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Quality Improvement in Financial Management at the University of Washington

Vol 1, No. 2
Summer 2002

WSQA—Promoting and Recognizing Quality

Musical Dashboards – The Summer Event

Procurement Card Team Marks Two-Year Achievements

A Short History of Quality
from 10,000 BC to the Present Day



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to visit the Procard website.


Procurement Card Team Marks Two-Year Achievements
by Financial Services Staff

The Procurement Card is a payment option that has simplified transactions for many University of Washington departments. It is similar to a credit card but has security provisions specifically designed for university needs. Cardholders use the Procurement Card to acquire non-capitalized goods, and department reconcilers track purchase activity, a system made possible through PAS and an external interface provided by company J.P. Morgan Chase. On the two-year anniversary of its administrator, David Wright, Directions looks at the successes and challenges of this program to date.

When David first came to Financial Management, four hundred cardholders were using the Procurement option on a limited basis. Today the number of users has grown to approximately eighteen hundred. The types of purchases that can be made with the Procurement Card have also become more inclusive. Though state purchasing guidelines require certain checks and balances, David stresses that the program follows these guidelines as efficiently as possible. The Procurement Team—David and his new assistant, Donna Andreason—has built a partnership with the Purchasing Department which facilitates this process. Teamwork within Financial Management has also been of great importance. David credits the “wonderful long-range insights” of Bill Tolbert and the “support through difficult transitions” provided by Ann Anderson as invaluable to the program's success.

The Procurement Card has grown over the past two years from an experimental process to a solid program that was recently confirmed by an internal audit. The procurement team's goals, according to David, are to transition from departmental outreach to comprehensive account supervision. David and Donna teach classes and work with process partners to make continual improvements to the program, but they also allot a significant amount of their time towards one-to-one contact with campus customers. From behind the scenes, the Procurement Card team follows usage to monitor the security of the system, making sure that at-risk purchases are legitimate and ensuring that departments complete their reconciliation in a timely manner. They also gauge the volume of usage, which David claims may indicate how well the Procurement Card suits the department's needs or may suggest when more training is needed. Fifty percent of departments now have a Procurement Card at their use. In the next few years, Financial Management anticipates that around 80% will be using the card. And the program continues to grow and change.

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