not mobile

Business Procedures Manual

The University System of Georgia (USG) operates in a complex purchasing environment. It is governed by laws of the state of Georgia, policies of the Board of Regents, regulations of the state Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), regulations of the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA), and regulations of the Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services (OTFS).

Note: The OTFS governs banking services described in BPM Section 9.0, Banking and Investments.

Rules and regulations for purchasing of all other items as prescribed by DOAS, GTA, and BOR policy are contained in this section. The GTA regulations govern all procurements related to information technology, hardware, software, and consulting services. The state Department of Administrative Services governs all other procurements except as exempted by state law, such as library books, medical equipment and supplies, and perishable items, as noted in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), sections 50-5-50 through 50-5-81.

Note: The O.C.G.A. is located at http://www.lexis-nexis.com/hottopics/gacode/default.asp.

These rules and regulations govern purchases from all funds except Agency funds as noted in Section 7.7.1 of the BoR Policy Manual.

Note: Agency funds are described further in BPM Section 14.0, Agency Funds.

This section provides a brief summary of selective purchasing rules and regulations affecting USG institutions. It is beyond the scope of this document to provide all pertinent information, forms, and procedures about specific purchasing requirements as promulgated by DOAS or GTA. For any requirements or issues not covered in this section, the institution’s procurement office should contact the Department of Administrative Services for guidance. Extensive information about DOAS procurement policy and procedures is available at www.doas.state.ga.us/.

Requests for Proposal (RFPs) documents are issued for procurement actions that are not provided for in other means of procurement, such as statewide contracts, purchasing cards, etc. The RFP provides detailed instructions to allow multiple vendors to respond. The RFP is structured so that desired outcomes may be ranked in a quantitative fashion so that vendor selection is a documented result. It is important that the RFP spells out in detail how the rating system will work, and that the vendor selection and related award of contract can be publicly defended if required. Guidelines for structuring the RFP document may be obtained from DOAS.

Note: State and/or DOAS rules and regulations do not apply to purchases from Agency funds.

  1. Contracts under $25,000 do not have to be competitively procured.

  2. Each institution has a limit, designated by DOAS, for issuing RFPs. For procurement actions expected to exceed the institutional limit, the Department of Administrative Services must publish the required notices and manage the RFP process. In certain circumstances with prior approval, DOAS will allow the institution to manage the RFP process when the expected result exceeds the institutional limit, subject to review by DOAS.

  3. All RFPs that exceed the approved limit for the particular institution must be processed through DOAS. Institutions should check with DOAS to determine their approved limit.

    Note: These limits do not apply to construction contracts.

  4. Regardless of the dollar amount, DOAS must give written approval before any RFPs may be issued, and all RFPs must be listed on the state procurement registry.

  5. Multi-year contracts are permitted, up to a maximum of five (5) years, as long as there is no commitment of debt by the institution. An example would be a food services contract with a third party vendor where the vendor is paying the institution a commission based upon a percentage of sales.

    Multi-year contracts that involve an agreement by the contractor to construct or renovate facilities and amortize that cost over the life of the agreement are permitted when effectively paid by reduction of the anticipated commission payments from the contractor to the institution if:

    • The agreement has a clause permitting the institution to terminate prior to the contract end date; and,
    • The institution has in reserve at all times the necessary cash funds to pay the full unamortized construction costs.
  6. Every contract must have clauses that allow the institution to cancel the contract for cause and/or financial exigency.


3.1.2 Exemptions from the Competitive Procurement Procedure

University System Service Level Agreements

Since competitive procurement procedures apply to agreements with external vendors or contractors, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions and the University System Office (USO) are exempted from these procedures when purchasing goods and services within the USG. Intra USG purchases of services shall be addressed through a simplified agreement (Service Level Agreement) written in plain language that describes:

  1. Purpose of the agreement;
  2. Nature of the services provided;
  3. Nature of the financial consideration being provided in exchange for the services provided; and,
  4. Billing method and required billing documentation.

Additional components may be added to the agreement; however, every effort should be made to minimize unnecessary or irrelevant additions. For example, it would be unnecessary to require one USG institution to provide another USG institution with copies of audited financial statements or budgets.

USG institutions should update their contracting, procurement and accounts payable policies and procedures to comply with this BPM revision. Agreements should only be signed by those with delegated authority to sign contracts and do not, as a matter of course, require legal review.

Sample Service Level Agreement

The following sample agreement between the USO and a USG institution is provided for reference purposes. This agreement may be modified for use between USG institutions.

Service Level Agreement
Between
The University System Office of the
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

and


This Service Level Agreement is made and entered into this _____________________ by and between the University System Office of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (“USO”) and _________________________ (“Institution”).

WHEREAS, Institution possesses certain knowledge, skill, ability and expertise to perform certain functions and services; and

WHEREAS, Institution has proposed to perform certain services for the Board; and

WHEREAS, the USO desires to have the Institution perform such services on a nonexclusive basis; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the parties agree as follows:

I.

The USO agrees to perform the services and/or obligations set forth on Exhibit A.

Exhibit A is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.

II.

The Institution agrees to perform the services and/or obligations set forth on Exhibit B.

III.

