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JoAleen Ainslie – Featured Member for July 2018

Manager, Accounts Payable & Procurement Card

 JoAleen has often been described as a passionate visionary and innovator—who loves the question, "Why not?" She is a believer in lifelong learning for both business and pleasure. She has an intense interest in human psychology, worldwide cultures, religions, history and current events—all of which translates to her love of the Procurement Card and commercial payment industry. This has paid off as evidenced by her recent promotion from management analyst II, Procurement Card program manager to management analyst III, Procurement Cards & Accounts Payable manager. She is currently tasked with expanding the City of Tacoma’s card program exponentially through its new P2P eProcurement/eInvoicing platform that went live May 22, 2017.

Her career contains many milestones in this chosen field, which includes frequently serving as a contributor to white papers and articles, and presenter, panelist and facilitator at supplier outreach sessions, conferences and forums for various organizations (NAPCP, NIGP, NLC and Washington State to name a few). She has an extensive background ranging from being a private credit collections firm partner, the manager of the Office of Student Accounts at a private business college, to finance, procurement and payables for many years in the K-12 environment where she was exposed to Commercial Cards as their very first coordinator. This fueled her passion for this industry, which resulted in moving to the City of Tacoma to expand their program. She credits her success in this arena to her long-time, valuable membership in the NAPCP since 2002. She loves storytelling, and even more, hearing other folks' stories—just ask a few of the NAPCP members who waited in line for a table at past conferences. She is a proud and loud Seattle Seahawks and Sounders fan. She has converted her kids, grandkids and great grandkids to that end, all of whom love to watch football and soccer at Grandma Jo’s house.
JoAleen has made numerous contributions to NAPCP over the years. She is part of the Government/K-12 Advisory Team, has spoken at several NAPCP Annual Conferences and is a content superhero. Examples of her contributions include: Communication Language to Use When Corresponding With Suppliers Who Surcharge, Personal Professional Development in a P-Card World Key to Your Program's Success!, and inputs into the Cost Savings: Purchasing Cards vs. Traditional Purchase Orders in the Government Sector report.  NAPCP end-user members who would like to connect with JoAleen, feel free to do so via our member directoryRead more about JoAleen in the interview below:


1. What are you passionate about with your job? Outside of work? I love the challenges. The fact that it is never boring is the biggest plus. The very nature of this "beast" attracts me because it is all about seeing/sharing a vision then building from the foundation upward using rapidly changing technology, genuine relationships and keeping abreast of requirements. I have always been curious about how things work and what makes people tick. I have found curiosity is a great asset if one wants to be successful in this field! I am extremely fortunate because here at the City I am encouraged to follow this passion and have a terrific team with whom to do it. I am an ardent fan of music and dance, especially live music. In fact, I must get my live music fix at least once a month. It is balm for my soul for sure. I enjoy spending time with my grandkids and great grand kids (one at a time). I take them to all ages music venues, soccer and Seahawk football games. Watching the little ones mesmerized by music and learning new things is a beautiful thing to behold. It certainly keeps me young at heart.

2. What are you most proud of about your job? The continued growth and evolution of the program, especially the support I receive from upper management and my team of direct reports. They are committed to continuous improvement and are not afraid to brainstorm about innovations for both cards and AP processes. I just received my certification for completing the City of Tacoma’s Continuous Improvement Advocates program, which entailed putting together and facilitating a project to solve a specific problem involving AP billing process and card use. I will now be eligible to assist client departments with their own issues.

3. JoAleen's current challenge: I am the business project manager for our card software upgrade and ePayables implementation that is scheduled to begin June 4. It started out as a project to not only upgrade our card reconciliation software but also to open more avenues of integration into our new P2P eProcurement/eInvoicing system for no-release (non-PO) contracts and CIF catalog vendors. The P2P structure has been unable to integrate cards for no-release (non-PO) contracts and CIF catalog vendors, which represent a large volume of current suppliers with contract card payment terms. The project was approved for the 2017-2018 biennium budget. We also planned to implement ePayables in 2020 and requested funding for it. At the beginning of May, we were denied due to budget constraints which included a mandate to reduce our budget by 4 percent for the 2019-2020 biennium. This meant any improvements involving technology would have to come out of the current budget. The big hurdle was could we change the project direction and scope to include ePayables this late in the game (two weeks before project start). With my supervisor’s support, I decided to investigate. I contacted all project stakeholders plus researched ePayables compatibility with our P2P structure. After completing an in-depth analysis of current spend, what could be transferred to card spend via ePayables and whether or not the bank could assign a tech team this quickly, the bank is onboard; the AP optimization report provided; broke the project into phase 1 & 2, with ePayables as phase 2. My results showed we could replace the Ariba P2P project integration piece by adopting ePayables as both a payment term and method via FTP channel in SAP. By setting up our P2P vendors with EPAY terms, there won’t need to be any card integration since all payments flow from SAP and will be reconciled in Xponential. To me, the budget reduction was a blessing in disguise because it provided the opportunity to implement ePayables immediately with no additional funding required, PLUS, based on the analysis, just a 5 percent transferred budgeted spend to EPAY by the end of this year will generate enough bank incentive to cover the 4 percent budget shortfall for the next biennium. 

4. Fun Fact: I have been asked for my autograph several times since my late teens. Why? Because I resembled Jane Fonda. One of the most recent times was at our NAPCP Atlanta conference. I was on a walk passing Ted Turner’s restaurant when a group of folks coming out decided I was Jane and thought I was denying it to avoid giving an autograph! I showed them my ID and we all had a great laugh about it. 

Program Details: 

  • Card count: 1,043 (grown from 650 in 2008)
  • Annual spend from 2017: $19,918,478.21
  • Average quarterly file turn: Consistently under 15 days  
  • Current provider: US Bank/VISA

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