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Purchasing Card Essentials Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the Guide
Applicability for CPCP Exam Preparation
Terms of Use
About the NAPCP

Chapter 1:
Introduction to Purchasing Cards and Other Commercial Card Products

Review: Traditional Procure-to-Pay Process

What is a Purchasing Card?

Key Players in a Purchasing Card Program

How Purchasing Cards Work

Purchasing Card Account Types


Data Capture Levels

Industry Growth and Spend Patterns

Other Commercial Card Products

How Electronic Payables Work

How Electronic Payables Differ from P‑Cards


Chapter 2:
The Value Proposition: P‑Cards and Electronic Payables

Indicators Leading to the P‑Card Opportunity

Benefits of P‑Cards

Benefits of Electronic Payables

A Word About Suppliers


Chapter 3:
Researching the Opportunities and Business Case

Role of Senior Management

Establishing a Research Team

Considering Different Commercial Card Options

Conducting Preliminary Research

Reviewing Existing Processes and Related Costs

Defining Targeted Transactions

Creating a Business Case

Preparing a Project Plan


Chapter 4:
Developing a Program Model

Responsibility for the Model

Purpose of a Program Model

Finalizing Desired Card Programs

Creating Program Goals and Objectives

Designing the Control Environment

Defining Program Roles

Understanding Government Regulations

Determining Information Technology Requirements

Public Versus Private Sector Organizations


Chapter 5:
The Request for Proposal Process for Issuer or Provider Selection

Objectives of the RFP Process

RFP Project Plan

The RFP Team

Understanding the Role of the Card Issuer or Provider

Identifying Potential Issuers

Recognizing the Importance of Technology

RFP Communication Methods

The RFP Development

The RFP Structure

Evaluation Criteria

RFP Release and Open Period

Proposal Evaluation

The Down-Select Process

Meetings with Issuers

The Negotiation Phase


Chapter 6:
Program Implementation

Developing an Implementation Strategy

The Pilot Program

The Full Program Rollout


Chapter 7:
Program Administration, Management and Support

Managing a P‑Card Program

P‑Card Program Management Roles

Role of a Steering Committee

Staffing Level for Program Management

Selecting a Program Management Team

Program Management Salaries

Managing an Electronic Payables Program


Chapter 8:
Policies and Procedures

Creating Card Policies

Maintaining the Manuals

Elements of a Policies and Procedures Manual

Administration Manual for Program Management Staff


Chapter 9:
Controls and Auditing

Review of the Control Environment

Data Protection

Systemic Controls

Differences in Systemic Controls for Other Commercial Cards

About Convenience Checks


Controls Related to the Accounting Process

Audit Preparation

Primary Types of Audits

Program Compliance


Chapter 10:
Communications and Training

The "Who and What" of P‑Card Program Communications

Communications Related to an Electronic Payables Program

Communication Methods

The "Who and What" of P‑Card Training

Training Duration

Training Methods

Evaluating the Success of Communications and Training

Refresher Training


Chapter 11:
Partnering with Suppliers

Educational Resources

Acquiring Process

Merchant Rules

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

Card Acceptance in the United States

Benefits of Card Acceptance to Suppliers

Economics of Card Acceptance

Identifying Potential Suppliers

Planning for Interaction with Targeted Suppliers

New Suppliers and Supplier Contracts

Methods for Improving Supplier Acceptance of Cards


Chapter 12:
Program Optimization and Expansion


Evaluating the Program Infrastructure

Introduction to Program Optimization and Expansion

Important Considerations

Approaches to Optimization

Incorporating Expansion Plans into a Payments Strategy

Exploration and Expansion Ideas

Assessing Optimization and Expansion Methods

Obtaining Support

Planning for Optimization and Expansion

Measuring Optimization and Expansion Success




Example 1. Quantifying P‑Card Savings Using Industry Averages

Example 2. Traditional Ghost Account Usage

Example 3. P‑Card Program Goals

Example 4. Possible Sections for a Card Program RFP

Example 5. Pilot Program Survey

Example 6. Common Elements of a P‑Card P&P Manual

Example 7. Supplier Economics of Card Acceptance


Figure 1. The Purchasing Card Process, Participants and Their Roles

Figure 2. P‑Card Billing Process

Figure 3. Today's Common P‑Card Spend Categories

Figure 4. Traditional Procure-to-Pay Process

Figure 5. P‑Card Procure-to-Pay Process

Figure 6. Program Management Hierarchy

Figure 7. P‑Card Data Flow from Issuer to End-User

Figure 8. Depiction of Program Stages

Figure 9. Program Management Toolkit

Figure 10. Reconciliation and Approval Process

Figure 11. General Distribution of Merchant Discount Fee


Instruction 1. Determining Process Cost

Instruction 2. Setting up Evaluation Criteria for Proposals Submitted in Response to the RFP


Table 1. Levels of Transaction Data

Table 2. Procure-to-Pay Processes: Traditional P‑Cards Versus Electronic Payables

Table 3. Targets for P‑Cards and Electronic Payables

Table 4. Transaction Sizes Common to P‑Card Payments

Table 5. Comparison of Traditional P‑Cards and Ghost Accounts

Table 6. Support Roles Commonly Associated with P‑Card Program Management

Table 7. Financial Interface File: A/P System vs. General Ledger

Table 8. Major Stages of the RFP Process

Table 9. P‑Card-Related Metrics

Table 10. Factors Impacting the Staffing Level Needed for Program Management

Table 11. Card Controls

Table 12. Common Reports to Support Control Environment

Table 13. Common Approaches to P‑Card Communications

Table 14. Training Duration Options: Advantages and Disadvantages of Each

Table 15. Advantages and Disadvantages of Training Methods

Table 16. Sample Supplier Requirements

Table 17. Examples of Program Operations to Improve Through Technology or Automation

Table 18. Considerations for Card Program Expansion


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