A. Either party may terminate this Agreement without cause by giving written notice, in which event this Agreement shall be terminated at the end of five (5) days after the day on which such notice is given. If at the time of termination USO has paid the Institution for service not yet rendered, the Institution will reimburse USO on a fair and equitable basis. If at the time of termination the Institution has rendered services for which it has not been paid, USO shall reimburse the Institution on a fair and equitable basis. The determination of what constitutes fair and equitable shall be made in good faith by the Chancellor of the University System.

B. Upon receipt of notice terminating the Agreement, the Institution shall: 1) immediately discontinue all services affected (unless the notice directs otherwise) and 2) deliver to the USO all data, reports, summaries, and such other information and materials as well as equipment and software as may have been prepared for and/or accumulated by Institution in performing this agreement, whether completed or in progress.

IV.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the parties hereto acknowledge that institutions of the State of Georgia are prohibited from pledging the credit of the state. In the event that the source of payment for this Agreement no longer exists or is insufficient with respect to the services to be provided under this Agreement, in the sole discretion of the Chancellor, then this Agreement shall terminate without further obligation of the USO as of that moment. The certification by the USO of the events stated above shall be conclusive.

V.

The term of this Agreement shall be from ________________ to __________________.

VI.

A. Time is of the essence of this Agreement.
B. This Agreement contains the entire understanding between the parties concerning its subject matter.
C. The Institution may not assign or subcontract the services set forth herein without the express written consent of the USO.
D. This Agreement may not be modified at any time, other than by the express, mutual consent of the parties.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Agreement is entered into on the date first above written.



UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OFFICE OF THE
BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE
UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF GEORGIA

BY: ____________________________
[name, title] `

BY: ______________________________


Exhibit A

I.

The USO shall do or cause to be done the following: A. [Describe any obligations of USO and the amount, how and when the funds will be transferred]

II.

The Institution shall do or cause to be done the following: A. [Describe any obligations of the Institution, such as services to be performed, deliverables, time lines, invoicing/billing requirements, etc.]

The USG is exempt from the DOAS procedures for construction and public works contracts.

Sole Source Procurements

DOAS policy permits sole source procurements, but research must be conducted to identify other sources and documentation (including excess cost justification) must be recorded. Some examples of when a sole source could be acceptable are:

  1. When only the proposed source can furnish the services because of its previous BOR experience and having an alternative source duplicating these capabilities would result in excess cost.
  2. When only one supplier can satisfy the technical requirements because of unique technical competence or expertise.
  3. When the item does not satisfy the requirements for sole source, but the use of any other manufacturer would result in excessive costs.
  4. When only one source possesses the patent(s) or exclusive right(s) to manufacture or to furnish the item or service.

Technology Procurements

Authority for processing technology procurements is assigned to the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) through the Official Code of the Georgia Assembly (O.C.G.A § 50-25). In the same chapter (O.C.G.A § 50-25-1), the USG is specified as being exempt from this legislation. The establishment of the GTA intersected with the authority of the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), which resulted in a memorandum of understanding between the GTA, DOAS, and the USG in 2007 granting delegated authority, with some constraints, for technology procurements to the USG Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer (VC/CIO).

Section 11.2 of the BoR Policy Manual delegates authority from the Board of Regents to the USG VC/CIO to approve USG technology procurements on their behalf. Section 11.2.1 authorizes the USG VC/CIO to further delegate approval authority to institution presidents or their designee(s). This section of the Business Procedures Manual implements this BoR policy.

Spending Limits

The USG VC/CIO delegates approval authority for individual IT purchases according to the following limits:

  1. $500,000: Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia.
  2. $250,000: Columbus State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University.
  3. $100,000: All other institutions, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and the Shared Services Center.

IT Procurement Policies

  1. Information Technology (IT) is defined in Section 11.0, Information Technology (IT), of the BoR Policy Manual.
  2. Procurement of technology-related goods and services should follow the relevant BPM procedures.
  3. Authorization is not required for activities that are part of normal maintenance of an existing system.
  4. Any purchase of software that necessitates an inbound data interface with any hosted/centrally supported USG enterprise application must be approved by the USG VC/CIO.
  5. Purchases for goods or services that are likely to have a significant impact on the wide area network bandwidth allocated to the institution should be carefully planned with the USG VC/CIO.
  6. Externally approved, grant-funded technology purchases that do not interact with USG enterprise applications or USG enterprise networks may be approved by the institution president or his/her designee for IT purchases.
  7. Institutions may not divide large purchases into smaller packages to avoid the need for USG approval. Individual purchases that are below these amounts, but are part of a larger initiative that will eventually exceed these amounts, shall also require written USG VC/CIO approval; e.g., purchases of microcomputers for various lab locations on a campus even if the purchases are for different buildings and from multiple fund sources.
  8. USG VC/CIO approval of IT requests will expire one (1) year after being granted.

Requesting Approval

IT requests requiring USG VC/CIO approval must be submitted via the SharePoint CIO Advisory Council Team Site by following the USG IT Purchase Approval link in the left hand menu.

The USG VC/CIO normally approves IT requests within four (4) business days of receipt. A signed letter containing the decision will be emailed to the institution president or his/her designee once a decision is reached. Institutions should plan appropriately.

