Cash handling procedures
Cash: currency and coin
Check: a non-negotiable instrument
Cash and its equivalent are handled by most departments and many individuals at the University. Strong internal controls are necessary to prevent mishandling of funds and to protect employees from inappropriate charges of mishandling funds. This information is intended to provide departments and individuals with the necessary information and tools to facilitate the establishment of strong internal controls related to cash handling.
Cash is the most liquid asset and the most susceptible to loss if not properly controlled.
The collection and controlling of cash should be centralized in one location; however it is not always possible or practical. As a result, cash is handled by many departments at UW La-Crosse and cash handling procedures must be followed in the collection, recording, safekeeping and deposit of these University funds.
This information has been developed to assist you in the proper compliance with Wisconsin statutory requirements. These procedures must be followed to ensure compliance with state law and the safeguarding of University assets, and to protect you and the University from alleged negligence.
Users of this document are responsible for maintaining a current copy of these procedures. Changes in University cash handling policies and procedures may be made periodically and will be communicated via E-mail. The most current copy of the cash handling procedure is located on the Cashier’s Office website. The information herein supersedes all previous cash handling procedures.
The following Wisconsin State Statute relates to the receipt and deposit of revenue (www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/Statutes.html). Please keep in mind that this statute must be followed under penalty of section (4).S.S. 20.906 Receipts and deposits of money.
(1) Frequency of Deposits. Unless otherwise provided by law, all moneys collected or received by any state agency for or in behalf of the state or which is required by law to be turned into the State Treasury shall be deposited in or transmitted to the State Treasury at least once a week.
(4) Penalties. If any state agency fails to make such deposits of money, or to make such reports as are required by this section, the department of administration, with the approval of the governor, shall withhold all moneys due such state agency until this section is complied with; and upon such failure to make such deposits of money, the officer or employee so failing shall be liable to the state treasurer for an amount equal to the interest upon the moneys so withheld from deposit at the same rate as that received by the state upon moneys held in the state investment fund, for the period for which such deposit is withheld; and such interest shall be a charge against the officer or employee and shall be deducted from that person's compensation.
Please note that S.S. 20.906 (1) reads "... at least once a week ..." UWL defines a business weeks as Saturday through Friday. Departments must deposit all money received during a business week by the end of that business week. Departments who have over $500 of cash and check must deposit the funds by the next business day.
Segregation of duties is required for an effective internal control process. Segregation of duties helps protect employees and university assets by spreading the responsibilities related to cash and check handling while deterring fraud and errors.
Each department must have a reasonable segregation of duties. Consider the following to help segregate duties within your department. These duties should be separated as much as possible:
- Opening mail if you receive mail payments
- Endorsing checks and collecting money
- Preparing and transporting deposits
- Reconciliation of deposits submitted to the Casher's Office to WISDM
Departments need to be approved to accept cash. All cash and check collected must be deposited at the Cashier's Office. Departments are not permitted to possess an outside bank account. If you are planning a special event that will necessitate the collection of cash, approval is needed. The approval process will be granted by the Accounts Receivable Manager and/or the Controller.
The following items need to be in place prior to accepting cash and checks.
- A cash register or electronic software for payment processing are elements that need to be considered for high volume transactions. Low volume transactions will do best with a receipt book.
- Your receipt book must be pre-numbered and provide you a duplicate copy. You can obtain a receipt book through Staples.
- A restrictive endorsement stamp for stamping checks upon receipt. Contact the Cashier's Office to order a stamp.
- A locking cash box, cash tray or other secured device for storing cash and checks during your daily operations.
- Adequate storage location such as a safe, locking drawer or locking cabinet within a locked room. Departments must always store funds in the best safekeeping facility available. All departments should consider obtaining a safe, as it is the preferred option for storing cash. A good safe is difficult for two people to carry, and may also secure to the floor. A locking file cabinet or locking drawer are sufficient if a safe is determined to be unnecessary. The device you choose must be located in a room capable of locking when funds are not in use. Cash and check must never be left unattended and the safe must always remain locked. Access to the safe should be limited to a few key individuals and must maintain a separation of duties within your department such as having a procedure in place for changing combinations/keys when there is employee turnover.
- Tamperproof bank bags for transporting deposits. Keep a supply of tamperproof bank bags on hand for departments that make frequent deposits. To obtain bank bags contact the Cashier's Office 785-8719.
- A secure location to store all keys related to cash and check handling (cash box key, bank bag key, etc.). Access to these keys must be controlled to allow a segregation of duties.
- Employees who are adequately trained in cash handling procedures. A complete understanding of cash and check handling procedures prior to handling collections is required. Training of staff can be arranged by calling the Cashier's Office.
If questions or problems arise regarding cash and check handling, assistance may be obtained by contacting the Cashier's Office at 785-8719 or the University Controller at 785-8599 .
- Cash must be handled in view of the customer until the transaction is complete.
- Review large denomination bills with a counterfeit bill detector pen. A counterfeit pen can be obtained from the Cashier's Office.
- Count change back to the customer.
- Make sure the cash from current transaction is placed in the cash drawer before handling the next transaction.
- Non US currency and coins (Canadian) cannot be accepted.
Checks are made payable to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and should immediately be restrictively endorsed (stamped on the back of the check) with an University endorsement stamp. Receipt book number or cash register transaction number must be written on memo line of the check. This information is helpful in the event the check is returned from the bank as non-sufficient funds.
