(800) 995-8696

Procurement card purchases encouraged for reduced cost, increased accountability

March 14, 2013

Government offices are always looking for ways to reduce spending, be more open and improve operations in general. However, one of the best ways to accomplish all of these goals may be to change the way purchases are made in the first place. According to the California Special Districts Association, procurement cards, sometimes called "P-Cards," provide a new, innovative way for local government offices to better control and monitor budgets while increasing the transparency of spending as well.

A P-Card allows government officials to streamline purchases with pre-allocated funding, reduce paperwork and much more. Government agencies can improve efforts to go green, eliminate time consuming paperwork and reduce the actual cost of purchases through lower procurement fees by using cards rather than traditional payment methods. Cards eliminate the need for petty cash and make the overall process more efficient, according to the CSDA report.

Reducing costs
Spending is often a major issue for local governments. According to a report by the National League of Cities, P-Cards are a less expensive method for making purchases, as they are less costly for banks and have reduced processing fees. Additionally, they allow local governments to receive discounts on "net" purchases, as well as grant the opportunity for rebates and more control over spending by pre-setting limits.

Being more transparent
Constituents want to know where their tax dollars are going, and it's the responsibility of officials to provide clear, detailed reports on this information on a regular basis through transparency and open government initiatives. P-Cards speed up this process by organizing that data and eliminating time-consuming steps such as authorization. Older processes involve more paperwork, more time and more people, convoluting purchasing and making it take longer for the information to be made publicly available.

Additional benefits
P-Cards improve procurement for all parties involved, according to the National League of Cities report. Vendors can receive funds faster, transactions occur more smoothly and healthy competition can be fostered through more, unique offerings. Overall, the migration from procure-to-pay to P-Cards allows government offices to streamline purchases and transparency efforts at the same time, eliminating troublesome "middle-man" processes and getting results faster from all of its endeavors, be they purchases or meeting management improvement initiatives.