1506 - Imprest Balance Accounts - Petty Cash

Document purpose

Petty cash funds are used in order to provide change at retail locations for approved University activities. Petty cash funds can also be used in select research-related studies when alternative disbursement methods are not an option. The amount of the fund requested should be limited to minimum operating requirements to prevent theft.


January 1989


May 2021


May 2022

Responsible Office





  1. The Office of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer is responsible for approving and controlling all petty cash funds. Due to the University’s goal to reduce cash on campus, no new petty cash accounts will be established beginning May 2019.

  2. The Senior Business Officer of the school/center or assigned designee is responsible for their respective petty cash fund(s).

  3. A custodian can only be responsible for one petty cash fund. The custodian is responsible for controlling and safeguarding the fund.

  4. The custodian cannot approve changes to petty cash or replenishment of the fund; approval must come from a Senior Business Officer. The responsible department must notify and submit the appropriate paperwork to the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer when there is a change requested to the petty cash fund.

  5. Petty cash funds used for research-related disbursements must adhere to the following guidelines:

    1. Individual disbursements may not be more than $100.
    2. Supporting documentation must be submitted to Cash Management with each replenishment. This documentation should include, but is not limited to:
      1. List of all individuals who received a payment, including the amount and date received.
      2. Petty Cash Reconciliation Form showing cash on hand, cash disbursed and requested replenishment amount. The total of the cash on hand and requested replenishment amount should not exceed the fund limit.
      3. The amount of the fund should be limited to the total of two week’s expenditures based on regular activity.
      4. All petty cash funds must be replenished at least on a monthly basis.
      5. Replenishment details should be submitted by the fund custodian and approved by a Senior Business Officer
  6. Petty cash funds may not be used for general disbursements.

  7. Cash received at retail locations should be deposited according to Financial Policy #1504, Deposit of Cash Receipts.

  8. Retail petty cash funds should be reconciled semi-annually on a surprise basis by a Business Officer or designee other than the custodian. Research-related petty cash funds should be reconciled monthly.

  9. The operation and administration of petty cash funds must adhere to Financial Policy #2701, Internal Control Policy and petty cash guidance provided by the Office of Internal Audit.

  10. Custodians must notify Cash Management and Public Safety of stolen cash.

  11. The University will impose various degrees of sanctions for careless or blatant misuse of petty cash funds by the custodian. These could include but not limited to verbal warning, revocation of custodian responsibilities for a specific period of time or permanently, written warning added to the employee’s personnel file, termination of employment and possible criminal and/or civil prosecution for suspected serious infraction of University policy and violation of the law. See Human Resource Policy #621 for further details.