FMPM 231 - Petty Cash

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This Finance Procedure sets out the requirements for the approval, maintenance, disbursement and reimbursement of a petty cash float.




Petty Cash is to be used for the reimbursement or purchase of items of an insignificant nature and for minor expenditure.  In all cases petty cash must be used for official purposes and expenditure must be properly authorised prior to use.  Wherever possible a corporate credit card should be used.


Establishing or Increasing

To establish a new petty cash float or increase an existing petty cash float a written application is made to the Manager, Finance & Taxation, by the Head of the Organisational Unit requesting the petty cash float.

The application for the establishment of a float must:

  • state the name and position of the person in the Organisational Unit who will be the Custodian of the petty cash float (note: there can only be ONE petty cash Custodian at any one time);

  • state the value of the petty cash float required;

  • include a specimen signature of the Custodian; and

  • detail the security arrangements in place to ensure the safe custody of the funds in the Organisational Unit.

An application for an increase to an existing petty cash float must include reasons for the requested increase.


Petty cash floats are subject to approval by the Manager, Finance & Taxation.  Due to the additional security risks associated with large petty cash floats, (including physical security of staff when carrying reimbursed funds across campus), it is recommended that petty cash floats be kept to a minimum.  Where a request for a float exceeds $1,000 it is a requirement that a safe be available to secure the funds.

Regardless of the amount of the float, all Petty Cash Custodians are required to have completed appropriate training associated with armed hold-ups.

The value of the petty cash float is set by the Manager, Finance & Taxation and is subject to the determinations set out in FMPM 232: Authorised Limits - Petty Cash Floats.

The Cashier arranges:

  • the physical cash;

  • appropriate training (including data entry).

The Organisational Unit is responsible for providing its own cash tin.


Petty Cash is not to be used for any travel related expenditure (refer FMPM 741: Procedure - Travel).

A cash sale receipt docket or other form of supporting documentation must be obtained by the person claiming petty cash, as evidence of the expenditure.  In exceptional circumstances, if reimbursement is requested but no receipt or other evidence is available, the claimant must complete a Statutory Declaration form, which must be duly authorised by a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations, to validate the amount and nature of the expenditure being claimed.

Prior to reimbursing individuals for expenses incurred, the Custodian should examine the petty cash docket to ensure the following details have been completed:

  • the date;

  • the purpose/details of the expenditure;

  • the amount paid;

  • the account number including the use code; and

  • the signature of the Claimant.

The amount disbursed to the claimant must be rounded to the nearest 5 cents.  The rounded amount is to be recorded on the petty cash claim and the receipt showing the actual amount of the expenditure securely attached to the back of the petty cash claim.

The following applies to expenditure other than travel and entertainment:

  • Where the Claimant has a financial delegation over the account number charged, the Custodian should obtain the signature of the person receiving the cash and countersign the petty cash docket as having given the cash to the person;

  • Where the Claimant does not have financial delegation over the account number charged then:

  • If the Custodian has a financial delegation over the account number charged, the Custodian may authorise that expenditure.  In this circumstance the Custodian should obtain the signature of the person receiving the cash and countersign the petty cash docket as having approved the expenditure and given the cash to the person (note it is the responsibility of the Custodian to ensure that the financial delegation requirements have been met, therefore where the petty cash docket is signed only by the Custodian and the Claimant, one or the other must have a financial delegation on the account number being charged; or

  • If neither the Claimant nor the Petty Cash Custodian has financial delegation then the Claimant must have the petty cash docket authorised by an appropriate financial delegate prior to it being presented to the Custodian for reimbursement.

To summarise: every petty cash docket must contain at least TWO different signatures, namely:

  • the claimant must sign (to confirm receipt of the cash)

  • the petty cash custodian must sign (to confirm having given the cash to the claimant)

  • PLUS if neither the claimant nor the custodian has financial delegation, a third signature from an appropriate delegate authorising the expenditure.

In the event where the Custodian is the Claimant, the docket must be checked and countersigned by a second person with appropriate financial delegation.

Where the expenditure relates to travel or entertainment the “one up” authorisation rule applies in addition to the rules above.

Where the expenditure would be subject to Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) the FBT amount must be included in the charge to the account (refer FMPM 731: Procedure - Fringe Benefits Tax).

All supporting documents are to be attached to the back of the petty cash docket.  Petty cash documentation must be stored securely at all times.  It is recommended that petty cash claims be stored with the petty cash float to ensure their security.


If a staff member requires an advance for the purchase of an item for which the exact cost is not known, they should sign an appropriate record for the advance in the first instance.  The record of the advance should be held in the cash tin and should detail:

  • the name of the person for whom the advance is given;

  • the purpose of the advance;

  • the amount of the advance; and

  • the signature of the person to whom the advance is given.

On completion of the purchase, the staff member is to return the change and a completed petty cash docket, as detailed above, for the exact amount of the purchase.  The record of the advance is then signed by the staff member and the custodian as evidence of acquittal and retained by the custodian.

Wherever possible, advances must be acquitted within 48 hours. No more than one advance will be made to any one person at one time.


A petty cash float is operated on the basis that expenditure from the petty cash float is periodically recouped through the University Cashier.  Such recoupment:

  • returns the petty cash float to its original level; and

  • charges the expenditure which has been made from the petty cash float to the Organisational Unit's accounts in the general ledger.

