Financial Services

Petty Cash Policy

Petty cash advances are established to facilitate the payment of low-value claims to ensure that these claims are processed in the most efficient manner.

The level of advance sought should be an amount which would normally necessitate reimbursement once or twice each month. This ensures that cash levels in areas are kept to a minimum and information regarding expenditure can be more regularly updated to Financial Services.

The maximum petty cash advance is $500.

Petty cash advance [PDF, 55.3 KB]
Updated 10 Sep 2012


  1. Transactions through petty cash
  2. Reimbursement of petty cash
  3. Custodianship of petty cash
  4. Closing a petty cash advance

Transactions through petty cash

The following transactions are specifically excluded from petty cash reimbursement:

  • Cashing of cheques.
  • Temporary loans to any person whatever.
  • Payment of expenses exceeding $50 for any one voucher other than in exceptional circumstances in which case the voucher must be suitably endorsed to justify the transaction.
  • Payment of creditors’ accounts.
  • Purchase of fuel where a fuel card exists.
  • Payment of any personal remuneration to any person whatever, whether for salaries, wages, honoraria or for any other reason.

Petty cash should only be used where an urgent purchase is required or the amount involved does not warrant normal purchasing procedure. Only minor expenditures should be met from a petty cash advance. If the Business Unit has a Purchasing MasterCard, its use will most likely reduce the need to rely on petty cash for minor purchases.

The following limits per petty cash transaction apply:

  • up to $50: without restriction
  • in excess of $50: if other options to petty cash advance are not available (such as a Purchasing Card or Invoice Authorisation form or N form) a petty cash advance may be used. Use of petty cash advances in excess of $50 is subject to the prior approval of the relevant officer in the Business Unit with delegated financial responsibility before it may be used and a valid tax invoice is required to account correctly for any GST component.

It is the delegated officer’s discretion as to the most cost-effective manner of paying a claim. However, it is suggested that where possible, the use of the Purchasing Card should be considered prior to use of petty cash. Conversely, the use of petty cash should be considered prior to raising individual low-value claims through Financial Services (Data Management).

Petty cash advances are maintained on an imprest system, which means that details of all disbursements of petty cash to staff must be carefully recorded. To do this, a Recoup for Petty Cash form is to be prepared listing each disbursement of monies from the petty cash advance. The Recoup for Petty Cash form acts as a register of petty cash disbursements and must contain the following information:

  • date of reimbursement
  • amount of reimbursement
  • description of the goods / services purchased and the reason for the expenditure
  • Business Unit, Project Grant and Account Code to be charged Details relating to GST
  • name and signature of person requesting the reimbursement

The details recorded on the Recoup for Petty Cash form must be supported by cash dockets, invoices or other receipts. Where receipts are not available, it is the responsibility of the claimant and the petty cash custodian to ensure claims are supported by other documentation validating the nature and value of the expenditure.

Some disbursements may be related to expenditure which is subject to Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT); for example, entertainment (including food and drink) or reimbursing a staff member for expenses incurred. All claims for the reimbursement of expenses which are subject to FBT must be accompanied by a Meal Entertainment Benefits Form.

At any time the sum of disbursements made since the last reimbursement of the petty cash advance should equal the total value of the receipts on hand plus the amount of cash on hand to equal the total value of the petty cash advance.

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Reimbursement of petty cash

When a reimbursement of the petty cash advance is sought, receipts on hand and cash on hand must be balanced to the petty cash advance. The reimbursement amount should not be greater than $250 unless prior arrangement has been made with Financial Services (Revenue).

Once the advance has been reconciled, a claim should be created as follows:

  • The value of the claim should be for the value of receipts on hand as per the reconciliation
  • The completed Recoup for Petty Cash Form should form the basis of the claim with the receipts on hand and should be attached to a duly authorised N form.

The claim for reimbursement should then be authorised by the officer with delegated financial responsibility. This provides the approval for all expenditure incurred as indicated on the Petty Cash Recoup form and receipts. The claim should then be forwarded to Financial Services (Cashier).

A petty cash advance must never be reimbursed with funds from any other source other than the petty cash reimbursement cheque produced by Financial Services (or cash if under $250). Income from other sources must be receipted through the official receipting system.

Note: The Faculty/School authorising officer must not authorise his or her own petty cash reimbursement.

The Financial Services (Cashier) will only give cash to authorised petty cash custodians on presentation of suitable identification (such as a driver’s licence). It is generally desirable to nominate more than one officer if possible, to ensure that periods of leave/absences are accommodated.

Details of authorised collection officers are to be detailed in writing to Financial Services (Cashier). The memo should contain the name(s) of the authorised officer(s), together with their specimen signature(s) and is to be authorised by the relevant hierarchical officer.

Financial Services maintain a register of authorised petty cash signatories. Any changes to previously authorised signatures (additions/deletions) are to be advised to Financial Services (Data Management) in writing. Please ensure that deletions are advised as soon as possible when authorised officers resign or transfer to another position.

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Custodianship of petty cash

Security measures and management of the petty cash advance are the responsibility of the appropriate Faculty, School or Business Unit. Petty cash custodians are responsible for the safe custody of the cash entrusted to them.

Custodians must ensure that:

  • cash is kept in a lockable tin together with vouchers and the Recoup of Petty Cash form
  • cash tins are kept out of sight
  • outside normal business hours, cash tins are secured in a safe or security cabinet
  • cash tin keys remain in the possession of the custodian.

When handing over the petty cash advance from one custodian to another, the advance should be balanced to the expenditure vouchers on hand and the cash on hand. This reconciliation should be independently checked by an officer other than the current or new Petty Cash advance custodian. A New Custodian form must be completed, authorised and forwarded to the Cashier.

 

Shortages that occur from carelessness or mishandling are the responsibility of the Faculty or School petty cash custodian.

If a temporary petty cash custodian is appointed, the petty cash advance should be checked by the temporary custodian and a senior staff member. Any shortages should be reported to Financial Services (Revenue) as soon as they are discovered.

In the event of theft of the advance, or any other material deficiency in the advance, the relevant Faculty or School Officer must notify Financial Services (Revenue) to arrange for the discrepancy to be investigated and written off.

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Closing a petty cash advance

When an advance is no longer required, the receipts on hand and cash on hand must be balanced to the petty cash advance.

A Recoup for Petty Cash form (available under "Transactions") should be attached with the receipts and an N form completed and duly authorised. This, together with the balance of the advance for banking, should be taken to Financial Services (Cashier).

Cash must not be sent by internal mail; instead it should be delivered to Financial Services (Cashier). A receipt will be issued by the cashier for the amount of cash returned. A covering memo indicating that the balance of the petty cash funds are no longer required and are being returned should be authorised by the delegated officer and should accompany the Recoup of Petty Cash form and the balance of the advance.

The same process should be followed when the petty cash advance is no longer required at its current limit. If the level of advance established exceeds current requirements, the excess monies should be cleared. This may occur if, for example, the area now relies on a Purchasing Card in place of petty cash transactions. Again, the receipts on hand and cash on hand must be balanced and the reconciliation independently checked.

A Recoup for Petty Cash form and N form should be attached with the receipts. This, together with the excess amount no longer required, should be taken to Financial Services (Cashier) who will issue a receipt for the cash portion.

Cash must not be sent by internal mail, instead it should be delivered to Financial Services (Cashier). A covering memo indicating that petty cash funds are now required at a lower amount and that the excess petty cash is being returned should be authorised by the delegated officer and should accompany the Recoup of Petty Cash form and the petty cash excess.

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