Numerous individuals and offices are involved in the administration of the GSA SmartPay program. Each program participant has unique roles and responsibilities within the program.
Who are the key program participants in the GSA SmartPay program within my agency/ organization?
Approving Official (AO) - The individual (typically a supervisor) responsible for ensuring an account is used properly by the agency/organization. The AO authorizes account holder purchases (for official use only) and ensures that the statements are reconciled and submitted to the Designated Billing Office (DBO) in a timely manner. The AO is also responsible for signing the traveler’s voucher, indicating approval for payment and for its content.
Agency/ Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) - As an A/OPC, you are responsible for the overall management and oversight of the accounts under your span of control. Generally speaking, your responsibilities include:
- Setting up accounts and designating authorization controls;
- Serving as a liaison between account holders and the contractor bank;
- Providing ongoing advice and assistance to account holders;
- Auditing travel accounts as required by your agency policy; and
- Using the bank's Electronic Access System to perform account management and oversight.
Account Holder - The account holder is the individual or agency/organization component designated by an agency/organization to receive an account. The account holder is responsible for:
- Securing the account;
- Maintaining records relating to all travel transactions; and
- Using the account ethically and appropriately.
Designated Billing Office (DBO) - The DBO generally serves as the focal point for receipt of official centrally billed invoices. The DBO also serves as the liaison between the agency/organization, the A/OPC and the Centrally Billed Account (CBA) account holder. The DBO oversees the proper processing of invoices and ensures invoices are paid within the Prompt Payment Act timeframes. Responsibilities include:
- Reconciling invoices;
- Providing feedback to the A/OPC on contractor bank performance;
- Determining whether to pursue faster payment of official invoices in order to take advantage of productivity refunds;
- Providing timely payment to the contractor bank;
- Providing proper interest penalties for payments that exceed Prompt Payment Act timeframes; and
- Making certain that the agency/organization's task order is adequately funded.
Transaction Dispute Officer (TDO) - The TDO is an individual or office that may be designated by the ordering agency/organization to assist the agency/organization and the contractor bank in tracking and resolving disputed transactions. The TDO oversees the proper processing of transaction disputes and works with the contractor bank to assure a resolution.
EC/EDI Office (EO) - The EO is the focal point for electronic commerce/electronic data interchange (EC/EDI) for the agency/organization. This office also serves as the liaison between the A/OPC, EC/EDI systems staff and the contractor bank. The EO oversees the proper implementation of the agency/organization EC/EDI capabilities and processes.
Who are the key program participants in the program that are outside of my agency/ organization?
There are four key program participants in the GSA SmartPay program that exist outside of your agency/ organization: (1) the contractor bank, (2) the brand, (3) the merchant community, and (4) the GSA Contracting Officer.
The Contractor Bank’s major duties are:
- Paying merchants for travel account transactions;
- Establishing accounts;
- Issuing accounts;
- Creating and maintaining an Electronic Access System (EAS) for agencies/ organizations to utilize in managing the program;
- Preparing monthly statements for each account holder;
- Issuing invoices to the DBO for Centrally Billed Accounts (CBA);
- Providing customer service 24/7;
- Preparing reports;
- Participating in an annual training forum, sponsored by GSA, that provides hands-on training on the EAS, sharing best practices and addressing any issues and concerns; and
- Complying with all other terms and conditions of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract.
The GSA SmartPay Brands are financial institutions that dictate where payments can be processed and facilitate the payment process between account holders, cardholders, merchants, and issuing financial institutions (for example Visa and MasterCard).
Merchants are the source of the supplies and services that the account holder obtains to fulfill your agency/organization's mission using the GSA SmartPay travel account.
The GSA Contracting Officer administers the GSA SmartPay Master Contract on behalf of all authorized users, including your agency/organization. The GSA Contracting Officer is the only person authorized to:
- Make any changes to any of the requirements of the GSA SmartPay Master Contract;
- Legally commit or obligate the Government to the expenditure of public funds for the GSA SmartPay Master Contract; and
- Render a final decision on a dispute pertaining to the GSA SmartPay Master Contract.
Is there anyone else who will be involved with the GSA SmartPay program?
Because the GSA SmartPay program is a highly visible program and receives a lot of interest both within and outside your agency/organization, your agency/organization's management, the Inspector General (IG) staff and other investigators/auditors will likely be interested in the performance of the travel program. Many agencies/organizations will have periodic audits of the travel program, and you will likely be a key player in those audits. Additionally, you may find that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress take an interest in the performance of your program. Your agency/organization management and policy office will provide you with more information on handling audits, investigations and external inquiries.