Frequently Asked Questions - PCard Compliance

General Questions

The PCard is used for traditional small dollar purchases that the total cost does not exceed $10,000 including freight and tax. Suggested uses include but are not limited to: operating supplies; books, lab equipment; computer equipment; subscriptions; conference registration fees; professional membership and dues. The PCard is to be used for University of Arizona business only, not for personal use. All transactions made using the PCard must be reasonable and support the University's mission of education, research and public service. Forms relevant to PCard transactions can be found on the Forms page.
An expenditure is considered reasonable if: the nature of the goods or services acquired and the amount involved reflect the actions of a prudent person under the circumstances, the expenditure is appropriate given the purpose of the University, and reimbursement for, or direct payment of the expenditure is not disallowed by any University policy.

Reimbursements to the University should be provided to the Bursar's Office for deposit. The account # and object code of the original PCard expense should be utilized for the deposit. Please email a scanned copy of the Cash Receipt to Financial Compliance as a proof that the University was reimbursed.

The free “promotional items” should go to the Business Manager for your department. This free “promotional item” must be used for the benefit of the Department in line with the funding source and applicable policies unique to the situation. See PCard Policy 14.6 Purchase Rewards.

PCard Administration will be happy to assist you in handling these items. They can be contacted at 520-626-9091.

Documentation Requirements

All PCard transactions (PCDO) must include:

  1. An original invoice/receipt attached to the Notes and Attachments tab on the PCDO. Original invoices/receipts must include:
    • Name of the vendor
    • A title/description of each item purchased
    • An amount for each item purchased
    • Any tip (may be handwritten)
    • Tax (if charged)
    • Shipping (if charged)
    • Other fees charged
    • A total that matches the charge to the PCard
  2. A business purpose for the expenditure. The business purpose provides justification for why the expenditure was incurred, how it benefited the University of Arizona, and how it complied with all laws and regulations. For example:
    • Lab supplies for Dr. Owen’s research project
    • Office supplies for business or mission of the college or department
    • Food for departmental team building meeting
    • Scientific journal subscription for department library
    • Airline ticket for a University employee to attend a conference and the benefit to the College/Department. Include the Travel Authorization #.
  3. In addition to the business purpose, the following common PCard purchases require the documentation listed in the table below:
Type of Purchase Documents Required Notes
Airline Ticket
  • Original Itemized receipt with the name of the traveler and itinerary listed on the invoice.
  • The Travel Authorization number
  • Citizenship of the traveler and their affiliation to the University
  • If an alternate route or dates were selected please provide a comparison of charges (Direct vs. alternate route) to justify the expenditure. University funds may be used for the most economic route. Any additional charge due to alternate route/date is considered a personal purchase and is not allowed.
  • Airline tickets are not allowed to be purchased for foreign visitors
  • Travel upgrades are not allowed unless there is justification on the Travel Authorization form
  • Original itemized receipt with the name of the attendee
  • Conference flyer
  • Citizenship of the attendee
  • If the attendee is a student, please explain the University's benefit from their attendance
Food items and/or Restaurant
  • Original Itemized receipt that includes tips and the total transaction amount matching UAccess Financials
  • Agenda
  • List of attendees and their affiliation with the University
  • A detailed business purpose
  • Tips should not be greater than 20% of the total amount
  • A PCard Purchase Authorization form may be used to document the business purpose, list of attendees and their affiliation to the University.
  • Original Itemized receipt for gas purchase
  • For University vehicle - University Vehicle Tag # and VIN or License Plate #
  • For rental vehicle – eDOC # associated with purchase of rental vehicle
  • Not allowed for use in personal vehicle
Rental Vehicle
  • Original Itemized receipt with the driver’s name listed on the receipt.
  • The Travel Authorization number
  • Driver’s affiliation to the University
  • Rental Cars purchase is not allowed for Non-University personnel
Any relevant information that justifies the University business purpose of the expense can be included in the Notes and Attachments section of the document. Do not include security sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, Bank Routing Numbers, Bank Account Numbers etc. If you have any questions, contact Financial Compliance at or 520-621-9097.

If all the required information is attached to the Notes and Attachments, additional forms are not required. Departments may use the Purchase Authorization Form, or create their own form if they choose.

No, please do not send in any hard copies or statements to Financial Services. Statements can be retained by the department and should be handled according to policy for confidential and security sensitive information.

The inclusion of packing slips as part of PCard documentation is optional.

  • Business units are responsible for maintaining all original receipts and supporting documentation until record retention requirements have been met.
  • After 180 days from the date the Purchasing Card transaction was approved, the original copy, or non-official record, may be destroyed at the department’s business office discretion.
    • FEDERAL EXCEPTION: If documentation is to support a Federal grant expenditure, the record retention policy requires maintaining the original documentation for one year from the date the expense was finalized

Please see PCard Policies Manual, Chapter 11.0 Fraudulent Transactions. PCard Administration will provide a Purchasing Card External Fraud Transactional Documentation Form to be fill out. The department should provide a copy of this document as a part of their back up for all transactions associated to the fraud.

