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University of Rochester PCard Program


Pcard Image

PCard Policies & Procedures


1.0 Contents






Policy Statement



Procedures & Processes


A. Eligibility & Required Forms


B. Card Limits


C. General Information & Definitions


D. How it Works/Making the Purchase


E. Cardholder Responsibilities


F. Pcard Manager Responsibilities



Allowable Purchases & Restrictions


A. Allowable Purchases


B. Card Restrictions



Required Training & Annual Recertification



Program Violations & Consequences



Account Change Maintenance Card Cancellations/Expirations



Reporting & Audits

2.0 Policy Statement

The University of Rochester Purchasing Card, hereafter referred to as ‘Pcard’, is a valuable tool for quickly and efficiently purchasing and paying for routine goods by reducing paperwork and streamlining the purchasing cycle for low dollar purchases.

The Pcard is to be used solely for the business purposes of the University of Rochester and shall not be used for any personal purchases.  This document outlines the roles and responsibilities of Cardholders and Approval Managers, including instructions for the issuance and use of the Pcard, procedures for transaction reconciliation and review, and allowable and restricted purchases.

This policy and the related procedures are designed to ensure the Pcard’s appropriate use, consistent with the objectives of the University’s overall internal control framework, designed to protect University assets and ensure budgetary controls


3.0 Procedures & Processes

A. Eligibility & Required Forms

  • Individual departments designate who is eligible to possess a Pcard by completing the Purchasing Card Program Authorization Form. This form should be completed by the individual requesting a Pcard and should be signed by the employee as well as the Pcard Manager, the Department Head and the Divisional Finance Officer.  A listing of these contacts may be found at Division Contacts (login required for out of network users)   Students and non-employees are not eligible to hold Pcards.  Each Cardholder will be required to complete and pass mandatory training modules in Mypath and US Bank prior to receiving their card.                                                                               

  • As Pcard Policy requires a regular, timely supervisory review of all transactions, the department will identify an individual to review and approve the Cardholder’s monthly transactions.  It is required that the Pcard Manager (‘approver’) be a next level up supervisor from the Cardholder.  Eligible approvers cannot include the Cardholder themselves or their subordinates.  New Pcard Managers will be required to complete and pass mandatory training modules in Mypath and US Bank prior to receiving their approver credentials.                                                   
  • Completed forms must be forwarded to the Pcard Program Administrator in Corporate Purchasing, 44 Celebration Drive Box 278901 or emailed to after obtaining all necessary signatures.

B. Card Limits

Since the University of Rochester, not the individual employee, will pay for the purchases made with the Pcard, additional controls have been added to the card accounts.  These limits are imposed at the point of sale when the card is swiped.

  • Transaction Limits:  The University's maximum limit on Pcard purchases is $2,500 per transaction.  The cardholder's Department Head, however, may identify lower limits as needed.  Monthly credit limits should be determined by the Department Head to meet individual departmental procurement needs, however final approval of the requested monthly limit is left to the discretion of the Pcard Administrator.  These limits should be noted on the Purchasing Card Program Authorization Form

  • Merchant Activity Type Limits:  Specific types of businesses identified by a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes are restricted on the Pcard.  If you have difficulty using your card with any particular supplier, please contact the Pcard Administrator (275-8900).

  • Policy Limits:  In addition to the limits that are controlled at the point of sale by the card, University of Rochester limits the use of the card through policy.  The card may be used only for purchases that are made under delegated authority.  It is a violation of the program to split orders in order to remain within the transaction limit.

C. General Information & Definitions

    • Billing Address - The billing address is 44 Celebration Drive, Rochester, NY 14620.  (May be requested by suppliers for phone order verification)
    • Billing Date - US Bank's contract requires account billing upon shipment of an order
    • Billing Phone Number - The University phone number of cardholder or phone number for Pcard Administrator (585-275-8900).  (May be requested by suppliers for phone order verification)
    • Cardholder - Employee who has been issued a Pcard 
    • Card Issuer - US Bank, the bank issuing University of Rochester Pcard 
    • Cycle Cutoff - The date statement is issued (on the 25th day of each month) 
    • Department Head - For purposes of these instructions refers to the VP, Dean, Director, or Department Head with budget authority for Department
    • Pcard Managers - Department representatives responsible for facilitating the Pcard Program within their departments
    • Pcard Help - Point of contact to assist with questions/concerns, available via phone (585-275-8900, 585-273-3512) or e-mail
    • Pcard Administrator - Corporate Purchasing representative responsible for Pcard process

