Petty cash and change funds are assets of the University established to provide departments with sufficient cash for use strictly in accordance with the purpose established and authorized for each fund. This policy outlines the requirements and responsibilities regarding the establishment, use, replenishment, custodian transfer, termination, and physical security of petty cash and change funds.
Money in the physical form of currency and coin.
An asset of the University usually held in the form of currency and coin and used to make change for departmental cashiering functions.
Cash used to make payments to human subjects and related expenses as authorized by the sponsored project.
A receipt or cash disbursements log for expenses paid to human subjects from a petty cash fund that contains the following: payment date, amount, human subject name (or confidential identifier) and initial, Petty Cash Custodian initials, and IRB number. A cash disbursements log also requires an expenditure statement with signature and date from the Principal Investigator (PI).
Any deviation from this policy or associated procedures must be approved in advance by the Campus Cash Coordinator and shall be documented.
Use of Funds
Petty cash and change funds must be used strictly in accordance with the purpose for which they were established and authorized.
Petty cash disbursements must comply with all restrictions placed on the source fund(s).
- Change funds are used by cash handling stations to provide coin and currency to make change during the process of receipting and disbursing monies.
- Petty cash may only be used for payments to human subjects and related expenditures from funds set up specifically for that purpose and for which confidentiality is essential.
- Cash payments to each individual subject shall not exceed $150 per visit.
- Payments in excess of $150 cannot be disbursed using petty cash funds. These disbursements are managed by UCSF Supply Chain Management and may have additional terms and restrictions.
- Gift cards of any value are managed by UCSF Supply Chain Management and may have additional terms and restrictions.
- Petty cash disbursements must comply with all guidelines and restrictions of the fund source and the associated Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Petty cash and change funds may not be used for any other purposes.
Establishment of Petty Cash Custodianship
The Controller’s Office approves all requests for establishing custodianship. Requests must be submitted to the Controller's Office and must include:
- Fingerprint Clearance/Background Check Memo issued by the UCPD (UCSF Live Scan Office) if hired before March 13, 2017
- Certification of completion of all required training courses
Establishment of Petty Cash and Change Funds
To establish a petty cash or change fund, a Petty Cash Action Form signed by the Petty Cash Custodian and authorized Department Manager is required. For petty cash funds, a valid Institutional Review Board (IRB) letter is also required. A valid, un-expired IRB letter must be maintained on file in the Controller’s Office for the duration that the petty cash fund is active.
A Check Request Form signed by the authorized Department Manager is required to disburse initial funds.
Funds should be replenished as needed and when the fund balance is 50% percent of the total authorized fund amount. Replenishment requests must be submitted to the Petty Cash Coordinator and approved by the Department Manager or by a management appointed designee who is neither the fund custodian nor an employee reporting to the fund custodian.
Petty cash fund replenishment requests must include proof of expenditures in the form of receipts and/or a disbursements log signed by the Principal Investigator.
Each fund must have an active Petty Cash Custodian assigned. It is the responsibility of the Petty Cash Custodian or the Department Manager to notify the Controller’s Office when the custodian is terminating University employment, transferring to another position, or temporarily unable to perform custodial duties. In these cases, Department Managers must terminate the fund or reassign the fund to another authorized employee.
When a petty cash or change fund is no longer being used, it is strongly recommended to terminate the petty cash account to mitigate risk. Upon termination, all remaining cash should be deposited to the University depository account. Requests must be submitted to the Controller’s Office and include:
- Fund Termination Form
- Copy of the completed deposit slip
- Proof of expenditure receipts or the Principal Investigator’s signed cash disbursements log
- Copy of cash deposit journal or the journal ID
Should a former Petty Cash Custodian neglect to terminate the fund, the Department Manager shall deposit all cash and contact the Petty Cash Coordinator for further instructions. If the Petty Cash Custodian fails to leave the fund’s cash in the department, the Controller's Office will charge the balance of the fund to the department, and it shall be the responsibility of the department to recover the amount of the fund from the former employee.