Use the new Dashboard in UAccess Analytics, located under General – Purchasing Card – Action Items. You will need to select the PCard Organization Name you are looking for and select Apply. You will then click on the box labeled Missing Supporting Documentation. The initial display will only show information for the current period. Even if the initial display is “0”, open the box and select the blue area that reads Go to More Transactions with No Supporting Documentation, to view a longer timeframe. In that screen you can pull up the postdates that you are looking for. To ensure you receive information for the full day, select the correct time for both the start and end date.

Allowable and Unallowable Expenditures

Tipping of any kind (i.e. food, taxis, etc.) should not be greater than 20% of the total amount.

No, meals while on travel status should be processed through Financial Services Travel either with meal reimbursements or with meal receipts on the Travel Expense Report. University employees have the option of obtaining a Travel Advance from Financial Services Travel in place of personal funds or credit card.

No, purchase of gasoline for a personal vehicle is not allowed on the PCard even while on University approved business. However, Financial Services Travel handles reimbursement for gasoline purchases or mileage for a personal vehicle on University business.

No, University insurance liability does not cover rental cars rented/driven by non-employees.

No, payments to or on behalf of a non-employee, non-student, who is not a US citizen or permanent resident, cannot be made using the PCard. Due to the complexity of immigration laws, we suggest that you contact Accounts Payable at 520-621-9097 or regarding expenses/reimbursements that are allowed under specific visa types.

The PCard can be used to pay for an all-inclusive conference. The card will need to have the travel and hotel enhancement.

Uber drivers notify the traveler via their mobile device upon arrival that "wait time" charges are initiated two minutes upon the Uber driver's arrival at the designated location. Business units are required to monitor these charges and excessive "wait time" (exceeding .99 cents) should be evaluated and documented with a University business purpose. If a University business purpose is not provided (ex: shopping, socializing) the charges should be deducted from the reimbursement or repaid to the University.

If a PCard was used, a Self-Reporting Violation Form (SRV) should be completed and included with the documentation. In addition, the PCard should not be saved to any Uber account.

Financial Compliance Reviews

The review/follow up process is set in place to give departments the opportunity to submit the information required by policy/procedures while training departments on those policies. This is the initial step in making sure that documentation is adequate, appropriate, and legitimate. This also assists in case of an audit.

Please reply on the follow-up spreadsheet and send it back to Financial Compliance as a reply to the original email request. if you have any questions, contact Financial Compliance at or 520-621-9097. 

Financial Compliance pulls all the monthly PCDO transactions and from that total population generates a statistical random sample that is not based on dollar amount, department number or vendor. It is compiled to the total population to reflect a sample that represents the whole as an internal control to evaluate risk.

Foreign Merchant Transactions

On the Procurement Card Document (PCDO), click on Vendor Name to view the information.  Under the vendor state code, the initials of the state or foreign country are listed.

A Self-Reporting Violation (SRV) will need to be completed by the responsible user. Although no reimbursement is needed, a detailed University business purpose must still be included. The department will be required to gross up the amount to pay any tax liability, if applicable.

Payments to a foreign merchant processed as international transactions are assessed a 1.5% fee by the processor/bank (not the merchant). The invoice may be in US dollars or a foreign currency. In addition, the conversion rate will vary depending on the day and hour the transaction was processed.

To calculate the amount of the international fee, open the PCDO and click on the Transaction ID Number and review the currency code under Transaction Original Currency Code.

  • If the amount is in US dollars (Code 840), subtract the Transaction Total Amount from the Transaction Original Currency Amount. The difference is the international fee, and it should be equal to 1.5% of the Transaction Original Currency Amount
  • If the amount is in a foreign currency (other codes), the international fee must be factored from the total amount. Divide the Transaction Total Amount by 1.015 which will provide the Transaction Original Amount in US dollars. Then, subtract the Transaction Total Amount from the Transaction Original Amount in US dollars.

Example: the Transaction Original Currency Code is 036 and the Transaction Total Amount is $619.44. Divide $619.44/1.015. Transaction Original Amount in US dollars is $610.29. Then, the international processing fee is $9.16 ($619.44 – $610.29).

Use tax should not be paid on these types of fees. Object code 5535 Purchasing Transaction Fees should be used on a separate accounting line for the amount of the international processing fee.

The payment may need to be processed by Purchase Order or Disbursement Voucher through Accounts Payable depending on the type of payment. Contact or 520-621-9097 for assistance.