Petty Cash Funds and Purchases

Chapter 2

Section: 2:120

Petty Cash Funds and Purchases

Adopted:  08/2007
Revised:  11/01/2016

Responsible Office
Division of Finance


Cash funds are established for specific purposes and are not to be co-mingled with other cash funds nor used for any purposes other than for which established.  Departments should not use petty cash or change funds to cash checks.

Petty Cash Fund: Cash available for small dollar purchases only when it is not feasible or practical to use other procurement methods and only for University locations that are outside Columbia.

Change Cash Fund: Cash available for making change at events or stores for University locations with a business need.  Departments should not use a change fund to make purchases.

Expanded definition and information for this policy is available under Resources below.


The following procedures assist with ensuring compliance with the above policy:

Requesting a Fund

Submit a Petty Cash Request form (also see the link to form under Resources below) on department letterhead to the Petty Cash Coordinator, Division of Finance-Accounting.  Both the Custodian’s administrative superior and the division business & finance officer must sign the request.

Fund Custodian

Responsibilities of Custodian

  • Maintain funds in a secure area.
  • Ensure proper segregation of duties regarding cash handling roles.
  • Retain documentation of use.
  • Count funds at least once per week or more frequently if the activity of the fund warrants.
  • Account for overages and shortages, reporting to supervisor immediately.
  • Notify division business & finance officer and University Police of any theft.
  • For petty cash funds, replenish the fund at least monthly (by Payment Request).
  • Initiate the transfer of fund custodianship.

Transfer of Custodianship

Any change in custodian must be submitted promptly to the Petty Cash Coordinator, Division of Finance-Accounting. Use the Transfer of Custodianship form (also see the link to form under Resources below) on departmental letterhead. The transfer must be signed by an administrative superior to the petty cash custodian and the division business & finance officer. The custodian remains responsible for the cash until the transfer is received and approved.

Petty Cash Funds

Using Petty Cash Funds

When petty cash funds are used to make a purchase, the Custodian must obtain a receipt itemizing the transaction.  Petty cash funds are then replenished using a Payment Request prepared timely by the Custodian, including the transaction receipts as support for the amount requested.   The Payment Request is payable to the fund custodian and charged to the appropriate departmental accounts as determined by the transaction receipts.  The check is then cashed by the Division of Finance-Cashiers and cash placed in the petty cash fund.

Changes in Cash Fund Amounts

Cash Fund Increases

All requests for an increase of petty cash or change funds must be submitted in writing to the Petty Cash Coordinator, Division of Finance-Accounting by the administrative superior and must include:

  • Name of the fund.
  • Amount of increase requested.
  • Purpose of increase.
  • An anticipated period of time increase will be needed.
  • Approval of division business & finance officer.

Cash Fund Decreases

Funds can be returned by preparing a Cash Receipts Report (CRR) for the amount of the decrease and taking the funds to the Division of Finance-Cashiers. Contact Division of Finance-Accounting with the CRR number for review and notification.

Reporting Fund Losses and Errors

If a theft occurs from a petty cash or change fund in any amount, or an error of $50 or more is made in record-keeping or making change, promptly notify your division business & finance officer, who will inform University Police.

Request for Reimbursement

Request reimbursement of funds stolen or as a result of an error on a Payment Request and include:

  • Name of the fund.
  • Name of custodian.
  • Amount of funds lost.
  • Copy of Police Report.
  • Steps taken to prevent loss in the future.
  • Department account to be charged.
  • Signature of administrative superior to the custodian.

Annual Verifications

Each year, the Division of Finance-Accounting will request verification of each petty cash and change fund, amount, and name of custodian. Verifications must be signed by the custodian, approved by the division business & finance officer, and promptly returned to the Division of Finance-Accounting.


Petty Cash Funds are subject to audit at any time.



Petty Cash Request Form

Cross References

Additional related information is available in the policies below: