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Petty Cash


The University makes petty cash funds available at the Bursar's Office, Medical Center Cashier's Office and Eastman School of Music Business Office and directly to departments for small incidental University expenses. Petty cash funds provide an efficient and convenient means of paying for small dollar purchases.


A departmental petty cash fund is defined as money advanced to an office, department or University unit for use in defraying miscellaneous, small, approved University expenditures. The establishment of petty cash funds is suggested only where it will result in saving time or paperwork.

A petty cash fund may be established or increased, decreased, or terminated by completing the Petty Cash Fund Request form (F-9). The request should specify the general purpose of the fund/name of research study, its physical location, how it will be secured during business and non-business hours, and the name and title of the person who will have direct charge of and be accountable for it (custodian). Send the completed F-9 form to the University Controller, Box 278958. Generally, only one petty cash fund will be established in a department. Requests for exceptions to this rule should be justified in a memo to the University Controller.

Once the petty cash fund has been approved, the Controller's office will issue a petty cash voucher (amount under $300) or a check (amount over $300.) The petty cash voucher may be cashed at the University Bursar's Office, SMH Cashier's Office or the Eastman School of Music Business Office. The check may be cashed at the JPMorgan Chase bank on campus or at the branch at Strong Memorial Hospital.. The petty cash funds are initially charged to a University general ledger account on the authority of the University Controller and are not charged to the department until spent. As expenditures are reimbursed, they are charged to the appropriate departmental account.

The size of the petty cash fund is based on the volume of business it is expected to cover. It should require reimbursement at least once a month and no more frequently than once every ten days. Petty cash funds which are not likely to be used for a month or more (e.g., over the summer) should be closed by return of the total fund to a cashier's office. A copy of the deposit slip and memo should be forwarded to Finance. The fund may be reestablished by memorandum as described above.

The security of the petty cash fund is the responsibility of the University official who requests the establishment of the fund. All cash funds must be accessible only to the responsible official and the designated custodian. All cash funds must be in locked cash boxes which are, in turn, kept in locked desks or cabinets. Funds over $100 must be kept in safes or other secure and flame-proof equipment.

Petty cash funds are subject to report or audit by the Office of University Audit. The physical safety of petty cash funds is subject to inspection by the Security Office. Shortages in or evidence of attempted theft of petty cash funds must be reported immediately to the Security Office and to the Office of University Audit.

Changes in the physical location, the custodian or the assignment of a temporary custodian must be reported on the Petty Cash Fund Request form (F-9). Send completed form with changes to the University Controller, Box 278958.

The University Controller may prescribe special regulations or procedures for particular petty cash funds when, in his judgment, this is advisable. He may, for example, require overnight and weekend deposit of funds at a cashier's or security office, or the closing of a fund not used properly.

To discontinue a petty cash fund, please deposit cash to the original ledger account. Send the original deposit receipt and the Petty Cash Fund Request form (F-9) acknowledging closure of the fund to the University Controller, Box 278958.

Individual petty cash transactions should normally be limited to an amount under $75 and every attempt should be made to avoid paying sales tax. Petty cash may be used to pay research subject fees but may not be used to pay wages or salaries. Petty cash may not be used to cash personal or Payroll checks, to make personal loans or for any purpose other than approved University expenditures.

All reimbursements for food purchases must be processed on a Travel and Conference Report (F-3).


Internal Revenue Service regulations state that research subject fees are taxable income to individuals. The University is obligated to process Form 1099 MISC for all individuals receiving $600 or more each calendar year.

All cash payments must be documented. Required information includes name, address, social security number and signature as proof of receipt. It is strongly recommended that a W-9 be completed by the recipients for all payments over $50. At the end of each calendar year (December 31), departments are required to furnish a listing to the Finance Department of all petty cash payments made to research subjects netting $300 or more for the calendar year. The listing must include name, address and social security number. Please send this listing to the Accounts Payable Department, Box 278958.

Some research studies request that University checks be mailed to study participants. To accomplish this, a Request for Payment Form (F-4) is prepared in the department and forwarded to Accounts Payable. Checks will be mailed to the recipient by Accounts Payable. To maintain confidentiality, the check request should simply document that the payment is for a study participant and that backup documentation is stored in the department for audit purposes. The recipient's name, address and social security number must be furnished on the check request. Individual payments over $50 must include a completed W-9.


Expenditures aggregating $300 or less can be reimbursed at the SMH Cashier's Office, the River Campus Bursar's Office or the Eastman School of Music Business Office. This includes reimbursement of Travel and Conference Report (F-3) for amounts $300 or less and did not involve an original travel advance Request for Advance Travel (F-2)Amounts in excess of $300 must be processed through Accounts Payable on a Request For Payment form (F-4).

Reimbursements may be submitted on either of two forms listed below.

Petty Cash Voucher (Form F-5)

To obtain reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses, a Petty Cash Voucher (F-5) may be prepared. The following information must be provided:

  1. Date
  2. Description and business purpose of each transaction
  3. Amount
  4. Original documentation showing evidence of charge, indicating vendor name, items purchased, cost and date
  5. University account and subcode to be charged
  6. Department name and telephone number
  7. Signature of individual authorized to charge account
  8. Countersignature of supervisor, department head, or senior administrator

Petty Cash Fund Summary (Form F-6)

The Petty Cash Fund Summary (Form F-6) is used by many departments to document reimbursements to staff members and payments for research subject fees. The following information is required:

  1. Date reimbursed or payment issued
  2. Signature of recipient
  3. Description and business purpose of each transaction amount
  4. Original receipts (vendor name, items purchased and date)
  5. The Recap section of the form must show:
  6. University account numbers and subcodes to be charged
  7. Original signature on approval line by custodian of petty cash fund
  8. Countersignature of supervisor, department head or senior administrator

Please note the following:


Page updated 4/26/2017
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