New purchasing program saving district money

A new purchasing system has paid off for Nanaimo school district to the tune of thousands of dollars in rebates over the past four years.

A new purchasing system has paid off for Nanaimo school district to the tune of thousands of dollars in rebates over the past four years.

In February 2009, the district began giving purchasing cards, which are accepted the same way as a credit card, to employees who regularly make purchases on behalf of the district.

More than 300 ‘P-cards’ are in use in the district, some of which are team cards that allow school employees to use them on field trips and other activities. Employees are required to fill out some paperwork to use the cards and an internal audit process ensures that the cards are used appropriately.

Phil Turin, secretary-treasurer, said prior to this program the district had a purchasing program with a U.S. bank, but fewer people had cards and many employees made purchases on their personal credit cards and then were reimbursed by the district.

With the previous program, the district did not get a rebate, but the new program with the Bank of Montreal is a government purchasing program that gives out rebates based on the amount the district spends.

Last year, the district received more than $54,000 and Turin estimates that by the end of 2013, the district will have received just under $200,000 in rebates for belonging to this new program, he said.

The program has also saved the district time as it has reduced the need to process invoices and issue cheques.