UCR Policies and Procedures

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Policy Title:                Petty Cash Funds

   Policy Number:          200-72 

Responsible Officer:

Campus Cashier Coordinator,

Director of Student Business Services/Main Cashier's Office

Responsible Office:

Student Business Services/Main Cashier's Office

Origination Date:


Date of Revision:


Date of Last Review:



Guidance Concerning Petty Cash Funds

     I.  Policy Summary

The purpose of a petty cash fund is to assist departments in conducting low-value purchases for which a ProCard cannot be used. Petty cash funds may also be used to compensate human subjects in research efforts where payment by check is not feasible. 

·       Departments that have only occasional use of petty cash funds (under $200.00 per month), may be reimbursed for expenditures through the campus Main Cashier's Office on an individual transaction basis or may use a ProCard. 

·       All Departments that seek petty cash reimbursements from the Main Cashier’s Office in excess of $200.00 per month (average) are required to establish a departmental petty cash fund or obtain a ProCard. 

·       The maximum expenditure per transaction is $200.00 plus tax. A purchase may not be separated into two or more groups to circumvent this limit. 

·       The funds may not be used for cashing personal checks or for other personal use. Petty cash funds are to be used for OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY BUSINESS ONLY. 

Note: "Change funds" are not petty cash funds. Information regarding change funds can be found in UCR Policy:  200-12


               II.  Establishment of Department Petty Cash Fund

A memo of request, along with the Petty Cash Fund Authorized Form, is required. Visit https://sbs.ucr.edu/cash-handling-resources for this form and further information.


  III.  Change of Custodian

A memo of request, along with the Petty Cash Fund Authorized Form is required. Visit www.sbs.ucr.edu for this form and further information.


  IV.  Termination of Department Petty Cash Fund

A memo of request, along with the Petty Cash Fund Authorized Form is required. Visit www.sbs.ucr.edu for this form and further information.


  V.  Reimbursement for Expenditures

  Replenishment of petty cash funds may be requested on an as-need basis; however, reimbursements must be submitted within 60 days of the date of purchased. To request reimbursement the fund custodian must coordinate with their departmental ePay transactor to replenish the petty cash to restore the fund to the original approved limit.

·  Provide to the ePay transactor proof of the expenditures totaling the amount requested, along with completed department approved petty cash disbursement forms and logs.

Note:  In most instances each proof of expenditures/sales receipt will be require to support each item on the disbursement form/log. However, any personal item included on the same receipt must be clearly indicated as personal and cannot be reimbursed. Any transaction requiring special approval should follow the same guidelines required by policy/procedure governing that expenditure.

·  Upon completion of review of the ePay request, a reimbursement check will be generated.

Note:  Incomplete requests for reimbursement or requests not fulfilling all requirements of this policy will be returned to the department for correction. Petty cash reimbursements will continue to be subject to Internal Audit review during departmental audits.


 VI.  Reimbursement through Campus Main Cashiers Office

Those department that do not have a petty cash fund may be reimbursed for expenditures through the campus cashier. To request reimbursement through the campus cashier, department personnel must go to the Main Cashier’s Office and present an acceptable proof of expenditure for an acceptable item accompanied using a completed petty cash voucher, signed by a department staff member authorized to approve expenditures to department accounts.

 ·  Reimbursements will not be made until all of the requirements have been met. Reimbursements are not made through the mail.

Note:  Departments which have a petty cash fund may not be reimbursed through the Main Cashier’s Office unless extenuating circumstances warrant exception. Exceptions must be authorized by the Director of Student Business Services or designee.


VII.  Proof of Expenditures

When an item or service is purchased, a receipt must be obtained. This receipt must contain, at a minimum, the following elements:

·  Date of purchase

·  Name of vendor

·  Description of merchandise/service

·  Total amount paid, including tax, if applicable

·  In the case of handwritten receipts which do not include a preprinted vendor name, the vendor name along with a "Received By" signature of the vendor must appear.

Receipts in excess of 60 days from date of purchase will not be reimbursed.

The following items represent acceptable proof of expenditure only when all of the additional requirements indicated have been fulfilled:

 •  Personal checks. Personal checks are acceptable as proof of expenditure only when no other form of receipt is obtainable. Reimbursement for purchases by personal check must be approved by the department chair/head and the original check or a photocopy of both sides of the check with the department head's custodian's request for reimbursement.