D. How it Works/Making the Purchase

  • Decision to Buy
    When making the decision to buy, the employee should:
    • Utilize University contracted suppliers whenever possible using the appropriate order form or process.  Orders for SOLO vendors should be placed online using your SOLO account, and not on your Pcard.
    • Ensure the transaction is appropriate and in accordance with all University policies & processes.
    • Sponsored purchases (grant FAOs) require the completion of a Supplier Price Justification Conflict Information Form for every Pcard purchase to document why the department chose the particular supplier and why the price is deemed to be reasonable and what considerations were given to suppliers including small, small-disadvantaged and women owned businesses.

  • Making the Purchase—Over the Counter
    • Verify that supplier accepts the Visa.
    • Provide the Pcard for payment.
    • Inform the clerk that the purchase is exempt from state and local sales tax.  The Pcard states sales tax exemption, but cardholder should verify that clerk does not charge sales tax.
    • Verify the dollar amount is correct and no sales tax has been included, then sign the sales draft.
    • Retain your copy of the sales draft and receipt.  If copy does not provide description of item(s) being purchased, this should be written on sales draft or receipt.
    • Upload receipts into Access Online internet application.
    • Follow Pcard transaction/documentation process established in Department.

  • Making the Purchase—Mail, Fax, Telephone, or Internet orders
    • Provide supplier with requested card information.
    • Inform supplier that the purchase is exempt from state and local sales tax.
    • If copy of exemption certificate is required, contact Pcard Administrator at 275-8900/273-3512 or email (with online purchases, cardholders may find it impossible to pass sales tax exemption information to the supplier.  In this case, cardholders must follow up immediately with the supplier via phone or fax to ensure that the University receives a tax waiver).
    • Order the desired goods or services and confirm the total cost, including shipping and handling.
    • Give supplier detailed shipping instructions as provided by your Pcard Manager.  The second line of the address should identify department, cardholder and room number.  Since there is not a purchase order number for the supplier to reference, this line creates the University of Rochester’s delivery information.  Tell the supplier that the Purchasing Card number should not be displayed anywhere on the outside of the package.
    • Cardholders should purchase only from websites that start with "https", rather than "http".  This is entered on the web "Address" line.  When "https" is used, a padlock appears at the bottom of the browser window.  This indicates that the website and the user information provided therein are protected by SSL (Secured Sockets Layer).
    • Remind the supplier that this is a VISA purchase and to send a receipt for the purchase to you at your department mailing address.  Do not give the physical address or email address of Accounts Payable or Purchasing.
    • Retain documentation for purchase.  This may be copy of order form, copy of catalog page showing cost.
    • Upload receipts into Access Online internet application.                                                     

  • Returning Purchases Made With Pcard
    • If you determine that the material is defective, damaged, or incorrect, notify the supplier that the item needs to be returned and request an address to ship to and a return authorization number.  Request that the supplier process a credit transaction through your card.  Document that goods have been returned for credit and communicate information through proper channels within department.  Ensure that the credit appears on the next monthly statement.  If not, process charge as a disputed item.  

  • Resolving Disputes with Suppliers
    • If the cardholder is charged for an item incorrectly, they should contact the supplier and attempt to resolve the problem.  Any communications should be documented on statement (or attachment) and include dates, the persons involved, and a brief description of the problem.  If the cardholder is unable to resolve the dispute with the supplier, the Department Pcard Manager should be notified and the dispute may be recorded on line.  The Department Pcard Manager will resolve the issue with the Card Issuer and assure proper application of credit.  The Pcard Administrator may be contacted if additional assistance is required.                                                        

  • Declines
    • In the event of a transaction decline, the Cardholder may call the bank directly to obtain the reason for the declination.  The bank's customer service number is printed on the back of the Pcard.  Some commons reasons for decline:
    • Vendor has entered an incorrect expiration date or security code
    • The card has expired or been terminated
    • The cardholder has not activated a newly assigned or renewed Pcard
    • Purchase is over standard limits encoded on your card (either single or monthly)
    • Purchase type is blocked depending on Pcard transaction type & policy (i.e. Airline, Car Rental Agencies, ATMs, Financial Institutions, etc.)
    • International purchases will automatically be declined by the bank.  After making one, cardholder should contact the bank to confirm the transaction is approved and legitimate.

