Topics Every P-Card P&P Manual Should Include

Even if your Purchasing Card policies and procedures (P&P) manual is current, it could be lacking in other ways, resulting in repeated questions and compliance issues. Have you evaluated the manual’s topics and related content recently? It might be missing key information. Yet, reviewing and updating P&P often fall to the bottom of someone’s to-do list. According to AP Now’s AP Practices Survey Results, fewer than 20% of respondents update their accounts payable P&P at least annually. I assume the same could be true for P-Card P&P. To help you gauge whether you are covering the right material, following are 12 broad topics along with example sub-topics for some.

Primary Topics

1. P-Card Overview

Relay what P-Cards are, why the organization has a program, what P-Cards are used for, etc.

2. Roles and Responsibilities

3. How to Obtain a P-Card

4. Card Security and Limits

Be sure to provide insight on common scams/external frauds and how to combat.

5. Card Usage

This broad category spans many sub-topics, such as:

  • Allowed and prohibited purchases, including parameters describing “necessary” versus “extravagant” business purchases
  • Preferred/approved vendors
  • Placing an order—the P-Card purchase-to-pay (P2P) process
  • Supporting documentation requirements
  • Returning an order and receiving credit
  • Accidental usage for a personal purchase
  • What constitutes card misuse/abuse

6. Transaction Declines

Explain why this might happen and what to do in response.

7. Transaction Reconcilement and Review

One relevant sub-topic is how cardholders should address a problematic transaction; see the previous blog post for tips

8. Ongoing Training Requirements

9. Card Expiration and Renewal

10. About Program Auditing 

While you do not need to give away any secrets, you do want program participants to know that transactions are monitored.

11. Card Cancellation

12. Reference Materials

Examples include a glossary, user guide for the P-Card technology, relevant forms, etc.

Concluding Thoughts

While it is nearly impossible within the P&P to address every unique situation that could arise, think about what you experience on a regular basis, such as frequently asked questions and common mistakes. Respond to these experiences by planning to make the related content clearer, more prominent, and easier to find. Taking the time to make your P&P more robust can pay off.

Additional Resources

See more content on P-Card policies and procedures from Recharged Education, including a related guide available for purchase for just $29.99.

For more information about AP Now’s AP Practices Survey Results referenced in the introduction above, visit

Two Upcoming Events

  1. July 24 Public Sector Virtual Symposium: Preparing Public Sector Auditors for Tomorrow’s Terrain
  2. July 25 Webinar: P-Card Fraud Prevention and Detection Best Practices (additional tips about P-Card P&P will be shared)

Visit the Events page for more information.

Subscribe to the Blog

Receive notice of new blog posts.

About the Author

Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With 20 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more