Professional and Personnel Services

Professional services and personnel services do not have to go through the competitive procurement process, but the definitions of professional services and personnel services are very limited. Professional services are defined by O.C.G.A. § 14-7-2 as follows:

Profession means the profession of certified public accountancy, architecture, chiropractic, dentistry, professional engineering, land surveying, law, psychology, medicine and surgery, optometry, osteopathy, podiatry, veterinary medicine, registered professional nursing, or harbor piloting.

Generally, professionals that are certified in their fields can be hired non-competitively to do work in the certified field for which they are specifically licensed. Examples include:

  • A CPA may be hired to provide accounting services, but not management consulting without a competitive process.
  • An architect may be hired to design a building, but may not develop a campus plan without a competitive process.

Payment to professionals should be charged to the appropriate per diem and fees account. Personnel employment services are those services rendered by a person who works full-time or part-time for and under the control of the state and receives compensation as a salary in direct payment from a department, agency, or institution of state government; e.g., your work as a BOR employee.

The USG is exempt from the DOAS procedures for construction and public works contracts.

Sole Source Procurements

DOAS policy permits sole source procurements, but research must be conducted to identify other sources and documentation (including excess cost justification) must be recorded. Some examples of when a sole source could be acceptable are:

  1. When only the proposed source can furnish the services because of its previous BOR experience and having an alternative source duplicating these capabilities would result in excess cost.

  2. When only one supplier can satisfy the technical requirements because of unique technical competence or expertise.

  3. When the item does not satisfy the requirements for sole source, but the use of any other manufacturer would result in excessive costs.

  4. When only one source possesses the patent(s) or exclusive right(s) to manufacture or to furnish the item or service.

Technology Procurements

Authority for processing technology procurements is assigned to the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) through the Official Code of the Georgia Assembly (O.C.G.A § 50-25). In the same chapter (O.C.G.A § 50-25-1), the USG is specified as being exempt from this legislation. The establishment of the GTA intersected with the authority of the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), which resulted in a memorandum of understanding between the GTA, DOAS, and the USG in 2007 granting delegated authority, with some constraints, for technology procurements to the USG Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer (VC/CIO).

Section 11.2 of the BoR Policy Manual delegates authority from the Board of Regents to the USG VC/CIO to approve USG technology procurements on their behalf. Section 11.2.1 authorizes the USG VC/CIO to further delegate approval authority to institution presidents or their designee(s). This section of the Business Procedures Manual implements this BoR policy.

Spending Limits

The USG VC/CIO delegates approval authority for individual IT purchases according to the following limits:

  1. $500,000: Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia.

  2. $250,000: Columbus State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University.

  3. $100,000: All other institutions, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and the Shared Services Center.

IT Procurement Policies

  1. Information Technology (IT) is defined in Section 11.0, Information Technology (IT), of the BoR Policy Manual.

  2. Procurement of technology-related goods and services should follow the relevant BPM procedures.

  3. Authorization is not required for activities that are part of normal maintenance of an existing system.

  4. Any purchase of software that necessitates an inbound data interface with any hosted/centrally supported USG enterprise application must be approved by the USG VC/CIO.

  5. Purchases for goods or services that are likely to have a significant impact on the wide area network bandwidth allocated to the institution should be carefully planned with the USG VC/CIO.

  6. Externally approved, grant-funded technology purchases that do not interact with USG enterprise applications or USG enterprise networks may be approved by the institution president or his/her designee for IT purchases.

  7. Institutions may not divide large purchases into smaller packages to avoid the need for USG approval. Individual purchases that are below these amounts, but are part of a larger initiative that will eventually exceed these amounts, shall also require written USG VC/CIO approval; e.g., purchases of microcomputers for various lab locations on a campus even if the purchases are for different buildings and from multiple fund sources.

  8. USG VC/CIO approval of IT requests will expire one (1) year after being granted.

Requesting Approval

IT requests requiring USG VC/CIO approval must be submitted via the SharePoint CIO Advisory Council Team Site by following the USG IT Purchase Approval link in the left hand menu.

The USG VC/CIO normally approves IT requests within four (4) business days of receipt. A signed letter containing the decision will be emailed to the institution president or his/her designee once a decision is reached. Institutions should plan appropriately.

Professional and Personnel Services

Professional services and personnel services do not have to go through the competitive procurement process, but the definitions of professional services and personnel services are very limited. Professional services are defined by O.C.G.A. § 14-7-2 as follows:

Profession means the profession of certified public accountancy, architecture, chiropractic, dentistry, professional engineering, land surveying, law, psychology, medicine and surgery, optometry, osteopathy, podiatry, veterinary medicine, registered professional nursing, or harbor piloting.

Generally, professionals that are certified in their fields can be hired non-competitively to do work in the certified field for which they are specifically licensed. Examples include:

  • A CPA may be hired to provide accounting services, but not management consulting without a competitive process.
  • An architect may be hired to design a building, but may not develop a campus plan without a competitive process.

Payment to professionals should be charged to the appropriate per diem and fees account. Personnel employment services are those services rendered by a person who works full-time or part-time for and under the control of the state and receives compensation as a salary in direct payment from a department, agency, or institution of state government; e.g., your work as a BOR employee.