E. Cardholder Responsibilities

The card is a privilege granted to you by the University and it is expected that you will use it responsibly.  The University will seek restitution for any inappropriate charges made to the card.  Fraudulent or intentional misuse of the card will result in revocation of the card and/or possible criminal charges.  In general, your Pcard should be used in a responsible manner for purchases that are in the best interest of the University.              

When utilizing Pcard, cardholder becomes an authorized purchaser for the University with specific responsibilities for expending University funds as follows:

  • Obtain Best Value
    • Cardholder should utilize University preferred suppliers and contracted pricing whenever possible. The card is limited to purchases totaling $2,500 or less.  The transaction limit of $2,500 includes shipping costs. 

  • Protection of Card                    
    • Cardholder must protect the security of his/her Pcard and Pcard number.
    • Only the authorized cardholder is allowed to use the card.  Sharing of the card with other employees for delegation of authority is unacceptable.  Merchants require that the signature on the card match the signature on a receipt.  The University of Rochester assumes liability on a card if it is used by anyone other than the cardholder.  If a card is used by others in the department, then the department is responsible for any fraudulent use on the card.
    • Store the card in a secure location accessible only to the cardholder (i.e. not posted at a public desk or any other location; personal wallets or purses are not recommended)            
    • Cardholder must notify Card Issuer immediately by calling 1-800-344-5696 when card is lost or stolen.  Cardholder must confirm notification in writing or facsimile to his/her department Pcard Manager.  The Pcard Manager has the responsibility of communicating information to Pcard Administrator at 275-8900 or email   

  • Limitations on Suppliers
    • Ensure that purchases are not made from any vendors on the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Vendor Exclusion list (see Helpful Links, then click on “Debarred and Suspended Suppliers”).  If the supplier is listed, you should not do business with that supplier.
    • Cardholder must not make Pcard purchases from friends or relatives where cardholder has a financial interest.
    • Cardholder must not accept any gift or gratuity from any source when it is offered, or appears to be offered, to influence your decision-making regarding Pcard Purchases.                                                             

  • Limitations on What Can Be Purchased
    Cardholder accepts responsibility to ensure that items prohibited from purchase with Pcard are not procured.  Refer to “Excluded Items”    

  • Special Requirements for Sponsored Projects
    • Use of the Pcard continues to operate under any of the standard sponsored project compliance or accounting requirements.  All costs incurred on a sponsored project must be reasonable, necessary, allowable and appropriate to the specific account charged.
    • The Pcard can be used for “micro purchases” which are defined by federal procurement regulation 2 CFR 200 (i.e., supplies or services whose aggregate does not exceed $3,500).  Please note that the $2,500 single purchase limit for Pcard is less than the micro purchase limit.  2 CFR 200 permits such purchases to be made without soliciting competitive quotations, as long as the price is deemed reasonable and purchases are distributed equitably among qualified suppliers. For compliance with 2 CFR 200, a Supplier Price Justification Conflict Information Form (SPJCI) is required to be uploaded for every Pcard purchase for a sponsored project, to document why the department chose the particular vendor and why the price is deemed to be reasonable.
    • If any charge is disallowed by the University or Auditor, the charge will go back to the default account.
    • All receipts and statements supporting Pcard transactions for the current and past fiscal years will be kept at the department level (in accordance with the University Record Retention Policy).
    • The Pcard cannot be used for charging departmental costs to a sponsored project account. Sponsored project purchases must be made in accordance with the restrictions terms and conditions of the sponsored project.
    • Workday FAO and spend category assigned to the purchase must be appropriate.
    • Any questions should be directed to the Office of Research & Project Administration and/or Office of Research Accounting and Costing Standards.

