Petty Cash

About Petty Cash

Petty cash funds provide a convenient way to pay for small expenses. When other disbursement methods cannot be used, petty cash funds can provide cash to cover minor expenses, such as reimbursement of staff members, college treasurers, and others for small expenses such as taxi fares, postage, office supplies, etc.

Petty cash funds must have an approved custodian, who documents expenditures, keeps receipts, and safeguards the funds. Wherever possible, local units should use other disbursement methods (such as PCards) instead of petty cash.

Obtaining a Petty Cash Fund

A Petty Cash Fund Request form must be completed, indicating if the fund is intended as a permanent or temporary fund, along with a brief description to support the fund purpose.

The fund will require the assignment of a fund custodian and approval by a Department Head having signature authority for the COA or Project to be debited for expenditure reimbursements. Fund requests exceeding certain thresholds may require Controller approval.

The original form should be delivered to the Bursar’s Office for funding by the assigned custodian. The custodian must provide Rice Identification before funding will occur.

Evaluate the Need

Annually, departments should examine whether their petty cash account is still required to meet the department’s business needs, or if alternative disbursement methods could suffice. Petty cash funds should be active. Inactive funds should be terminated. Funds are considered inactive if they have no activity during a fiscal year.

Annual Petty Cash Certification

Each year, the Bursar’s Office is required to certify Petty Cash Funds; a process of verification to confirm the amount issued to departments is physically on hand or is accounted for through unreimbursed expenses.

Each June, fund custodians will be contacted by the Bursar’s Office for annual certification where the certification is a two-form process. requiring a Petty Cash Fund Request and a Petty Cash Reconciliation be completed by the fund custodian, verified by the department signature authority, and returned to the Bursar’s Office.

Petty Cash Fund Reconciliations not received by the deadline indicated on the notification from the Bursar’s Office may result in the cash fund being charged to your department and the petty cash fund being closed.

Visit Annual Petty Cash Certification for the detailed procedure.

Petty Cash Replenishments

Guidelines for acceptable expenditures are available in the Procurement Policy.

For reimbursements, a Petty Cash Voucher should be completed. Original receipts must accompany each approved expenditure for reimbursement. A Missing Receipt Affidavit may be used for missing receipts.

Single-purchase items exceeding $100.00 cannot be reimbursed through Petty Cash Replenishment.

When expensing to account codes 8160, 8161, or 8180, procedures covered in the Business Meeting & Entertainment Procedures Document must be followed and a Business Entertainment Expense Form must also be completed and submitted with the Petty Cash Voucher.

The person signing to approve the form must have signature authority for the COA/Project listed.

Upon completion, the Petty Cash Voucher, along with appropriate supporting documentation should be delivered to the Bursar’s Office for funding. The person receiving cash must have their Rice ID and should be a different person than the form approver.

Returning the Fund

The Petty Cash can simply be brought back to the Bursar’s Office where the returned cash amount will be confirmed against the issued amount and a receipt will be issued for the closed fund.

Reporting Cash Overages and Shortages

When cash overages and shortages are determined, a letter of explanation should be provided to the Bursar’s Office by the fund custodian. The Bursar’s Office will then fund or deposit an offsetting entry to the department's fund and account code 8280 – Cash Over/Shorts.

If it is suspected that the shortage is due to theft or other illegal activity, RUPD must be contacted. A copy of the police report should be provided to the Bursar’s Office.