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Petty Cash

Please be advised that as of June 1, 2013 the Bursar’s Office will no longer process cash advance requests. Expenses can be reimbursed as noted under the: 

Petty Cash Policy (Imprest Fund)

The Bursar's Office is responsible for overseeing the administration of all petty cash funds throughout the university. The Bursar’s Office requires a quarterly accounting of all outstanding Imprest funds. This can be performed directly by the Bursar's Office staff, Internal Audit staff or directly through electronic certification by the Petty Cash Custodian and cognizant Dean or Budget Unit Head. The verification methodology of this review must be approved by the Bursar.


A department or unit must demonstrate a need for a fund to enable it to meet certain minor expenditures for approved departmental functions. The frequency and size of the reimbursement requests will assist in evaluating both the need for and the amount of the fund. Any fund level in excess of current and anticipated requirements should be returned to the Bursar's Office.

Nature and Use of Petty Cash Funds

All petty cash funds of the university will operate as Imprest funds. Imprest is a fund that is always equal to the sum of the cash on hand plus un-reimbursed expenditures. Each fund should be balanced frequently, at least at the times of fund reimbursement, and preferably weekly.

Personal expenditures or borrowings, in any amount, by the custodian or staff are not authorized uses of the fund. Imprest funds may not be commingled with other cash funds (Coffee, Birthday, etc.), nor are they to be used to cash checks. Funds are subject to audit without notice by the Internal Audit Department and/or the Bursar's Office.

Types of Imprest Funds

Change funds: Departments that preform cash sales and require a small amount of cash on an ongoing basis to provide change necessary for normal operations. Change funds should be established at an amount which is not in excess of the amount required for efficient daily cash sales operations, normally not to exceed $500. Unlike other petty cash funds, a change fund does not require periodic replenishment. This type of fund can only be used to make change for cash sales.

Participant fund: Departments that conduct research studies that involve the use of individuals as human subjects (participants) may be paid in the form of cash depending on the circumstances of the study. To obtain this type of imprest fund a request for an exception to use cash must be approved by Research Account Services, Accounts Payable, and the Bursar’s Office. Please note a participant fund total cannot exceed the required amount to pay participants for a two-week period.    

Departmental expense fund: Departments that require cash on hand for working lunches outside of Temple University hours of operation. Also, a department may need to reimburse a student for small expenditures. This account type is no longer being provided without an exception. This description is for imprest accounts that were established prior to June 30, 2020.   

Establishing a Petty Cash Fund

To request for the establishment of a petty cash fund (or an increase in an existing petty cash fund) please complete the Imprest Request form (PDF, Download of Adobe® Reader® required)and submit it to the Bursar’s Office for review and approval.

If the petty cash account will be used to pay subjects or utilizes grant funds, you will have to first obtain an approving signature from the Directors of Accounts Payable and Research Accounting Services. Please complete the Imprest Request Form and forward to both directors via e-mail.  Read more about the IRS 1099-MISC reporting requirements for subjects who are paid $600 or more in a calendar year.

Closing Petty Cash Funds

To close your petty cash fund, you will need to return the total amount of the fund back to the Bursar’s Office. The returned funds can be in receipts or cash, but you must return the total amount of the original fund. If receipts accompany your closing, you must submit a completed petty cash voucher (PDF, Download of Adobe® Reader® required).

The Bursar has the authority and responsibility for the closing of petty cash funds, where appropriate or necessary.

Imprest Fund Reconciliation

The Bursar is responsible for obtaining written confirmation of all petty cash fund balances on a quarterly basis. The reconciliation process is completed through the workflow system. This process must be completed by the custodian and supervisor within 10 business days of receiving the workflow notice. If the workflow reconciliation is not completed in the time frame allotted the fund will be subject to closure. Read more about completing the Imprest Fund Reconciliation for Supervisor and Custodian.


  1. It is the custodian's responsibility to provide adequate precautions for the safekeeping of the money in their custody.
  2. Efforts should be made to provide safekeeping in a locked steel file cabinet or a small safe to which there is limited and controlled access.
  3. Funds should not be left unattended and unsecured during office lunch periods, or other periods during the normal workday.
  4. Desk drawers are not considered appropriate overnight or other unattended storage, whether locked or not.
  5. Any money missing from the petty cash fund will be charged to the responsible department, and the custodian will be subject to disciplinary action.

Change in Custodianship

  1. The Assistant Bursar of Banking Services should be notified immediately, so that an audit may be performed, and records properly adjusted.
  2. Custodial changes that are not communicated to the Bursar's Office do not relieve the custodian of his/her responsibility.
  3. To change the custodianship, please complete the Imprest Information Change Form (PDF, Adobe® Reader® required) and submit it to the Assistant Bursar of Banking Services via e-mail.

Reimbursement of Petty Cash Expenditures

  1. The fund should be reimbursed so that the money on hand will be adequate for your needs over the next 7-10 days.
  2. Expenditures must be recorded on a standard petty cash voucher form (PDF, Adobe® Reader® required) and must contain a description of the item(s).
  3. The voucher must be supported by an original receipt issued by the vendor, except in those cases where receipts are not normally given (i.e., SEPTA fares).
  4. Receipt dates can not exceed six (6) months. If your receipts are over six (6) months old, you must provide a memo of explanation addressing the late submission.
  5. The FOAPAL (Fund, Organization, Account and Program) number and the total dollar amount must be filled in completely.
  6. The voucher must be approved by the budget unit head or individual with signature authority in accordance with the University’s Signature Authorization Policy (PDF, Adobe® Reader® required).
  7. Expenditures of more than $150 for a single item are not authorized from petty cash and will not be reimbursed.

Typical Petty Cash Expenditures

 Expenditures NOT Reimbursable as Petty Cash

  • Any travel and business-related expenses, including receptions, luncheons and other outlays for food or beverage for University functions (except as noted above)
  • Mileage and other non-cash transportation expenses
  • Stamps (This can only be used for/by study participants.)
  • Dry cleaning
  • Priority mail (Express mail, Federal Express and UPS)
  • SEPTA tokens
  • Gas for university vehicles
  • Parking, tolls and local taxis
  • Temple parking tokens
  • Food expenses for working lunches at a restaurant which is covered under the
  • Payments to individuals other than a participant payment
  • Any other individual item that exceeds $150.00
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Off-campus events or venue rentals

All exceptions to this policy, unless otherwise indicated, must be approved by the Bursar.