  • Maintaining Receipts
    • The cardholder is responsible for obtaining receipts, packing slips, or other documentation for uploading into Access Online.  The original receipts (not copies) are required to be kept for permanent audit documentation of purchase.  For purchases made over the counter, documentation would be the actual sales receipt.  For other purchases, cardholder should request that a receipt be included in the delivery package and/or make a copy of the catalog page or computer screen information which indicates items purchased and price.  These should be attached to any packing slip information received upon delivery. 
    • Cardholders must upload original itemized receipts to Access Online for each transaction before the 25th of each month.  Failure to comply with this policy will result in suspension of card privileges until that is completed.  Repeated occurrences of card suspension may be cause for permanent card cancellation.  Please feel free to contact your Pcard Manager with any questions about what constitutes an allowable charge or acceptable support documentation.  It is the cardholder's responsibility for obtaining purchase documentation from the merchant (sales receipts, invoices, etc.) to support all purchases made with the Pcard and to document the business purpose for the expenditures in Access Online.
    • Departments/Divisions must comply with the record retention requirements for support documentation as set forth in the University of Rochester's Policy on Retention of University Records.  All Departments/Divisions will maintain records of each Pcard transaction and the supporting documentation in an auditable state as outlined in the policy excluding federal grants or awards.  The length of this retention period is attributable to the fact that departments/divisions are the sole source of support, meaning they hold the only copy on campus.  All records pertinent to a federal grant or award must be retained until three years after the date of submission of the final expenditure report, in compliance with granting authority regulations and Pcard transactions.

  • Tax Exemption & Liability
    • The University of Rochester is a tax-exempt organization.  The New York sales tax-exempt number is printed on the front of every Pcard.  Cardholders must provide this number to all vendors at the time of any transaction to exempt payment for New York or reciprocal state sales tax.  Purchases made by the University outside of New York may not be exempt from another state's sales and use tax.  There is a Tax Exempt Chart on the Accounts Payable website Finance Department :: University of Rochester which lists our tax exempt status with each state.  Inquiries regarding Out of State Sales Tax Certificates of Exemption should be directed to the Finance Office at 276-4691.   If a University of Rochester Tax Exempt Certificate is required by a vendor, a request can be made to the Pcard Administrator by calling 275-8900 or 273-3512 or via email
    • The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) considers employer gifts of cash, gift cards, gift certificates, and similar items which can easily be exchanged for cash as additional taxable salary or wages which is subject to reporting and withholding obligations by the employer. (Publication 525 Taxable and Non Taxable Income).   See Finance website for details.

F. Pcard Manager Responsibilities

    The Department Pcard Manager is responsible for final review and approval of all designated cardholder transactions on a monthly basis.  The cardholder must submit cost redistribution to the Department Pcard Manager weekly, or in accordance with department procedures.  The department Pcard Manager is responsible for monthly statement review including the following:

    • Review cardholder purchase history to verify appropriateness of items being purchased and funds being utilized.
    • Validate that cardholder has verified that purchases are not made from any vendors on the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Vendor Exclusion list, per the instructions outlined in cardholder responsibilities.
    • Assess the appropriateness of the use of Pcard given the transaction.
    • Investigate all "unusual item" purchases.
    • Identify any violations as noted in the Violations of Policy section and discuss with cardholder to provide additional instruction.  Discussion should be documented and attached to statement.
    • Responsible for facilitating the reconciliation and approval process.  Assure that there is supporting documentation for each transaction (including original documentation for evidence of receipt of goods, credits, logs, statements and records of disputed transactions).  The documentation should adequately support the charges, and the business nature of the transaction must be documented and appropriate.
    • Ultimately responsible for tracking departmental Pcard purchases and providing supporting backup documentation to auditors upon request
    • Advise Pcard Administrator to cancel a Pcard if the cardholder leaves the department

4.0 Allowable Purchases & Restrictions

A. Allowable Purchases  (This list may not be all-inclusive. When in doubt, contact the Pcard Administrator.)

    • Small dollar materials or supplies (under $2500)
    • Subscriptions, reprints, pamphlets, publications, manuals, books (excluding textbooks)
    • Food and Beverage for onsite University of Rochester business purpose.
    • One-Time Repairs
    • Deposits (i.e. venue rental/reservation)
    • Amazon & Paypal purchases
    • Advance registration fees for a workshop, seminar, training, convention or conference, which an employee is authorized to attend
      • Fees for optional activities such as sightseeing, field trip, or banquets are not allowable.
        Any part of a registration fee applicable to meals or lodging and identifiable as such, should be charged to your American Express Corporate Card.  