Procurement, utilization of, and disposition of motor vehicles is subject to regulation by DOAS and OPB Policy Memorandum #10, “Rules, Regulations and Procedures Governing the Use and Assignment of Motor Vehicles, Purchase, Operation and Disposal of Motor Vehicles and Associated Record-keeping,” dated September 30, 2005. Generally, this policy provides for the following major provisions:

  1. Each institution must assign a fleet coordinator to manage all motor vehicle activities. The fleet coordinator will serve as the contact for OPB and DOAS.

  2. Each institution must file detailed information concerning the motor vehicles owned and/or operated on campus.

    Note: This does not include tractors, forklifts, or other vehicles that do not carry passengers and are not operated on public highways.

  3. Each institution must re-certify the assignment of vehicles to individuals and include information that provides that the employee drove more than 14,000 business miles during the previous fiscal year.

    Note: If the business mileage driven is less than 14,000 miles, the vehicle assignment must be rescinded.

3.2.1 Purchasing Vehicles

The OPB Policy Memorandum #10, Section II, item 5 provides detailed guidance on vehicle purchases that shall be followed by all USG institutions. Among the guidance issued by OPB includes criteria that must be met to justify purchase of new vehicles and of replacement vehicles. These criteria include the following:

Justification for new vehicle

  • Current agency vehicles are being used as originally presented for budget justification.
  • New vehicles are for additional staff or new program/unit.
  • Utilized minimum of 14,000 miles for state business.

Justification for replacement vehicle

  • Old vehicle destroyed.
  • Old vehicle meets replacement criteria.
  • Replacement vehicle will be “like kind” unless DOAS authorizes otherwise based on written justification provided by agency.
  • All current agency vehicles are being used as originally presented for budget justification.
  • No current vehicles are available to replace any worn out vehicles.

Normally, only new vehicles may be purchased. DOAS has authority to grant permission to purchase used vehicles or to enter into lease agreements for vehicles but the institution must provide justification if seeking such permission. All vehicles must be ordered using DOAS statewide contracts.


3.2.2 Disposing of Vehicles

Institutions shall dispose of their vehicles through State Surplus Property. Upon receipt of the new vehicle, the receiving institution has sixty (60) days to deliver the surplus vehicle to a state surplus property location, along with the required documentation.


3.2.3 Transferring Vehicles

The new policy states: “The transfer of vehicles directly between agencies is not authorized by this policy, unless the law specifically authorizes the transfer”.

The transfer of vehicles between USG institutions is allowed with the proper inventory transfer records maintained since the entire university system operates like one state agency. If an institution desires to transfer a vehicle to an agency outside of the USG, then the institution must submit a State Surplus Property Transfer form and invoice via DOAS for approval.


3.2.4 Assigning Vehicles

The following conditions must be met in order for a state employee to qualify for the assignment of a vehicle:

  1. State employees who annually drive more than 14,000 State business miles in order to routinely conduct state business, as determined by the respective agency head.

  2. Employees whose positions require them to perform duties of a sworn POST-certified/registered law enforcement officer AND having a vehicle specially equipped for law enforcement purposes is essential for the employee to carry out their job functions.

Additionally, more detailed guidance on individual assignment of vehicles is provided in Section I of the OPB Policy Memorandum #10.

All vehicle assignment requests must be prepared and submitted using the web-based DOAS MV1 Vehicle Assignment System at the following web site: http://ofm.doas.georgia.gov/. Select Web-Based MV1 Vehicle Assignment. Specific instructions on how to prepare and submit these requests are given on this page.


3.2.5 Using Vehicles To and From Employee’s Residences Authorization

Employees assigned vehicles are not authorized to drive state vehicles to and from their residences unless at least one of the following conditions apply:

  1. The vehicle is assigned to the USG Chancellor.

  2. The vehicle is used for emergency use or specially equipped and used for a related mission, and the vehicle is rarely driven to a central work site from the employee’s home.

  3. Employee works out of his or her home and travels to different work sites on successive days.

  4. There is no overnight security at the employee’s work site where there is evidence of vandalism, and security cannot be obtained for modest cost nearby.

  5. An employee must travel directly to a remote site from his or her home the following morning, and the employee will suffer great inconvenience by having to drop a vehicle off at his or her office at the end of a work day during which the employee has used the vehicle in an authorized manner.

Accounting for Commuting Use of Vehicles for Federal Reporting

Employees who have been pre-approved to drive their agency assigned vehicle to and from work and their residence on a regular basis are considered by the Internal Revenue Code to have derived gross income from such use of their vehicles. The amount of such derived gross income is specified in the Internal Revenue Code, and permits most employees to value commuting use at $1.50 per one-way trip. The code requires that such income be reported with other gross income on individuals’ income tax returns, and that taxes and FICA be paid on such income.

There are other conditions and exceptions that may apply. Internal Revenue Code (Publication 15-B, Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits) should be referenced for additional information. Additionally, institutions may request clarification in writing from the Department of Law by making their request to the University System Legal Office.

