This policy applies to the protection of, accounting protocol, approval of and use of petty cash funds. For further information, refer to Administrative Guide Policy 5.4.4: Petty Cash Administration Certification
Protecting Petty Cash
All petty cash custodians and temporary custodians are required to complete the FIN-PROG-0506: Petty Cash Administration Certification before assuming responsibility for the fund. Learn how to get certified as a petty cash custodian.
Keep all petty cash in a lockbox, and keep the lockbox in a locked desk or cabinet. Only certified custodians should have access to petty cash.
Custodians or department heads must report any suspected theft to the Stanford Police Department and the Office of the Treasurer (OOT) from whom a request for replacement funds should be made, indicating “Theft.” For more information, refer to How to: Report a Petty Cash Theft.
Use of funds at Stanford is guided by a common set of principles found at Policy: Proper Use of Funds.
Accounting Protocol for Petty Cash Transactions
Proper petty cash accounting requires custodians to obtain receipts, record expenditures and make payments only for authorized expenditures. A sales slip, cash register tape or other receipt must be attached to a Received of Petty Cash Form for each expenditure. The only exception is reimbursement for mileage, where a log with odometer readings, date, destination and business purpose is used instead of a receipt.
If a receipt is not available, petty cash cannot be used to reimburse the expense. Instead, the expense transaction must be entered in the Expense Requests by an authorized Expense Requests transaction preparer as an expense report and the reason for the missing receipt must be provided.
The petty cash fund should always balance. The total cash on hand plus total receipts that have not yet been submitted for replenishment, petty cash replenishment requests in process and any uncashed reimbursement checks should equal the original amount of the petty cash fund.
No one may approve their own reimbursement request. Furthermore, an individual may not approve expenses for anyone to whom they report, either directly or indirectly.
Lastly, the petty cash custodian may not approve online petty cash replenishment requests. Replenishment requests must be reviewed and approved by a person with online signature authority for the department activities or accounts being charged.
Transactions Prohibited for Petty Cash Use
- Amounts more than $100 (unless a department requests a higher limit, and the OOT approves it)
- Expenses more than 120 days old (anything older than 120 days must be reimbursed through an Expense Report)
- Recurring expenses (e.g., employee business-related home internet or cell phone expenses)
- Any non-permissible transactions (e.g., traffic citations, personal expenses)
- Payment for services performed by employees or non-employees
- Buying hazardous materials
- Transactions involving students