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How to complete a p-card form

Full instructions for completing and submitting a p-card form

If you’re already a pro at this but just need a refresher, feel free to skip to the section relevant to the specific section of the form detailed in the table of contents above. You can also review this guide section by section if you would prefer.

⭐ Overview

P-card forms are your way of recording what accounts a transaction should be charged to, and of explaining why the item was purchased. This form is then submitted to the transaction approvers so that the transaction can be reviewed before being approved or forwarded to another department.


You can create a p-card form in two ways:

  1. From the Card Manager’s Dashboard, click on Go to P-Card Form to create a form connected to the transaction right next to it.
  1. Click the pink New P-Card Form button to create a form not connected to a transaction.

If you are unfamiliar with the Card Manager’s Dashboard, make sure to review our quick guide on how to use it before proceeding with this tutorial.


Here’s an example of what the p-card form looks like starting from option #1, before being filled out:

The editing screen of form in the midst of completion.
The editing screen of form in the midst of completion.

📬 Communication

Status: Shows you the status of your p-card form, such as No Documentation for an unfinished, unsubmitted form.


Communication Notes: Any conversation between you and the transaction approvers will show up here. If your form was returned for your review, this is also where you will find out why and what you need to do to fix it.

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Related P-Card Transaction: This will default to the transaction you are filling the form out for; however, if you started by making a free-form p-card form independent of a transaction by clicking New P-Card form on the Card Manager’s dashboard, you can choose which transaction to link this form to using this drop down menu.


Transaction Nickname (Optional): Allows you to give a nickname to the form to be easier to find in case you want to search for it again later.


📃 Transaction Information

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Doc. No.: short for “Document Number.” The identifying number for the transaction

Card Holder: The holder of the card the transaction was purchased with

Amount: The final amount of the transaction

Document Date: The date the card was charged

Description: The bank statement description of the transaction, provided by the vendor


This field will auto-populate with the details of the transaction if you clicked on Go to P-Card Form. If you used the New P-Card form option, the transaction information will not auto-populate until you select a transaction:

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If your transaction is one of the below, you must check the appropriate box:
  • Personal expense: a transaction not intended for MIT business but was placed on a p-card by accident
  • Fraudulent charge: a fraudulent charge
  • Anticipating International Transactions: for transactions purchased by suppliers outside of the U.S.
  • Anticipating Refund: for transactions where a refund or other credit is expected, such as on tax

Personal Expenses

If this box is checked, you will need to fill out the p-card form and submit special documentation. See How do I submit a form or check for a personal expense? for how to complete a p-card form in this situation.


Fraudulent Charges

A fraudulent charge is a special situation that doesn’t quite follow the flow of filling out a normal p-card form. If you need to check this box, see How do I request a temporary spending increase on my p-card? on what to properly do in this situation.


Anticipated International Transactions

Such transactions are nearly always accompanied by a separate, secondary charge equivalent to 1% of the cost of the original transaction (e.g., if what you bought was $60, the international transaction fee would be around $0.60). If you have purchased from a vendor based outside of the U.S, you should anticipate this fee and check this box. Since these charges are separate transactions, they must be linked to the original charge in QuickBase when they come in, after the original charge’s form has been submitted. See How to connect an international transaction fee or refund to its original charge for what to expect.


Anticipated Refunds

Since these credits are separate transactions, they must be linked to the original charge in QuickBase after the original’s form has been submitted. By checking this box, you will be prompted to input the exact credit amount. If you forget to check this box, put the wrong amount, or forget to put in an amount, you will run into issues later when the credit comes in. See How to connect an international transaction fee or refund to its original charge for how to resolve if this happens.


💰 Account Info

The account (also referred to as a cost object) is the account you are looking to charge. This often varies based on the department, the item purchased, and other things. If you are not sure which to use, please confirm with the Senior Financial Officer.


When completing the section of the p-card form that calls for the account:


1. Type in the account that will be charged, as well as the general ledger (G/L).


The G/L is used to broadly categorize the transaction and is necessary to allow MIT to properly review spending areas and manage the budget. See What G/L should I use? for a list to reference.


If you are purchasing on a research account, keep in mind that there are several specific, additional G/Ls that are unallowable for them, as well.