The Internal Revenue Code also requires:

  • That employees report the number of commuting trips they make to their employers.
  • That the employers withhold associated taxes and FICA.
  • That the employers report such income and withholdings on individual employees’ W-2 forms.
  • That the employers remit all withholdings and the employers’ share of any owed FICA to the Internal Revenue Service.

At the end of each calendar year, institutions should adjust their employer shares of FICA payments based on employees reported actual commuting trips. Similarly, employees should report their actual number of commuting trips on their tax forms and either remit additional payments or claim refunds accordingly. Institutions that feel their employees are exempt from this federal requirement should request confirmation in writing from the Department of Law.

These issues are addressed in more detail in memoranda issued by the Department of Law. Institutions needing more detail should contact the Department of Law.


3.2.6 Record Keeping Requirement

Assigned Vehicles

Each institution shall establish an internal form for each vehicle owned. This form will be completed monthly, identifying:

  • The vehicle and assigned driver,
  • State and personal (including commuting) mileage driven daily,
  • The locations of beginning and ending stops made daily, and
  • The number of commuting trips made daily.

Only summary mileage and cost information must be maintained monthly for vehicles typically confined to campus areas, except for trips required for fuel and maintenance, and not used for commuting.

Vehicle Allowances for the USG Chancellor

The vehicle allowance is subject to the IRS “accountable plan” that allows all documented expenditures to be non-taxable. Allowable expenses are only state-business miles driven. The Chancellor will be required to provide monthly documentation of state-business miles driven. Any amount of the allowance that is not supported by actual documentation will be converted to wages and subject to income tax withholding and payment of Social Security and Medicare. The conversion to wages will be calculated using the current state mileage reimbursement rate that applies to official travel via private automobile, as noted in BPM Section 4.6.2. No amounts included in income will be treated as salary for retirement system purposes.


The Purchasing Card (P-Card) Program is designed for the cost-effective purchase of supplies, goods, and services subject to applicable state laws, rules, and regulations to include those guidelines issued by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS). DOAS guidelines are applicable to USG institutions, and these DOAS guidelines supersede the BPM (except where noted in the BPM) and institution-level policies and procedures. Refer to the DOAS website under the category of State Purchasing and the sub-category of Purchasing Card Program for more information. Additionally, institutional officials and employees assigned P-Card responsibilities should familiarize themselves with the provisions of public law governing P-Cards to include Title 50, Chapter 5, Article 3 of the O.C.G.A.

A P-Card means a charge card issued by a credit card company, bank, or other financial institution and provided by the State of Georgia or any of its departments or agencies under the State of Georgia Purchasing Card Program to state employees for the purpose of making small dollar purchases on behalf of such departments or agencies of the state. USG institutions are only authorized to use the P-Card Program as currently administered by DOAS. USG institutions are not authorized to obtain any other credit card or debit card issued in the name of the institution or any other State of Georgia entity.

3.3.1 Authorized Uses of Purchasing Cards

All purchases made with a P-Card must be for official State of Georgia business. Cardholders and approving officials are designated as State purchasing agents and are subject to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 45-10-1 et.seq. (State Employee Code of Ethics, Conflicts of Interest, etc.).

The P-Card may be used for:

  1. Equipment. Single units under $3,000.

  2. Supplies, Materials, and Services Not on Statewide or Agency Contract. Supplies, materials, and services (with the exception of Professional Services as listed in BPM Section 3.1.2) may be purchased for less than $5,000. Institutions should monitor activity for purchases for the same supplies, materials, or services from the same vendor so as not to exceed $5,000 per year unless competitively procured as detailed in DOAS regulations and BOR policies and procedures. Supplies and materials purchased may also include items purchased for resale.

  3. Purchases from Statewide and Agency Contracts. Purchases made using a properly established Statewide or Agency Contract are permitted.

  4. Employee Travel Expenses. Purchases may be made for state personnel on official state business for the following expenses:

    • Airline tickets purchased in accordance with BPM Section 4.7.
    • State contract car rentals purchased in accordance with BPM Section 4.7.
    • Conference registration fees charged to account 7271xx may be paid with the requirement that employees not request reimbursement for meals paid with conference registration fees as required in BPM Section 4.4.1.

    Institutions must ensure that travel expenses for employees paid pursuant to this section are recorded as required by the State Travel Regulations. Institutions shall require employees to capture the aforementioned travel expenses on the employee’s travel expense statement. Institutions shall ensure that travel expenses paid with the P-Card and captured on the employee travel expense statement are NOT subsequently reimbursed to the employee.

  5. Student Food, Student Travel, Instructional Uses, and Approved Research. Student food, student travel, and food for instructional uses is permitted as outlined in BPM Sections 19.8 and 21.4, subject to the documentation requirements outlined in this policy.

    Note: Food purchased for official research use as approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), or food that is integral to or subject of research, is permitted. Please note that this is currently an exception to DOAS policy.

    Employee food may be purchased with a P-Card only when an employee is participating in a Group Meal as described in BPM Section 19.7 or an on-campus academic program/on-campus sanctioned student event as described in BPM Section 19.8. Employees participating in off-campus events or in a travel status must request reimbursement (or use a cash advance) as outlined in BPM Sections 4.4, 4.10 and 19.8.

