Federal Manager's Daily Report

Agencies estimate that using purchase cards saves hundreds

of millions of dollars in administrative costs, but

cardholders don’t always get the best deals, partly because

purchase card use isn’t top on the list of management

concerns, the General Accounting Office has said.


It said that card purchases at the Departments of Agriculture,

Army, Navy, Air Force, Interior, Justice, Transportation,

and Veterans Affairs show that most agencies do not identify

and take advantage of opportunities to get better deals on

purchase card buys, something that could yield hundreds of

millions of dollars. If they managed to get discounts of

just 10 percent with major vendors, it could mean annual

savings of up to $300 million.


Most agencies have established some discount agreements with

vendors with which they do over $1 million of business per

year, but the agreements cover only a handful of vendors and

a limited number of products, said GAO.


It also said card training programs lack practical

information to help cardholders take advantage of existing

discount agreements or GSA’s federal supply schedule

contracts.


Some of the agencies maintained that additional requirements

would limit the program’s ability to streamline purchasing

and that pursuing discount agreements with large suppliers

would limit their ability to provide opportunities to small

businesses. GAO recommended stricter accounting practices

and increased attention to already negotiated government

discounts.

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