    •  Personal credit card sales slips. Most credit card purchases generate both a cash register receipt (or similar) and a credit card sales slip. In these cases, submission of both of these documents is required and acceptable for reimbursement. However, in those instances when only a credit card sales slip is produced, the sales slip is acceptable only when authorized and approved by the department chair/head.

      •  Telephone credit card sales. In the case of a credit card purchase by telephone, you must wait until your statement that shows the charge is received and submit the original or if you do not wish to wait that long, you may have your credit card company fax or mail you proof of that purchase and charge and submit that.

      ·   “Lost Receipt" payments. Should an occasion arise in which a cash receipt is lost, but the proof of expenditure is obvious (e.g., the merchandise is on hand), the individual requesting payment must prepare a declaration indicating the loss of the receipt and all the elements required for an acceptable proof of expenditure. They must then obtain the department head's authorization and signature for reimbursement. The fund custodian may use this declaration as proof of expenditure for fund reimbursement.

The following items do not represent acceptable proof of expenditure:

      ·  Photocopies of receipts. Only original receipts are acceptable (The one exception to this requirement is personal checks.).

·  Adding machine tapes

           ·  Altered receipts


VIII.  Items that MAY NOT be Purchased Using Petty Cash Funds without Special Approval 



Required Special Approval


Environmental Health & Safety

Bottled Water

Appropriate Vice Chancellor/Dean

Decorative Items

(e.g., plants, except for scientific use, pictures, paintings, posters, vases, wall hangings, pillows, flowers, rugs, etc.)

Appropriate Vice Chancellor/Dean

Draperies, Floor and Wall

Environmental Health & Safety

Coverings and Upholstery

Architects & Engineers/Facilities

Heaters and Fans

(other than for research application)


Fire Fighting Equipment

Environmental Health & Safety

Foodstuffs, Beverages, Catering, Food Preparation/Serving Equipment

(other than Food Service areas, animal/insect diets, and classroom demonstration)

Appropriate Vice Chancellor/Dean

Protective Clothing

Environmental Health & Safety

Personal Use Items

(e.g., Briefcases, Clothing other than protective or costume, gifts, radios, etc.)


Repairs to Personal Property


Safety Glasses

Environmental Health & Safety

Telephone Attachments/

Digital Information Systems

Information Technology Services

Telephone Attachments/


Information Technology Services


Appropriate Vice Chancellor/Dean



See UCR Policies: 200-42 and 200-44

Membership in

Professional & Community Organizations


See UCR Policy:  650-50


  IX.  Blanket Special Approval

Certain functions require the purchase of one or more of the above restricted items on a routine basis (e.g., cookies for the Children's Development Center). These functions may petition blanket special approval for SPECIFIC ITEMS from the approval source indicated in Section I which, when approved, may be copied and attached to any requests for reimbursement for the purchase of those restricted items. No further specific approval is required for these purchases.


   X.  Items that MAY NOT be Purchased Using Petty Cash Funds

·         Explosives/Firearms

·         Controlled Substances/Narcotics/Dangerous Drugs

·         Consultants

·         Purchases from University Employees and Near Relatives

·         Radioactive Items

·         Rental of Real Property

·         Repairs to the Plant and Grounds

·         Items in Excess of $200.00 plus Tax


  XI.  Lost or Stolen Funds

In the event of theft or loss of petty cash fund, the campus Police and the Director of Student Business Services must be notified immediately. Additionally, a letter explaining the circumstances of loss must be sent to the Director of Student Business Services or his/her designee as well as a request for reimbursement of the loss.

Upon review and approval of the Director of Student Business Services or designee, an ePay request for petty cash replenishment will be generated and sent to the custodian.

Note:  The reimbursement of lost/stolen petty cash funds are charged to the custodian department.


 XII.  References

Accounting Manual Chapters:

·         C-173-61 Cash: Petty Cash Disbursements

Business and Finance Bulletins:

·         BUS-49 Cashiering Responsibilities and Guidelines

 Contact Student Business Services/Main Cashiers Office with any questions.