A2OpenBook: Now With P-Card Use

The city of Ann Arbor’s A2OpenBook accounting now includes P-Card (purchase/procurement card) use. P-cards can be used by a limited number of city employees to make purchases for relatively small amounts of money – under $3,000.

Roughly 100 cards are in circulation. Individual cards can be tailored for daily or monthly limits or by type of merchant. For example, if an employee is issued a P-Card for some specific type of purchase related to their job, then other uses – for travel or food, or computer purchases – could be prohibited as part of the card’s configuration. [.pdf of city policy on P-Cards]

The P-Card data had previously been available online through the city’s DataCatalog in the form of very large spreadsheets. The move to the A2OpenBook platform adds categorization by expense type and allows users of the system to specify time periods for a P-Card use. For example, for the expense category of “conference training and travel,” since July 1, 2011, P-Card use totaled $51,296.80.

The P-Card data is not refreshed overnight as other A2OpenBook data is – there’s a roughly three-month timeframe between use of a card and its posting to A2OpenBook. During that period, the transactions are downloaded from the bank, reconciled, and receipts from all departments are turned in. (A point identified by the city’s auditor last year was a need to ensure that P-Card use was documented better. Added after initial publication: The verification on authorized use is a separate process from the reconciliation process, which entails that the charges be placed on the correct expense line.)

The eventual rollout of P-Cards on the A2OpenBook platform was previously reported in a Nov. 30, 2011 Chronicle column.