Petty cash and change funds are particularly susceptible to theft. It is the personal responsibility of Petty Cash Custodians and the Department Manager to take all reasonable precautions to safeguard the assets under their care. The Petty Cash Custodian is responsible for any UCSF funds in their possession until custodianship has been transferred to another Petty Cash Custodian or the account has been terminated.
Petty cash and change funds must be kept secure from theft and other hazards. Loss or theft of funds must be reported immediately to the Campus Police Department, and within 24 hours to the Campus Cash Coordinator, Audit and Advisory Services, and Risk Advisory and Insurance Services.
Each fund must be kept separate and not be mixed with other petty cash funds. Only the fund’s custodian may have access to the fund.
Periodic mandatory cash counts by the department are required and must be completed according to the following schedule, based on the fund amount:
- Less than $500.00: Annually (in July)
- $501.00 - $2,000.00: Semi-Annually (in July and October)
- Greater than $2,001.00: Triannual (in April, July, and October)
Cash counts involve the Department Manager and the cash fund custodian. The Department Manager can assign a staff member (or designee) to perform a cash count when necessary. However, the appointee must be trained on the cash count procedures and should have a thorough understanding beforehand.
- The Department Manager (or designee) shall initiate an unannounced cash count.
- At least one individual assigned to conduct a cash count must complete “Policies for Petty Cash Handlers” and “UCSF Cash Handling Training” courses, and a background check.
- The Department Manager (or designee) and petty cash or change fund custodian should be present throughout the cash count. The petty cash or change fund custodian shall act only as a witness to the process. The physical cash count shall be performed by the Department Manager (or designee) who also shall record the cash counted on the “Cash Count Audit Form.”
- Change fund cash on hand should equal the assigned total of the fund with any discrepancy documented on the Cash Count Audit Form.
- Petty cash on hand plus receipts to be reimbursed should equal the authorized total balance of the fund.
Controller’s Office staff may conduct random counts from time to time to ensure compliance.
Failure to comply with any cash count may result in the termination of a petty cash or change fund.
Departments: All departments, units, or other entities engaged in any form of petty cash or change funds, are responsible for complying with the provisions in this policy. Departments, in consultation with the Campus Cash Coordinator, may adopt more stringent safety measures as appropriate for their respective areas. Additionally, Departments are responsible for registering Petty Cash Custodians with the required documentation with the Controller's Office. Financial responsibility for funds resides with the department.
Department Manager: The Department Manager is responsible for providing signature approval for all required forms. They are responsible for initiating unannounced cash counts in compliance with the schedule provided in this policy. They are also responsible for controlling and safeguarding a petty cash or change funds and for ensuring appropriate documentation is retained on each petty cash transaction and fund reimbursement.
Campus Cash Coordinator: An individual in the Cash and Controls Unit within the Controller’s Office who oversees cash-related activity for the University and provides guidance related to cash policy and procedures. The Campus Cash Coordinator approves (or denies) all request forms submitted to the Controller’s Office.
Petty Cash Coordinator: An individual in the Cash and Controls Unit within the Controller’s Office who is responsible for reviewing, verifying, and processing requests for petty cash and change fund establishment, replenishment, termination, and custodial changes. The Petty Cash Coordinator provides guidance related to petty cash and change fund policy and procedures.
Petty Cash Custodian: An employee responsible for controlling and safeguarding a petty cash or change fund and for ensuring appropriate documentation is retained on each petty cash transaction and fund reimbursement. The Petty Cash Custodian is responsible for any UCSF funds in their possession until custodianship has been transferred to another Petty Cash Custodian or the account has been terminated.
Accounts Payable: Department in Supply Chain Management responsible for processing petty cash and change fund check requests issuing checks to the department.
Petty cash and change fund procedures are documented on the UCSF Controller’s Office website.