Policy Steward: 
Director of Vendor Payment Strategies
Format Updated: 
University Policy & Standards Converted: 
Revision Date: 
Thursday, March 10, 2016

This information replaces FIS 103-01 & 407-02 Petty Cash


Petty Cash Funds

Petty cash funds are set up for the purpose of paying for small office supplies. It is not for the purpose of refreshments, entertainment, travel, hosting, conference registrations, or membership fees. Petty Cash purchases have the same documentation requirements and fall under the same restrictions as all other OSU purchases.

Use the guidelines for purchasing card usage when determining appropriate use for petty cash. You can find a listing of restricted uses on the fiscal policy for Procurement Cards. These are guidelines that should also be used in determining what can be paid for using the Petty Cash fund.

See FIS 407-02 Petty Cash (below) for additional details of the policy and procedures for a Petty Cash Fund.


Petty Cash

To pay for small office type supplies, making small volume purchases when a procurement card is not available use a Petty Cash fund. Do not use this fund for the payment of refreshments, meals, entertainment, travel, registrations, or membership fees. Do not use the Petty Cash fund for making change.

Petty Cash purchases have the same documentation requirements and fall under the same restrictions as other OSU purchases. Petty Cash funds should be kept as small as possible. The cash must be kept in a locked secured area. The receipts for items that have been purchased, but not yet reimbursed should be kept in a separate place from the cash.

Note: Use of petty cash is discouraged. Wherever possible, units are encouraged to use a procurement card to handle small volume purchases.


 Contact Cashiers in Business Affairs to set up a Petty Cash Fund. The fund is established under an individual’s name, and that person will be responsible for the fund as the petty cash custodian. The department head is responsible for informing Business Affairs when there is a change in the designated custodian. Business Affairs must approve and process any changes to the custodian information.

Custodian Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that appropriate receipts are obtained to support any disbursement.
  • Ensure that the expenditure is appropriate in nature.
  • Ensure that the petty cash fund is reconciled at all times. The paid receipts or invoices plus the cash should always equal the fund balance.
  • Ensure that the funds are kept in a secure location, such as a locked cash box or locked desk drawer. The Custodian should maintain possession of the key. Funds should never be left unlocked or unattended and should be concealed from general view when not in use.
  • Petty cash funds and associated documents should not be combined or commingled with any other departmental funds.

Receipts must be provided for authorized purchases. No money should be disbursed from the petty cash fund to reimburse a person unless a paid receipt or invoice is presented. If receipts are not issued for a type of expense incurred, (e.g. parking meters, pay phone calls, etc.) then a written note describing the expense is required. The person who made the expenditure must sign the note.

If cash is advanced to make an authorized purchase, a petty cash advance slip should be signed showing the amount of money the individual received. When the unspent money and a paid receipt are returned, the advance slip should be destroyed.

Reimburse the petty cash fund no less often than quarterly.

A payment request form including itemized receipts should be submitted to the appropriate Business Center to reimburse the petty cash fund.  Petty cash reimbursements redistributing the purchases to the appropriate index and account code are entered into FIS Banner by the appropriate Business Center. The check is made payable in care of the petty cash custodian.

At fiscal year-end Business Affairs will send a Petty Cash Reconciliation Report to the custodian for completion. The completed report is returned to Business Affairs as part of the year-end closing process.  The size and activity level of the petty cash fund should be reviewed on an annual basis to determine if the amount is appropriate and if the fund is still needed.


See the listing of restricted uses in the fiscal policy for Procurement Cards.