Roles & Responsibilities

Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of Commercial Card program participants is an important part of establishing an effective control environment. This begins with having an executive-level program champion who carefully selects the right program administrator or program manager to lead the program. From there, developing support roles also warrants thought. See seven program staffing factors to consider

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Executive Champion

From the beginning, executive management support is critical to developing a best practice program. Beyond implementation, the ongoing role of an executive champion includes:

  • supporting training initiatives

  • enforcing employee accountability

  • promoting the program

  • routinely reviewing program status

  • helping to steer the program direction

Access related resources:

At the foundation of every great card program is a partnership between the executive champion and PM/PA.

At the foundation of every great card program is a partnership between the executive champion and PM/PA.

See more about hiring an expert to manage the card program, including the relevant experience, qualities, and skills. In addition, access questions to ask interviewers when pursuing an end-user program manager position.

Program Manager/Program Administrator (PM/PA)

Long-term program success is driven by a program manager or administrator (PM/PA) who has the ability to:

  • garner program buy-in

  • develop clear policies and procedures

  • effectively train program participants

  • resolve transaction declines and related card usage issues

  • articulate and establish P-Card best practices

  • identify and remedy gaps in controls

  • quantify and communicate relevant metrics

  • implement technology solutions

  • suggest and pursue growth opportunities

Key Control Roles


They are the first line of defense against external fraud, making timely review and reconciliation of transactions an extremely important task. See also content about:


They are the first line of defense against cardholder fraud and misuse, so their role is equally important. Their sign off on cardholders’ transactions represents that the transactions are legitimate and comply with the organization’s policies and procedures. See related blog post: Are managers at fault (for cardholder fraud)? How to help them be successful.

Tip: The manager-approver should hold a position with more authority than the cardholders for whom he or she provides oversight.


An independent review of transactions by internal audit, the program manager, or other team (and aided by auditing technology) serves to catch any potential fraud previously missed by cardholders and manager-approvers. In addition, there should be process audits that verify and test internal controls. See more about auditing.

Best Practices

Protect the card program and help program participants be successful at their roles by:

Everyone, including executives, should be held accountable for their respective role. Lack of (or inconsistent) enforcement sends a message that policies and procedures are optional, increasing risk of card fraud and misuse. 

Internal Support Roles

In most organizations, procurement and accounts payable (AP) fulfill an important support function. One or both could be part of a campaign to move existing suppliers from checks to card payments. In addition, if procurement selects vendors, they are in the position of being able to initiate card acceptance and the related terms from the start. At the other end of the process, AP is often in a gatekeeper position to uphold policies and/or contracts concerning payment method. Access related resources:

External Support

In addition to the support of internal employees, support from the card issuer/provider helps an end-user organization achieve and maintain program success. Access related resources about selecting a provider and evaluating their performance.