    Additionally, the institution president or the president’s designee must approve cardholders authorized to make food purchases. Such approval should take place only after the cardholder has been adequately trained on what food purchases are allowable.

  6. Motor Vehicle Repairs and Maintenance for State-Owned Fleet Vehicles. Repairs and maintenance are authorized for state vehicles. All costs associated with state vehicle repair and maintenance must be reported in accordance with DOAS fleet management regulations using the Maximo system. Additionally, institutions must carefully monitor these expenditures to ensure that these purchases are made only for state vehicles.

    Note: Personal vehicle costs may only be reimbursed on a mileage basis as outlined in BPM Section 4.6 and may not be paid with a P-Card. Please note that this is currently an exception to DOAS policy.


3.3.2 Prohibited Uses of Purchasing Cards

The purchasing card may not be used for:

  1. Personal items. The use of the P-Card for personal expenditures is strictly prohibited. Cardholders who violate this rule must reimburse these funds and may be subject to both loss of employment and criminal penalties.

  2. Lodging, Transportation, and Meals for employees except as authorized in BPM Section 3.3.1, item 4.

  3. Entertainment expenses.

  4. Alcohol or tobacco products.

  5. Professional services as listed in BPM Section 3.1.2 and O.C.G.A. § 14-7-2.

  6. Gift cards, gift certificates, or other cash equivalent items.

  7. Food except as authorized under BPM Section 3.3.1.

  8. Cash advances, cash refunds, or “store credit.”

  9. Agency (funds held on deposit) or affiliated organization expenditures except as permitted for agency funds as detailed in BPM Section 21.4.

  10. Purchases made from units of the institution. Purchases made from units within the institution should be handled using a cost transfer or other payment method. Use of the P-Card subjects the selling unit to the merchant fees associated with credit card sales and is not a cost-effective means of making intra-institution purchases. For example, an institution should not permit use of the P-Card for purchases made from the institution-managed bookstore.

  11. Split purchases. Split purchases designed to circumvent the single transaction limits and procurement requirements previously enumerated are not allowed.

  12. Sales tax. Sales tax should not be paid for purchases made from vendors within the State of Georgia using institutional funds. Institutional funds used to further institutional business purposes are not subject to sales tax as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3 (8). Sales tax may be paid when required for vendors out of state.


3.3.3 Program Administration

The Purchasing Card program is operated through a contract with the Bank of America, which issues Bank of America VISA® purchasing cards free of charge. There is no administrative fee associated with the purchasing card. The Bank of America P-Card program as administered by DOAS is the only authorized purchasing card program at USG institutions.

Billing settlement options include ACH debit or credit, or federal wire. Most institutions elect to use the ACH method.

Lost, stolen, or fraudulently used P-Cards must be reported to the Bank of America (1-888-449-2273) and DOAS (email to ProcessImprovement@DOAS.GA.GOV) within 24 hours of discovering the loss, theft, or fraudulent use. The cardholder’s approving official and the P-Card Coordinator must also be notified. Evidence of fraudulent use may be requested to include transaction detail. Lost or stolen cards require card cancellation. Failure to report the loss, theft, or fraudulent use of the P-Card may result in increased financial loss to the institution.


3.3.4 Purchasing Card Account Code

A limited number of merchants feed “item description” into the reports, but a large portion of the transactions do not have an “item description”. This means that it is actually very difficult to categorize the expenditures into the exact expenditure account. For this reason, the USG is authorized to utilize Account Code “714900-Purchase Card Expense” for all transactions reported from the purchasing card system, except as follows:

  1. Purchase of equipment items.

  2. Purchases normally required for input into “Continuous Audit.”

  3. Purchases that must be tracked pursuant to a federal, state, or private grant or contract award.

  4. Other purchases that must be tracked in a specific accounting code in accordance with legal, regulatory, or contractual requirements.

Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit institutions from electing to manually track all purchasing card procurements to allow accurate categorization into expenditure accounts.


3.3.5 Purchasing Card Reports

Reports are available from the Bank of America, in printed form and also in electronic format. *

* Note: Institutions using the GeorgiaFIRST model of the PeopleSoft Financials software should refer to Business Process GL.040.006 – Running the Purchasing Card Interface for more information on loading the Bank of America purchasing card information into PeopleSoft from WORKS.


3.3.6 Purchasing Card Program Objectives and Internal Controls

Each USG institution is responsible for establishing proper internal controls over the P-Card program. The objectives of proper internal controls include:

  1. Ensure compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies.

  2. Safeguard the assets of the institution from fraud, waste, and abuse.

  3. Provide for the effective and efficient administration of the P-Card program so as to support the educational objectives of the institution.

The responsibility for effective internal controls ultimately rests with institution leadership. However, it is expected that institution leadership will delegate aspects of P-Card program management and assessment to various offices and employees on campus to include the Purchasing office, P-Card program administrators, internal audit, P-Card approving officials, P-Card cardholders, supervisors, etc. Responsibility for individual purchases rests with the individual cardholder making the purchase and the approving official who approves the purchase.

The University System is requiring institutions using the P-Card program to establish controls designed to meet the objectives listed above. The following Sections 3.3.7 through 3.3.9 provide a list of specific policies, procedures, and other requirements that each institution must incorporate as controls in its institutional policies. Additionally, each institution shall implement additional controls as needed to ensure compliance with the P-Card program objectives.


