Petty Cash and Change Fund Accounts

It is the Petty Cash custodian’s responsibility to ensure the University’s policies are followed.  Failure to follow these policies may result in the Petty Cash fund being revoked.  It is recommended that only the custodian disburse money.


How to Request a Petty Cash Fund

There are two types of Petty Cash funds available to University departments.  A Department may establish a Petty Cash fund for the purpose of purchasing small dollar items that cannot be obtained by a purchase order or check request, in accordance with University policy.  A Department may also establish a Petty Cash Change fund for the purpose of making change.

Departments must submit an application to request opening of a Petty Cash or Change fund or when requesting to increase the amount of an existing account.  Additionally, in order to become a Petty Cash custodian, that individual must opt out from receiving expense reimbursements via direct deposit with Accounts Payable.  These applicable forms can be found below and should be sent to Kathy Anderson at

Application for Opening or Increasing a Petty Cash Fund

Application for Exemption from Employee Direct Deposit Reimbursement

Once both applications are received and approved, General Accounting will issue a check payable to the fund custodian along with a packet of enclosures.  This packet includes a Petty Cash Policy memo that the custodian must sign to acknowledge their understanding of the Petty Cash policy.  A copy of this policy can also be found here.  Additionally, the packet includes a Receipt of Petty Cash form to acknowledge receipt of this check.  Both items should be returned to General Accounting in a timely manner upon receipt.

Use of Petty Cash Funds

Items must be purchased exclusively for University business and may not exceed $100 per item purchased.  The following uses of Petty Cash funds are strictly prohibited:

  • Personal expenses, personal loans or advances, or cashing of personal checks
  • Overnight travel expenses
  • Moving expenses
  • Consultant services expenses
  • Gift cards/certificates
  • Gifts, prizes, and awards valued over $25

Office supplies should not be purchased with petty cash except in the case of an emergency.  Parking and mileage expenses may be reimbursed, however documentation is required.  A Petty Cash fund can be revoked if prohibited items are consistently purchased with the fund.

Petty Cash should be kept in a locked, secure place.  Access to the Petty Cash fund should be restricted to the custodian and a back-up person.  Petty Cash should be disbursed only by the custodian (or the back-up person in the custodian’s absence).

Custodians should retain all receipts in the petty cash box until replenishment is requested.  Receipts must be signed and dated by the recipient.  All receipts will be reviewed as part of the replenishment process for purchases that are not allowed.  They will be forwarded to Internal Audit if any policy is violated.

Managers should periodically review the need for petty cash funds.  If funds are no longer needed, the fund should be closed.  Contact General Accounting to close or decrease the amount of a Petty Cash fund.

Replenishment of Funds

When the Petty Cash fund is nearly depleted, replenishment is necessary.  Replenishment of funds is not applicable to Petty Cash Change funds.  Replenishment should only be requested when cash is low and not every time a purchase is made.  Replenishment is requested with a Check Request using Ledger/Class 12 and 22 only.  Use of budgets 11 to 30 are not allowed.  The following steps should be followed to request fund replenishment:

  1. Prepare a check request in FIS. Ensure department approval.
  2. Tape the original receipts to a blank piece of paper.
  3. Send documentation to Accounts Payable at Campus Box 1056 indicating the check request number the receipts pertain to.
  4. Amounts and purchases will be verified.
  5. A check will be mailed to the person indicated on the check request. The payee is responsible for cashing the check and replenishing the fund.
  6. Replenishment checks may be cashed at the following locations:
    • Hilltop Campus – Bank of America, Mallinckrodt Hall, 2nd Floor; (314) 466-0520; 9:30-5:00, Monday – Friday
    • Medical School Campus – US Bank, Barnes Jewish Hospital North, 1st Floor;(314) 361-3580; 9:00-5:00, Monday – Friday

The requester, approver and receiver of replenished funds cannot be the same person.  An individual can only perform two of these three functions.

In the event that Petty Cash or Change funds are lost or stolen, the money can be replaced, but the department will be responsible for the expense charge.  In the case of theft, the custodian or department should notify University Police.  To replace funds, a memo/email should be written to General Accounting providing all details of the situation.  General Accounting will initiate a check request to replace the missing funds.

Reconciliation and Audit

Petty Cash should be reconciled periodically.  The sum of cash on hand plus original receipts plus any outstanding reimbursements should equal the original amount of the fund.  The reconciliation should be completed by or verified by someone other than the custodian.

Periodic, surprise counts of the Petty Cash fund should be performed by someone other than the custodian, such as a supervisor.  These periodic counts should be documented and the documentation maintained in conjunction with the record retention policy.

On an annual basis, Petty Cash custodians will be asked to confirm with General Accounting their reconciled fund balances on hand.  Additionally, the Office of University Compliance and Internal Audit may request to perform a Petty Cash audit at any time.  As a best practice, the original receipts and Petty Cash reconciliation should be maintained and up-to-date at all times by the custodian.


Contact Kathy Anderson
(314) 935-5074

Email Kathy