Petty Cash Funds

A petty cash fund is a relatively small amount of cash held by a department or office to pay for small, incidental expenses when another form of payment (procurement card, purchase order, check) is not appropriate or expedient.  Such transactions typically include purchase of small supplies or employee reimbursement for such expenses.

Establishing a new petty cash fund

To establish a new petty cash fund, complete the Petty Cash or Change Fund Request Form (PDF) and send it to Business Services for approval.

The form requires the following information:

  • Department

  • Fund Custodian:  name, job title, and e-mail address of the person in whose custody the cash will be kept.  This cannot be the same person signing as department approval.

  • Dollar amount requested.

  • Purpose of the fund (e.g., reason the fund is needed).

  • Physical location of the fund (building and room) - petty cash funds should be located on UW-La Crosse owned or leased property.

  • Department account code for the fund.

  • Time period the fund will be needed.

The Dean's Office or Division Director responsible for the financial account must approve the fund.

When the new fund is established, a check will be issued to the Fund Custodian by Business Services.

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Procedures for a petty cash fund

  • Only one person, the Fund Custodian, shall have physical custody of the fund.  This person shall not have custody of associated accounting records (see Segregation of Duties).  The Fund Custodian is personally responsible for funds security and for following petty cash fund procedures.

  • The cash and receipts must be maintained under lock and key in the physical location noted in the Petty Cash or Change Fund Request Form (PDF).  Petty cash funds must be kept separately from change funds when both are in the same department.

  • The fund should be counted and balanced each day it is used, but at least once per month, and differences shall be investigated and adjusted promptly.  At all times the expenditure receipts plus cash on hand must equal the authorized fund amount.

  • The fund should be periodically reimbursed to its original authorized amount (see Reimbursement of a petty cash fund below).

  • When making disbursements from the fund, the custodian must obtain from the recipient a properly completed receipt with detail, a paid invoice, or other substantiating documentation.

  • UW-La Crosse is exempt from Wisconsin sales tax, and this tax should not be paid on purchases.  When making a purchase, the buyer should provide the seller UW-La Crosse's Sales Tax Exemption Number ES40706.  If the seller needs a copy of the exemption certificate, the Fund Custodian should contact Purchasing Services at 785.8504 or go to to download a certificate.

  • The fund is not to be used to cash personal checks.

  • The fund is not to be used to pay individuals for work performed or services rendered.

  • The fund is not to be used for any type of loan to any person.

  • The fund is not to be used for any travel expenses.

  • The fund is not to be used to reimburse non-employees for any expenses.

  • The fund is not to be used to purchase food without a Non-Student Food Approval Form (PDF) or a Student Food Approval Form (PDF).

  • The fund is not to be used to buy gifts, awards, or prizes to be given to others.

  • Expenses that are not within the scope of the fund's purpose may not be paid from the fund.  The Fund Custodian may be considered personally responsible for improper disbursements from the fund.

  • A maximum single disbursement amount is to be established for the fund, and that will generally be $100.

  • Revenues should never be used to establish or increase the size of a petty cash fund.  Deposit all income and gifts through the UW-La Crosse Cashier's Office or other appropriate office.

  • Each fund should be reviewed by the Department Head at least annually to determine that the above procedures are being followed and adequately controlled, that the amount of the fund is adequate but not excessive, and that the need for the fund continues to exist.

  • UW-La Crosse Campus Police must be immediately notified of any thefts or misappropriation of a fund.

Toward the end of each fiscal year, Business Services will verify each petty cash fund's balance.  A memo will be sent to each Fund Custodian and Department Head for their review and verification of account balances.

Internal Audit will perform periodic audits of balances and procedures.

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Reimbursement of a petty cash fund

The fund should be returned to its original authorized amount periodically but at least when the cash balance is near depletion.  All funds must be reimbursed each June (the end of the fiscal year), so that transactions will be reflected in the appropriate fiscal year.

To reimburse the fund:

  • Complete a Miscellaneous Reimbursement Request (PDF).  The payee must be the Fund Custodian.  The amount of reimbursement request should bring the fund back to its original balance.  Attach supporting receipts and documents for each item.

  • Obtain the approvals indicated on the form.

  • Provide the completed form and receipts to Business Services in 125 Graff Main Hall.

  • The Fund Custodian will be notified when the reimbursement check is available for pickup or it can be sent by campus mail.  The check should be cashed immediately, and the cash should be returned to the fund.

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Changing or closing a petty cash fund

The Controller is the approval authority for any changes to petty cash funds.

To increase or decrease the amount of a petty cash fund, complete a Petty Cash or Change Fund Request Form (PDF) and submit it to Business Services.  For a decrease, return cash in the amount of the decrease to Business Services.

To change the Fund Custodian or the fund location, complete a Petty Cash or Change Fund Request Form (PDF) and submit it to Business Services.  When the custodian of a petty cash fund changes, the fund must be reimbursed to its original amount and any overages and shortages must be investigated and resolved.  The outgoing Fund Custodian must turn in the fund's cash to Business Services, and a new check will be issued to the incoming Fund Custodian.

To close a petty cash fund:

  • If the petty cash fund is not at original value, reimburse the fund to its original authorized amount, using a Miscellaneous Reimbursement Request (PDF).

  • Return the total amount of the fund to Business Services.

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