After you type in an account and G/L, your page will update:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

2. Depending on the account or G/L used, you may be asked to reload the page. Reload the page if the Helper Text, which is automatically filled out, asks you to, as doing so will change the fields that will display in the rest of the form:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

If QuickBase can’t find the entered account number

If you typed an account incorrectly, you’ll get a message in the Helper Text area telling you to review:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
If you know for a fact that account is correct, OR, if this is a new account that does not yet have posted charges, you can simply ignore this message. It comes up because QuickBase can only pull data from some, not all, accounts, and only after they have had at least one charge posted to them.

3. Next, type in the amount that will be charged to each cost object.


If only using one cost object, input the full amount of the transaction:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

If using more than one cost object, input that cost object on the next line and split the amount of the transaction between cost objects as desired.


4. Complete the justification:

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A justification is a brief but required statement explaining the benefit of the purchase to the institute or research project. See All about justifications for how to do this correctly—if it’s done wrong, your p-card form may be rejected.


Using g/ls related to meetings and food (421000, 421200, and 421205)

If a meeting or food g/l is used, the following fields will appear after you click the Reload button:


Complete all of these fields.

If there was alcohol, include a line in the Account Info section specifically for it that uses the alcohol GL 42105 and includes the total amount that was spent on alcohol alone.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Charging sponsored research accounts with g/ls related to meetings and food (421000, 421200, and 421205)

For expenses for a meeting (including food and beverages) to be allowable on a federal award, the meetings primary purpose must be dissemination of technical information beyond MIT, and it must be necessary for successful performance of the award. Events like group dinners, for example, are not allowed on research and should be charged on a discretionary account.


MIT’s policy on this can be found on the Research Administration Services’ website.


Charging sponsored research accounts in general

If a research account is used, the Names of person(s) transaction was purchased for field will appear after you click the Reload button:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

This field is for indicating who the items were purchased for (not who did the purchasing) in order for the finance team to determine if the person(s) receiving the benefit of the purchase have effort on the account(s) in question.

Leaving this field blank or with anything other than a name will result in your p-card form being returned to you for correction.

See Purchasing on a Research Cost Object for full details on what is counted as effort on a research account.


Additionally, make sure your justification abides to the right standards.


🧾 Receipts

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1. If you submitted a receipt, select whether or not tax was charged in the Does receipt say tax was charged? dropdown menu.


MIT is a tax exempt institution in Massachusetts and 29 additional states. If tax was charged, and the purchase was over $75 or a business meeting, you will be asked to pursue a refund for the taxed amount. You can also submit MIT’s tax-exemption number (on the procard itself) or our tax-exempt certificates to a vendor before making a purchase to prevent going back to the vendor later.


If you are anticipating a refund on the taxed amount, return to the Transaction Information section of the form, check Anticipating Refund, and input the amount of the tax in the pop-up box.


2. Upload 1-3 receipts or other pieces of supporting documentation (such as a chat with the vendor) here.

Receipts are always needed for:

  • all transactions above $75.00 USD
  • all transactions using G/Ls related to meetings and food

Outside of the above times, they are optional 👍.

Receipts must:

  • fully display the dollar amount of the transaction
  • be smaller than 5 MB
  • be in .png, .jpg, or .pdf file formats.
Missing a receipt? Upload a missing receipt affidavit instead!

🧲 Actions

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Click to enlarge.

You may leave a comment for the transaction approvers here, or leave a comment in response to one that was left for you.

💾 Saving & Submitting

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Click Save and Keep Working to save your form as a draft to complete later, and Submit Form to submit your completed form to the transaction approver. You can find a list of your previously submitted forms by clicking See Submitted P-Card Forms on the Card Manager’s dashboard.

💠 Examples


Here are some examples of correctly completed p-card forms for your reference:


A regular form ⤵️

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Click to enlarge.

A form using more than one account ⤵️

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Click to enlarge.

A form for an account we don’t have reporting access on ⤵️

The first account listed here was correctly entered, but DMSE can’t report on it, so the Helper Text thinks the listed account is a typo. In these situations (and these only), it is safe to ignore the Helper Text:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

A form for a research account ⤵️

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

A form using a meetings and food G/L ⤵️

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

See How do I submit a form or check for a personal expense? for how to submit a form for an expense you mistakenly charged to a p-card.


See What do I do if there’s a fraudulent expense on my card? for how to submit a form for a fraudulent charge.

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