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Petty Cash: Overview and Guidelines

Learn about establishing, policy, and internal controls for petty cash or change funds for your department.

Petty cash fund

A department's petty cash fund is used to reimburse allowable low-value expenses for items which generally can't be purchased through established UCSD procurement procedures.

Change fund

A department's change fund is used to provide change for cashiers and customers who pay by high-denomination bills.

Each department must establish a custodian for the fund. This person is directly responsible for controlling and disbursing the cash.

Before establishing a petty cash or change fund

Departments must review these documents outlining policies and procedures:

Establishing a petty cash or change fund

  • Complete the application (Word file).
  • Mail the application to General Accounting, Mail Code 0953, attention Petty Cash/Change Fund.
  • General Accounting will notify you of the outcome of your application. If your request is approved, Disbursements will issue and mail the check to the fund's custodian.

Internal controls

Once the fund is established, departments must follow these internal controls:

  • Cash count and verification of funds must be performed periodically, at least quarterly, by someone other than the custodian. Verification of cash balances must be performed in the presence of the custodian. Results must be documented and reported to General Accounting, Mail Code 0953.
  • Petty cash and change funds are subject to periodic cash counts without prior notice.
  • Prior to June 30 of each year, General Accounting will mail each custodian a Certification of Possession form for verification of university's funds.
  • For annual fiscal year closing, each June 30, all pending petty-cash reimbursements must be submitted to Disbursements.

Managing or obtaining reimbursements