Petty cash and you: how to manage this small fund

Typically a small-to-medium business keeps about $100 of cash on hand, but large corporations may have as much as $500, depending on their needs. It is generally not a good idea to keep an excessive amount of cash on hand or too many people with access to it due to the risk of petty cash theft and potential accounting problems. Petty cash or the petty cash fund is a small amount of cash on hand used for paying expenses too small to merit writing a check. The petty cash custodian then disburses petty cash from the fund in exchange for receipts related to whatever the expenditure may be. There is no journal entry at this point; instead, the cash balance in the petty cash fund continues to decline, while the number of receipts continues to increase.

The imprest system is a form of financial accounting system. The base characteristic of an imprest system is that a fixed amount is reserved, which after a certain period of time or when circumstances require, because money was spent, it will be replenished.

Don’t: continue replenishing your petty fund without evaluating spending

Why do we need petty cash?

The initial petty cash journal entry is a debit to the petty cash account and a credit to the cash account. The petty cash custodian then disburses petty cash from the fund in exchange for receipts related to whatever the expenditure may be. The cashier creates a journal entry to record the petty cash receipts.

Most petty cash funds are accounted for with a simple listing of expenses. He should then debit the individual expense accounts for the sums spent in each. The total debit in the expense accounts will equal the credit of the petty cash account. If the petty cash is not used all that often or if there is a larger amount in the box, you may never use all of the petty cash. In these cases, the clerk can replenish what has been taken out once a month in order to keep track of the expenditures and help with the accounting of the petty cash.

No more problems with petty cash

Documenting transactions is the way a business documents business expenses for tax purposes. By keeping track of all petty cash transactions – no matter how petty- you have records to back up deductions for those small business expenses. Be as specific as possible, online bookkeeping so there is no doubt that the transaction wasbusiness-related. But at the end of each day, record the amount in the petty cash drawer. The difference should tally with cash payments made by customers and with the total of petty cash expenses paid from the drawer.

Examples of Petty Cash Payments

The petty cash reconciliation sheet and receipts are the backup for the petty cash replenishment check. Enter them as one transaction in the banking register and allocate sub-totals to each category. It is useful to charge unexplained differences to an expense account set aside for that purpose. By doing so, it is much easier to track the cumulative amount of undocumented losses over time.

Employees take money from the petty cash account, recording each transaction with date, amount, vendor (who was paid), and business purpose. Because the cash economy is getting smaller, and people are using debit and credit cards more for small purchases, the use of a petty cash system (with a “cash drawer”) has diminished. But it’s still essential for any business to make sure you account for all small purchases so that you can deduct them as business expenses.

A receipt slip should be filled out for any money taken and should list the date, exact amount of cash, description of the expense and the retained earnings name and signature of the individual receiving the cash. The normal balance of petty cash can vary depending on the size of the company.

  • As you make each payment, you will need petty cash slips or a transaction list.
  • This way, any transaction above that amount can be handled through the normal purchasing process.For example, a company might restrict petty cash transactions to $50 or less.
  • You might use money from the petty cash fund to pay for minor expenses such as postage, cab fares or office supplies, or reimburse someone $9 for bringing in a box of donuts.

Only you and the employee designated to oversee the fund should have the keys. Petty cash isn’t usually a significant expense for your business. However, failing to hold employees accountable for petty cash may encourage theft or inappropriate use of company resources. Businesses should keep petty cash in a safe or locked in a cash box. The owner and financial manger should be the only employees with access to the petty cash so it can be accurately tracked and managed.

Also, consider having a policy that requires the internal audit staff to be notified if the amount of an unexplained shortage in a petty cash fund exceeds a certain amount. Review the company’s petty cash policy and determine the stated petty cash balance for the fund to be reviewed.

What is difference between cash and petty cash?

A petty cash reconciliation is a formal review of petty cash records. The intent of this activity is to see if there have been any undocumented disbursements. Such disbursements are a common problem in petty cash, where there is a high risk of fraud.

How a petty cash system works

Policies should be established regarding appropriate expenditures that can be paid from petty cash. When a disbursement is made from the fund, a receipt should be placed in the petty cash box. The receipt should set forth the amount and nature of expenditure. Petty cash is a highly liquid asset, which means that it’s easily stolen.

Funds are considered inactive if they have no activity during a fiscal year. To establish a petty cash account, business units must submit a Petty Cash Action Form signed by the Financial Dean or equivalent (or designee) and a Payment Request in HCOM to fund the petty cash account. Business units should attach the signed Petty Cash Action Form to their Payment Request as supporting documentation. Petty Cash is usually the mechanism of last resort to access cash for payments, when other disbursement methods are impractical or cannot be used. Petty cash accounts may be used to make cash payments to human subjects in accordance with the Human Subject Payment policy.

To set up a petty cash fund, the cashier creates a check in the amount of the funding assigned to a particular petty cash fund (usually a few hundred dollars). Alternatively, the cashier could simply count out the cash for the petty cash fund, if there are enough bills and coins on the premises. The initial petty cash journal entry is a debit to the petty cash account and a credit to the cash account. Petty Cash custodians are responsible for safeguarding petty cash funds and Maintaining receipts and detailed records to support all transactions. The most important part of a petty cash system is the documentation of each transaction.

Under the imprest system, the petty cash custodian should at all times have a combination of currency, coins, and petty cash receipts that equals $100 (the imprest petty cash balance). An imprest system of petty cash means that the general ledger account Petty Cash will remain dormant at a constant amount. If the amount of petty cash is $100, then the Petty Cash account will always report a debit balance of $100. As long as $100 is adequate for the organization’s small disbursements, then the general ledger account Petty Cash will never be debited or credited again.

How to Reconcile Petty Cash

The total of the receipts and remaining cash should equal the initial amount of petty cash funding at all times. However, recordation errors and theft may result in a variance from the initial funding amount.

The imprest system ensures that one must document how the petty cash is spent. In a petty cash system, petty cash receipts are written for each amount issued. So, when all of these receipts are totalled at the end of the month and deducted from the opening petty cash float, the calculated value must agree with what is left in the petty cash float. Under the imprest system, only that which is recorded as spent is replenished. Any shortfalls might need to be replenished by the guardian, usually a bookkeeper, of the petty cash float from their own personal resources.

Petty cash funds provide a convenient way to pay for small expenses, but keeping cash in any office normal balance entails risk of misuse or theft. This policy provides procedures designed to mitigate these risks.

Even if you trust your employees, cash left out on a table or desk could be stolen by an office visitor What is petty cash or a customer. To combat this risk, keep the petty cash in a locked filing cabinet or cash box.

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