B. Card Restrictions 


    • Red Flag Items:  The following items should only be purchased with a Pcard when a valid business reason can be documented.  Questionable transactions should be discussed with divisional or University Finance prior to purchasing these items.
    • Excluded Items:  The following may not be purchased with the Pcard. (This list may not be all-inclusive.  When in doubt, contact the Pcard Administrator.)
      • Alcoholic Beverages
      • Animals, Live – purchase through Vivarium
      • Business Cards – Refer to Dupli Contract
      • Capital Equipment (i.e., with a 2+ year useful life and unit cost greater than $1,000 – Complete a 312 Requisition to request a Purchase Order
      • Cash Advances
      • Cell Phones & Pagers – Refer to University IT
      • Computers – Complete a 312 Requisition or Contact UR Tech Store
      • Contracting (i.e., Consultants/Independent Contractors, Maintenance Agreements) – Refer to Consultant/Independent Contractor Guidelines
      • Controlled Substances, Medications – purchase through Pharmacy
      • E-bay Purchases
      • Equipment involving a trade-in or exchange
      • Forms - Refer to RR Donnelley Contract
      • Furniture – Refer to Sedgwick and Workplace Interior Contracts
      • Hazardous Substances/Materials (i.e., Gasoline, fuel, explosives, etc.)
      • Hotel/Motel (sleeping accommodations) – Refer to the Travel Policy
      • Items, Food, Beverage for personal use or consumption
      • Lease, Rental or Demonstration of Equipment - Complete a 312 Requisition to request a Purchase Order
      • Medical Supplies - Complete a 312 Requisition to request a Purchase Order
      • Moving, Storage, Rigging or Transportation Service (Due to systems contract) - Complete a 312 Requisition to request a Purchase Order
      • Purchases from individuals - Refer to Consultant/Independent Contractor Guideline
      • Radioactive Isotopes – Contact Radiation Safety
      • Releases on standing orders, blanket orders or multiple shipments
      • Sales Tax - (University is tax exempt)
      • Services (i.e. laundry, dry cleaning, phone, television, utilities, employment and other professional services) - Complete a 312 Requisition to request a Purchase Order
      • Split orders to remain within the transaction limit
      • Travel and travel related purchases or services (i.e. airline tickets, car rentals, travel agencies, gasoline, fuel) - Refer to the Travel Policy
      • Textbooks - Refer to Barnes and Noble

5.0 Required Training & Annual Recertification

  • Training
    The Cardholder and Pcard Manager are required to complete online University of Rochester Pcard Training in MyPath and successfully pass (80%) a certification exam, as well as attend the US Bank Transaction Management webinar prior to issuance of a Pcard or approval credentials.

    Training schedules and registration information can be obtained by contacting the Pcard Administrator at

  • Annual Recertification
    Pcard holders and Managers are required to comply with an annual recertification program providing verification and authorization of continued access to the University of Rochester Pcard Program.  Annually all cardholders and managers are required to complete a Purchasing Card Recertification Authorization Form and complete on-line Recertification Training in MyPath in order to be in compliance and have continued access to the program.     

6.0 Program Violations & Consequences

Unauthorized and Inappropriate Card Use

The Pcard must never be used to purchase items for personal use or for non-University purposes, even if the cardholder intends to reimburse the University.  A cardholder who makes an unauthorized purchase with a Pcard, as defined in the Cardholder Responsibility section, or uses the Pcard in an inappropriate manner, may be subject to disciplinary action including card cancellation and performance management process up to and including discharge.  When appropriate, notification of fraudulent use will be shared with Public Safety and the Rochester Police Department for possible criminal prosecution.

Consistent adherence to the Pcard Program controls and rules is required of all cardholders and card managers to assure continued eligibility to participate in the program.  Failure to properly adhere to these controls and rules will result in the following actions:

     Cardholder Violation – Event or Cause

    Corrective Action

    • Using the card to purchase restricted products
    • Failure to properly review and approve transactions within Access Online
    • Failure to properly upload supporting documentation to Access Online (i.e. receipts, order confirmations, packing slips, etc)
    • Failure to properly document transaction business purpose
    • 1st Occurrence:   Written warning to Cardholder and Pcard Manager detailing what program policy has been violated and the corrective steps needed to remain compliant with the program
    • 2nd Occurrence:   Same as 1st occurrence, with Department Head also receiving written notification of continued program infractions.  All parties will receive reminder that a 3rd violation will result in the immediate suspension of cardholder rights
    • 3rd Occurrence:   Cardholder will be immediately notified that their card privileges have been revoked  (Pcard Manager and Department Head will be copied in)

