By Lynn Larson CPCP
Are your Purchasing Card (P-Card) policies and procedures (P&P) helping or hurting your program? How do you know? Repeated cardholder questions and compliance issues are two signs that your P&P are due for a reassessment. Subsequent revitalization of the P&P can cure these ailments and provide the necessary structure for program growth. If your organization is new to P-Cards, create healthy P&P from the start to prevent a weak link in the program.
In my program management days, the P&P were usually the last thing I worked on because I was too busy resolving other issues. This is why I developed a guide that makes the process easier, walking you through five building blocks of effective P&P:
If you are lucky, the P&P are accurate, but they could be lacking in other ways. Ensure you incorporate procedure-writing best practices. For example, do the P&P reflect a second-person point of view, speaking to your target audience—the users (e.g., cardholders, managers)? This style is generally friendlier and more concise than third-person point of view, and helps the user connect with the material.
For online P&P, give careful thought to your navigation, so employees can quickly find what they need. Create a P-Card program home page that serves as a “go-to” landing page. At the top, include the name of the program manager or administrator and full phone number. Also include a “Program News” statement or something similar to highlight a current key message, such as an audit outcome or the achievement of a program goal. The body of the home page should be a table of contents with links to each topic-specific page.
Consider beginning the contents with a P-Card overview that would serve as a quick summary for anyone, including managers, who are looking for a basic understanding of the program. Such an overview provides background, helping to establish program buy-in throughout the organization. The guide includes an example.
For more details about the guide, which sells for just $29.99, please visit Recharged Education.
Lynn Larson, CPCP, has more than 15 years of Purchasing Card experience. Her previous job roles include education manager for the NAPCP and P-Card program manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. She has held the Certified Purchasing Card Professional (CPCP) credential since June 2007. In January 2014, she founded Recharged Education LLC, which focuses on Commercial Card training, consulting and educational resources (www.recharged-education.com).
George E. Krauter
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