3.3.7 Purchasing Card Program Compliance

Each institution is responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies governing P-Cards. Ensuring compliance shall, at a minimum, include the following controls:

  1. Develop and maintain institutional P-Card policies and procedures that fully incorporate current DOAS and USG policies and procedures.

  2. Ensure that P-Cards are issued only to permanent employees of the institution.

  3. Ensure that P-Cards are not issued to employees of Foundations and other affiliated organizations associated with the institution.

  4. Ensure that a P-Card is issued only to a named individual and not to a department or office.

  5. Ensure that cardholders do not share the P-Card or P-Card number for use by other employees.

  6. Develop a statement of ethical values pertaining to P-Card usage for signature by all cardholders and approving officials. The statement of ethical values should incorporate DOAS and USG policies and procedures as well as the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 45-10-1 et.seq. (State Employee Code of Ethics, Conflicts of Interest, etc.). Cardholders must sign the statement of ethical values in order to have a P-Card. Individuals assigned approving official responsibilities must also sign the statement of ethical values prior to being assigned as a P-Card approving official.

  7. Establish penalties for misuse of the P-Card to include a written system that documents warnings, suspensions, terminations, and permanent P-Card revocation.

  8. Require cardholders to obtain receipts for all purchases made on the P-Card. The receipt should include:

    • Vendor name
    • Transaction amount
    • Date
    • Itemized list of items purchased

    Copies or facsimiles of the original receipt may be acceptable if the original is not available. A screen-print or order confirmation e-mail is required when making Internet purchases, or a copy of an order-form that was mailed to a vendor to request an item. The screen print/order confirmation must include the shipping date and be signed as received.

    The institution shall centrally maintain receipts and supporting documentation for P-Card purchases or may assign this responsibility to approving officials, departments, etc. Receipts and supporting documentation shall be maintained for a period of five (5) years and shall be made available as needed for audit or review. It is recommended that institutions centrally maintain the receipts and supporting documentation.

  9. Require cardholders to maintain a log in the cardholder’s name showing:

    • Each P-Card purchase
    • Relevant vendor’s name
    • Item(s) purchased
    • Date of the purchase
    • Amount of the purchase
    • Name of the employee for whom the purchase was made
    • Intended business use
    • Grant or project to which the purchase is applicable
    • Other information as required

    The cardholder shall be required to maintain copies of this log for five (5) years or the institution may centrally maintain copies of the log. The log shall be made available as needed for audit or review.

  10. Require approving officials to review assigned cardholder P-Card purchases on at least a monthly basis. The approving official should provide evidence of his or her review through a signature on the P-Card purchasing log and/or the monthly Bank of America statement. It is recommended that the approving official monitor P-Card purchases on a more frequent basis using the WORKStm program.

  11. Follow all federal laws applicable to the reporting of spending with 1099 vendors. Vendors that must be reported on 1099s are captured in the VISA® Information Management System, which is available to all institutions through the P-Card provider. Institution P-Card administrators must contact the P-Card provider for access to the web-based VISA® Information Management System.

    It is the responsibility of each institution participating in the P-Card program to put in place procedures to comply with any federal tax laws regarding 1099 reporting. Please note that the P-Card may not be used for professional services as outlined in BPM Section 3.3.2, item 5.

  12. Ensure that P-Card purchasing records are retained for at least five (5) years.

  13. Report any misuse of P-Cards in compliance with the provisions as outlined in BPM Section 16.4, Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.


3.3.8 Purchasing Card Program Safeguarding of Assets

Each institution is responsible for ensuring that the institution’s assets are safeguarded from fraud, waste, and abuse. Ensuring the safeguarding of assets shall, at a minimum, include the following controls:

  1. Ensure that rebates or refunds from vendors shall be the property of the institution and shall be paid promptly into the institution’s accounts.

  2. Perform criminal and consumer background checks in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 50-5-83. The institution shall ensure that the results of a criminal background check and consumer credit check are provided the privacy protections required by law. Institutions shall comply with the provisions of the Human Resources Administrative Policy Manual in implementing a background check requirement.

  3. Require cardholders to personally reimburse the institutions for purchases made that are not appropriately documented. Approving officials also may be required to reimburse the institution if the approving official approved the purchase.

    Note: Habitual loss of receipts/documentation may require personal reimbursement by the cardholder and/or approver, and may also result in termination of the P-Card.

  4. Ensure that any items of value purchased for distribution to students be allowed only in support of the educational objectives of the institution. Additionally, ensure that the cardholder maintains sufficient documentation so as to identify the individual receiving an item.

    Note: The requirement to track individual recipients does not apply to items of de minimis value.

  5. Ensure that P-Cards are promptly cancelled upon employee transfer or termination.


3.3.9 Purchasing Card Program Effectiveness and Efficiency

Each institution is responsible for providing effective and efficient administration of the P-Card program in support of the institution’s educational objectives. Ensuring effective and efficient administration shall, at a minimum, include the following controls:

  1. Formally designate P-Card roles and responsibilities to include P-Card program administration, approving officials, and cardholders.