Whenever money is disbursed from the Organisational Unit's petty cash float, the cash is replaced by a record of an advance or a completed petty cash docket. Therefore, at any point of time, the sum of:

  • the cash on hand; plus

  • the cash advances for unfinalised purchases; plus

  • the completed petty cash dockets

will equal the value of the petty cash float approved for the Organisational Unit.

The total amount of cash, dockets and advances must be checked and reconciled to the float total:

  • each time reimbursement is requested (as shown on the petty cash reimbursement form).

  • at least once a period (if reimbursement has not been requested).

When reimbursement becomes necessary the Custodian:

  • prepares the appropriate Petty Cash Reimbursement Form using electronic data entry formats into Finance One;

  • signs and dates the Petty Cash Reimbursement form; and

  • completes and signs a “Petty Cash Reimbursement Checklist” which should be attached to the Reimbursement form.

These documents, along with the petty cash dockets and receipts, should then all be checked by another appropriate financial delegate within the Organisational Unit.  This person should sign and date the Reimbursement form to authorise the reimbursement.  The claim is then forwarded to the University Cashier (Townsville) for processing of the reimbursement.

Methods of reimbursement are as follows:


The Cashier will arrange for the reimbursement to be available for collection from the On-Campus Credit Union or to be delivered by the nominated security firm.  Refer below for the thresholds that apply to the collection or delivery of funds.

Cairns and Off  Campus Locations

In the case of Organisational Units not located on the Townsville, Bebegu Yumba Campus, claims can be sent to the Cashier, Douglas Campus. The Cashier (Townsville) will arrange for the reimbursement to be:

  • available for collection from the Commonwealth Bank for delivery by the nominated security firm; or

  • available for collection by the Organisational Unit at the nearest Commonwealth Bank branch.

Thresholds that apply to the collection/delivery of funds

For the thresholds that apply to the collection/delivery of reimbursements refer to FMPM 232: Authorised Limits - Petty Cash Floats.

Petty Cash Float Repaid or Reduced

When a petty cash float is no longer required, the Head of the Organisational Unit must:

  • advise the Manager, Finance & Taxation in writing;

  • submit to the Cashier:

  • the balance of cash on hand; and

  • a completed Petty Cash Claim;

which, when added together, equal the value of the approved petty cash float.

The Cashier will issue a receipt to the person delivering the acquittal of the float.


Shortages must be reported to the Manager, Finance & Taxation as soon as they are discovered.  Where petty cash is stolen or lost, the procedures contained in FMPM 920: Policy - Losses, must be actioned.


The petty cash float must be kept in a lockable cash tin at all times. When not in use the cash tin must be locked and kept in a secure location, preferably in a safe or locked steel filing cabinet.

The External Auditor, Internal Auditor or the Manager, Finance & Taxation may, without notice, require that the petty cash float be made available for counting.

Absence of Custodian

At any one point in time, there can only be one Custodian per petty cash float.  In the event of the Custodian being absent from the Organisational Unit for any more than 2 weeks, or on resignation of the Custodian, the Head of the Organisational Unit must:

  • return the float in accordance with Petty Cash Float Repaid or Reduced; or

  • authorise another officer of the Organisational Unit to act as custodian;

  • forward a specimen signature of the replacement Custodian to the Cashier, clearly stating the dates during which the replacement Custodian will be effective; and

  • request petty cash Finance One access for that person for those dates.

At the commencement and completion of leave, or on the resignation of the Custodian, the petty cash float must be reconciled and signed by the departing and replacement staff members to indicate their agreement as to its balance.

Where the Custodian does not arrive for duty and their duties are to be performed by another officer, the money passing into the hands of the relieving officer must be counted by that officer and a senior officer, and a suitable record made.

Under normal circumstances, temporary relief staff must not be appointed as Custodians.

Claim Limit

No single claim shall be in excess of the value as set by the determinations in FMPM 232: Authorised Limits - Petty Cash Floats, without the prior approval of the Chief Financial Officer.

The petty cash limit applies to the total purchase from a single supplier at any one time and not to the single items of that purchase.

Where it is evident that a purchase from a single supplier has been split into several receipts to circumvent the authorised limit, the claim must not be reimbursed through the petty cash float.

Reimbursement of all purchases over the authorised limit must be made through either the Expense Management System (Spendvision) or the Purchase Requisition system (refer FMPM 711: Procurement Procedure and FMPM 420: Policy – Corporate Credit Cards.)

Restrictions on Use

Petty cash must not be used for any of the following:

  • the cashing of cheques;

  • personal items or loans;

  • payment of fees, salaries, wages, honoraria or allowances;

  • payment for petrol for University vehicles (except in extenuating circumstances, eg. where not possible to use fuel card);

  • purchase of goods that are covered by preferred supplier agreements/arrangements;

  • reimbursement of any travel related expenditures;

  • items not required for University purposes; or

  • entertainment.

Specimen Forms

Petty Cash Reimbursement and Checklist Form

Petty Cash Custodian Authority

For enquiries in relation to this FMPM Procedure please contact


NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Domain

University Management

Policy Sub-domain


Policy Custodian

Chief Financial Officer

Approval Authority

Vice Chancellor

Date for next review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Policy Sponsor and Approval Authority updated to reflect the approved Policy and Delegations Framework

Quality Standards and Policy Unit