – Requesting a copy of the monthly statement with attached required documentation if the approver would like to see additional backup regarding the purchases made.

If a charge should not be approved, complete online approval and contact the Accounts Payable Office for possible disciplinary action, including restitution of the charge and/or deactivation of card.

Required Documentation

An itemized receipt or substitute documentation must support each purchase. The preferred documentation is listed below in order of preference:

  • An original receipt or invoice from the vendor including vendor name, transaction amount, and date.
  • Itemized description of the item(s) purchased.
  • For meals, include the names of individuals at the meal or attach a roster of names in attendance.
  • Alcohol is only allowed for instances specified in the travel policy. If alcohol is allowed, specify names and titles of individuals for which the alcohol was served.
  • Sales tax should not be paid, except for prepared meals, lodging, rental cars, airline tickets, and gas (see sales tax paragraph above).
  • Copies or facsimiles of the original receipt or invoice.
  • A packing slip, statement, or other documentation received from the vendor.
  • A screen-print or order confirmation email, when making Internet purchases, or a copy of an order form that was mailed to a vendor to request an item.
  • If the cardholder is unable to obtain the above listed preferred documentation, a completed Receipt Template Form can be used to document the transaction and verify it was for official St. Olaf business.

Please note that a merchant should not reject a request for a receipt detailing merchandise price, sales/use tax, freight, etc. be included with the goods mailed/shipped. This is a VISA policy.

Please WARN VENDORS NOT TO SEND BILLS TO ACCOUNTS PAYABLE as it may result in a duplicate payment.

Enforcement / Penalties

The following will happen in order to avoid the IRS requirement that transactions not substantiated within 60 days of when they were incurred be considered taxable income:

  • Cut-off date reminder when your statement is ready
  • 15 day reminder (middle of next month) that the card will be deactivated at the end of the month
  • 30 day reminder that the card has been deactivated
  • The card will remain deactivated until all transactions are properly documented and cannot be reinstated for a minimum period of three months after the transactions are properly documented. Any transactions not properly documented within 60 days of when the expense was incurred will be either reduced from the cardholder’s paycheck or added to the cardholder’s income.
  • If problems continue after the card is reinstated, the card will be canceled permanently at the discretion of the Purchase Card Administrator.

The College will seek restitution for any inappropriate purchases made with the card. In certain instances of abuse, the cardholder may be subject to additional personnel disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.