  2. Formally identify job positions within the institution that would require the use of a P-Card.

  3. Develop a training manual on the use of P-Cards that shall instruct cardholders and approving officials on the maximum value utilization of P-Cards, applicable policies and procedures, and purchasing rules that may impact P-Card usage.

  4. Require initial and refresher training for both cardholders and approving officials. Failure to participate in initial training shall result in non-issuance of the P-Card, and failure to participate in refresher training shall result in card suspension until the training is completed.

  5. Review not less than annually all P-Cards issued to employees, and eliminate P-Cards for employees who demonstrate consistently low usage of P-Cards or no longer have a demonstrated business need for the P-Card.

  6. Limit the number of cardholders for which an approving official may be responsible to a reasonable number over which the approving official may exercise sufficient oversight. It is recommended that the number of cardholders for which an approving official is responsible not exceed ten (10) cardholders.

  7. Ensure that a sample of P-Card purchases are independently reviewed by the P-Card program administrator, campus internal auditor, or other trained personnel independent of the approving official and cardholder under review at least annually.


This section presents selected BOR policies in a highly summarized format. It should be considered a guide and used as a source of information for further research. For specific authority on executing contracts, the reader should also research the BOR Policy manual, as well as reviewing written documents delegating authority to the reader’s local institution to sign contracts.

3.4.1 Authority to Execute Contracts

Prior to any delegation of authority, only the Chancellor and the Chancellor’s designee are authorized to:

  1. Enter into rental agreements where the total rent to be paid by the BOR does not exceed $5,000.00 per month.

  2. Sign contracts, agreements, deeds, licenses, or other instruments related to the purchase or gift of real property where the purchase price or gift value does not exceed $100,000.00.

  3. Accept gifts, bequests, agreements or declarations of trust in those instances where the initial gift or trust estate is $100,000.00 or less. The Chancellor may, at his/her discretion, delegate the authority to execute said documents to the Treasurer or to the presidents of the individual USG institutions. However, the Chancellor is not authorized to delegate to the presidents the authority to accept gifts of real property.

  4. Act as contracting officers for and on behalf of the Board of Regents in the execution of construction contracts, contracts for professional services, selection of architects and engineers, execution of contracts for new buildings, etc. However, the authority so delegated shall not exceed the sum of $1,000,000.00 for any one contractual obligation.

The Chancellor and the Chancellor’s designee are authorized to delegate any or all of the above authority to act as contracting officers to the individual USG institutions.

Generally, the authority to sign contracts for the day-to-day operations of an institution has been delegated to the individual institutions. It is imperative that the documented authority is available in the permanent files of the institution as proof of such authorization.


Personal use of institutional procurement channels is not permitted. The USG Policy Manual states:

Absent a specific and approved exemption, employees of the University System shall not purchase goods or services for personal use through channels used in the purchase of goods and services for the operation of the University System.

Purchases made by University System of Georgia institutions related to normal campus operations or purchases for resale are not subject to sales taxes. Some purchases utilizing agency funds, however, will be subject to sales taxes. The Georgia Department of Revenue determines what purchases are subject to sales taxes, and should be contacted if an interpretation is required.

Sales tax exemption forms should be provided to vendors to eliminate sales tax from appearing on invoices or from being collected at the time of sale. The timing of when to provide the sales tax exemption form is influenced by the type of purchasing activity. There are two basic types of purchasing activity, as indicated below:

  1. Invoiced Sales: Generally these are sales to the institution from vendors that have an ongoing sales relationship with the institution. Once a standard sales tax exemption form has been provided to the vendor, no further action is required. As a normal policy, purchases initiated via purchase order also provide notice to the vendor that it is a tax-exempt sale.

  2. Miscellaneous purchases, including petty cash purchases and purchasing card purchases: Without receiving some notification at the time of the sale, these types of sales are likely to appear to be sales to individuals by the vendor and therefore subject to sales tax. It is very important that institutional personnel provide a tax exemption certificate to the vendor at the time of making the purchase. Each institutional procurement office must insure that all personnel making these types of purchases are given adequate instructions and proper forms to eliminate sales taxes from being charged to the institution.

Generic Sales Tax Exemption forms may be obtained from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
However, institutions are encouraged to print their own sales tax exemption forms that include institution-specific information such as name, address, and sales tax ID number.

3.1.3 Background Checks of Vendor Employees

Institutions shall review services provided to the institution by a vendor when the services require regular interaction with students, employees, monies, sensitive/confidential data, or facilities. In instances when the institution determines that the scope of work being performed by a vendor’s employee is such that a background check should be required, the institution should seek appropriate contractual protections, include requiring the vendor obtain appropriate background checks for all such vendor employees. Examples of services could include outsourced bookstore operations, food services, maintenance, custodial workers, and call centers that involve access to confidential data.

Vendors maintain full responsibility for the actions of their employees and will be fully responsible for enforcing and implementing an appropriate background check requirement. The vendor will review the results of the background check. The institution should not obtain the results of these checks. If appropriate, the requirement for a vendor to conduct background checks on its employees and to indemnify the institution against the actions of vendor employees must be specified in the contract for services.


↑ Top