Every check must be reviewed for completeness as follows:
- Checks must be made payable to UWL or University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
- Checks must be for the exact amount of transaction only.
- Verify the numerical and written amount numbers match.
- Verify the date of the check. Do not agree to hold the check for future deposit.
- Verify the account holder's name, address and phone number is included on the check. Students should include their student ID number.
- Verify the check is signed by the account holder.
- Verify the check has a bank name listed and that the routing number, account holder's bank account number and check number are encoded on the bottom edge of the check.
Checks Not Accepted:
- Checks drawn on foreign banks
- Checks issued in foreign currency
- Third Party checks
- Checks with a future date
- Traveler's checks
Receipts must be issued for cash and checks received in person. This is for your protection as well as the customer. A receipt is to be issued immediately when a transaction is conducted.
If you do not have the ability to print receipts, a receipt book must be used.
Hand written receipts are to be made in receipt books and should include:
- Amount paid and type of payment
- Name of individual paying
- Description/reason for payment
- Printed name of the person issuing the receipt
Give the payer the original copy of the receipt and the carbon copy will remain in the book. If you void the receipt, keep it in the book. DO NOT THROW IT OUT. ALL duplicate copies of the receipt book should be intact. Do not rip out any of the duplicate receipts from the book.
Receipt books should be treated like cash and stored in a secure location. Maintain receipt books according to your record retention schedule.
- All sales should be recorded through the cash register.
- Provide a receipt of the transaction to the customer.
- The cash register drawer should only be open at the time of a transaction. The cash register should be locked at all times.
- Access to the cash register should be limited to designated employees. Employees are assigned specific shifts and are held accountable to those transactions during that shift. At the end of each employee's shift, their transactions are closed out.
- The cash register cashier will separate the starting cash from the cash and check received throughout the day.
- Cash and check payments will be reconciled by the cashier for accuracy.
- If you have a cash register or electronic payment software, you should be able to generate the totals for the cash and check sales.
- If you use a hand written receipt book, you will need to add up your sales for the day to determine the total sales for the day.
- If a cashier is over or short, this MUST be noted.
- The starting cash will remain in a locked environment until it is needed again. Access should be limited to supervisory and authorized personnel.
- A report should be created to explain the nature and denomination of the deposit. For departments using software to make transactions, this report may be generated by the software. If you use receipt books, you will need to create a spreadsheet report that itemizes the denominations of cash and coin and totals the checks received. The report should also define the nature of the transactions that justify these payments.
- The report must be placed into the department's safe or secured area until it is needed and used in combination with the deposit. The report and the deposit form will be later transported to the Cashier's Office.
Deposits are to be made on a regular basis and the frequency of your deposits is based on criteria listed below:
- All deposits must be made weekly no later than Friday of each week. Do not store any cash, coin or checks over the weekend if received during the week.
- If your cash and coin exceeds $500, deposit by next business day.
- Deposits should be made more than weekly if the amount, safety and storage issues makes this necessary.
Steps to making a deposit:
- Complete the most recent version of the "Deposit Remittance Form". The form and instructions are found on the Cashier's webpage under Non-Student Deposits.
- Verify that each check has been restrictively endorsed.
- Bundle checks so they are facing the same direction.
- Bundle cash in ascending order and facing the same direction ($1$5$10…)
- Place the cash, checks, and the completed deposit remittance form in a tamperproof bank bag issued by the Cashier's Office.
- Follow the procedures for safeguarding the deposit prior to transporting.
- Follow the procedures for transporting the deposit outlined in the next section.
Please contact the Cashier's Office if you need to obtain an endorsement stamp or tamperproof bank bags. (785-8719).
When transporting deposits it is important that safety and security of both the cash and checks, as well as the individuals are kept in mind. To increase safety, it is good practice to have 2 people take the deposit to the Cashier's Office. Please call the Cashier's Office to request assistance transporting your deposit; the Cashier's office will have staff come to your office/department to escort you to the Cashier's Office. Consider things such as varying the time and route used to transport a deposit. Conceal the bank bag in another bag so that it is more inconspicuous. Inter-office mail is not to be used for transporting deposits.
Use the following guideline for deposits:
Deposits containing less than $5,000
Deposits may be hand carried by department representatives to the Cashier's Office during business hours (M-F 8am-4pm) or deposited into the night depository during Graff Main Hall building Hours (M-F 6am-10pm).
Deposits containing over $5,000
Deposits with cash totaling more than $5,000 must be transported by University Police. They are also available upon request for any deposit you deem unsafe to transport. Please contact University Police Services at 789-9000 to make arrangements.
To ensure segregation of duties, designated individuals who have not assisted with the preparation of the deposit or transportation of funds should be responsible for reconciling deposits. Reconciliation is completed by comparing the amount of your deposit on the receipt with the amount of deposit in WISDM (WISDM stands for Wisconsin Data Mart for PeopleSoft Financials). You should also verify the account number, description and voucher number, if applicable. If there is a discrepancy you cannot solve, contact the Cashier's Office for assistance.
All forms of cash and checks should be physically protected through the use of vaults, locked cash drawers, cash registers and locked metal boxes.
It is the responsibility of each department to make whatever provisions are necessary to properly safeguard the cash receipts in their area. DO NOT leave cash unattended or vaults open.
Contact the Cashier's Office to set up a site visit to ensure the safekeeping of funds.