    Pcard Manager Violation – Event or Cause

    Corrective Action

    • Failure to properly review and approve Cardholder monthly transactions
    • Failure to properly report transactions with employee tax reporting liability
    • Failure to properly retain transaction documentation (i.e. receipts, order confirmations, packing slips, statements, etc) of all cardholders including those terminated for audit purposes
    • 1st & 2nd Occurrence:   Written warning to Pcard Manager and Department Head detailing what program policy has been violated and the corrective steps needed to remain compliant with the program.  After 2nd occurrence, all parties will receive reminder that a 3rd violation will result in the immediate suspension of Pcard manager rights
    • 3rd Occurrence:   Pcard Manager will immediately be notified that their approval rights have been revoked  (Department Head will be copied in)

    Departmental Violation – Event or Cause

    Corrective Action

    • Failure to successfully pass an audit or comply with recommendations identified from previous audit
    • Removal of Departmental Pcard privileges

    Cardholder Violation – Event or Cause

    Corrective Action

    • Using the card for personal use
    • Fraudulent use of card/allowing another individual to use the card
    • Receiving cash or check issued to Cardholder to resolve a credit or return
    • Immediate written notification of suspension or removal of Cardholder or Card Manager privileges.  (Department Head will be copied in)  Referral for possible Performance Management Process up to and including discharge and/or possible criminal prosecution.

7.0 Account Change Maintenance; Card Cancellations / Expirations

  • Account Maintenance   
    Whenever there is a change in the department Pcard Manager, change request for monthly spend limit or default account change, a completed Purchasing Card Change/Cancellation Notice must be submitted to the Pcard Program Administrator in Corporate Purchasing, 44 Celebration Drive Box 278901 or emailed after obtaining all necessary signatures. 

  • Card Expirations 
    Most Pcards will have an expiration date of 4 years from the original issue date.  The bank will automatically reissue new Pcards each month to replace cards that will be expiring that month.  The account number will remain the same, but the expiration date and security code on the back of the card will change.  The replacement Pcard will be sent to the Pcard Administrator’s Office and the cardholder will be notified via e-mail.  The replacement card will have to be picked up from the Pcard Administrator’s office as it cannot be sent via campus mail.  The Pcard is good through the end of the month that it expires.   A University ID is required to pick up the card.  Only the cardholder or the cardholder’s Manager can pick up the card.

  • Card Cancellations
    Pcards can be cancelled at any time.  In the event that it is necessary to cancel a card, the Pcard Manager will retrieve the Pcard and Pcard documentation from the cardholder.  The documentation must be retained by the department.  The Pcard Manager must contact the Pcard Administrator via email to have the account closed as soon as possible and send a Purchasing Card Change/Cancellation Notice.  The Pcard should then be cut up and discarded.  Reasons for cancellation may include:
    • Cardholder is no longer employed at the University
    • Cardholder is transferring to another department within the University
    • Cardholder goes on leave
    • Cardholder is requested to surrender card due to violations of policies
    • If a terminated, suspended, or transferred employee continues to use this card, the original department will be liable for all charges.  The employee may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

8.0 Reporting & Audits

The Pcard Administrator will review Pcard transaction data from US Bank on a regular basis and will summarize activity into audit reports to monitor departmental program compliance.  Some examples include:

    • Transaction Detail reports to monitor potential excluded item or merchant purchases
    • Transaction Approval reports to ensure that both the cardholder and card manager are regularly reviewing and approving all transactions and loading the appropriate receipt/supporting documentation
    • Same Day Merchant Purchase reports to monitor possible attempts to split a single transaction into multiple to circumvent the $2500 single limit
    • Sales tax reports to ensure that departments are appropriately obtaining credit for any tax charged on transactions

If a transaction is deemed questionable for any reason, the cardholder and card manager are responsible for providing supporting documentation for any purchase upon request.

The Pcard Administrator can also run reports for departmental finance teams upon request to provide a greater level of financial & audit control.