Petty Cash Guidelines

Centralized Petty Cash Fund

A centralized petty cash fund is operated by Student Fiscal Services (SFS) to assist University departments in making small expenditures on either an advance or reimbursement basis. SFS is responsible for disbursing the funds and maintaining an acceptable level of security and control. All transactions are strictly on a cash basis and handled in person. Student Fiscal Services will not send cash through the mail or assume responsibility for receipts, money, or miscellaneous items lost when sent to them by a department.

If you have regular expenditures, there might be a more efficient and audit-friendly way of purchasing the items. Below is a list of websites that are frequently used for many different types of purchases. A chart is also available to help you decide the most appropriate way to purchase an item or service. In addition, some of these areas offer training which you can obtain by contacting the contact number listed in the site.

Employee reimbursements (for non-travel expenses) can now go through eReimbursements. If the employee currently receives their payroll direct deposited they can choose to also receive their reimbursement direct deposited. Please visit the eReimbursement website for more information.

Location and Hours of the Petty Cash Window

The Petty Cash Window is located in Student Fiscal Services:

Schmitz Hall, room 129
1400 NE Campus Parkway
Phone: 206-543-4694.
Hours of operation: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm

Using the Petty Cash Fund

Current University Identification Required

Current University of Washington identification must be presented at the Petty Cash Window before cash will be disbursed. Hourly employees are not issued University identification, but may present their department’s Payroll Distribution Card.

Expenditure Ceiling

For reimbursements, no single receipt or purchase may exceed $200 total. If it appears that an advance over $200 is the most appropriate way to handle a transaction, contact a Petty Cash supervisor by calling 206-543-4694. If an expense will be exceed $200 you may be required to make the purchase in advance and get a reimbursement or use your department’s PRO Card.

NOTE: The Petty Cash Office limits the processing / presenting of Petty Cash vouchers to our cashiers to 5 vouchers per visit. In addition, due to the increasing transgressions occurring near the university, we are limiting the amount of petty cash that employees carry back to their office to $500.

Eligible Purchases

Petty cash may be used to purchase supplies, non-personal items (including research subjects), and some travel and transportation necessary to conduct official business. (See ‘Reimbursement for Travel Expenses’ later in this document.) Petty cash may be used to purchase off-campus photocopying, up to an absolute limit of $200 per receipt or purchase.

Petty cash may reimburse for food purchased under the Meals and/or Light Refreshments for Meetings, Training Sessions and Recognition Awards and Events policy. If a budget number is not on the food-approved list, a completed UW 1798 form must be attached to the Petty Cash Voucher. Check out the Petty Cash Fact Sheet for more information on eligible purchases.

Unauthorized Purchases:
  • Personal choice, convenience, or decorative items (e.g., pens, clocks, picture frames, flowers, drapes, desk sets, briefcases, watches) unless the budget to be charged is a discretionary fund (budget number 64-XXXX).
  • Food or beverages (alcoholic or nonalcoholic) and related items (e.g., banquet permits, glasses, paper cups and plates, mixers, ice) unless the budget is on the list of budgets approved for such purchases or is authorized under the “Meals and/or Light Refreshments for Meetings, Training Sessions or Recognitions Events Policy”. (Form 1798)
  • Personal services or honorariums (excludes research subjects)
  • Services rendered by University employees
  • Gasoline (except for boats and lawn mowers)
  • Furniture
  • UW and UW Medical Center Parking
  • Goods or services from other University departments
  • Gift Cards
  • Internet or phone/cell phone charges

NOTE: Go to our Petty Cash Fact Sheet for additional items which are restricted from purchase.

Petty Cash Vouchers

The Petty Cash Voucher, which is used for requesting advances or reimbursements for purchases, may be downloaded from the Publication Services, Petty Cash Voucher, Form: UoW 1243. Voucher forms are not available from the Petty Cash Office. Incomplete vouchers will not be processed.

Recommended safeguards for the Petty Cash Voucher forms include:
  • Keep Petty Cash Voucher forms in a locked cabinet, or other approved method of safekeeping, with access limited to a few, authorized individuals.
  • The reimbursee / advancee must mark through unused lines and enter the total before authorizing Petty Cash Voucher forms.
  • Document the chain of custody for the cash, if the money is picked up by someone other than the reimbursee/advancee. Make an extra copy of the Petty Cash Voucher to have the reimbursee/advancee sign for the money when it is turned over to them.
  • Only one (1) authorized and signed copy of the voucher (w / original receipt) is required at the Petty Cash window. Retain one signed copy of the voucher for the department’s records (Note: A copy of the voucher will no longer be returned to the department).
  • Segregate duties among various employees: signed copy of the Petty Cash Voucher should be reconciled to the Budget Activity Report (BAR) by an employee who does not normally pick up money from the Petty Cash Window.
  • Use Separate Vouchers for different budgets
  • Petty cash advances and reimbursements cannot be requested on the same form.
  • A Petty Cash Voucher cannot be used to distribute the cost of a purchase between two or more budgets. Ask vendors to prepare separate receipts for items to be reimbursed against different budgets.
  • Limit the presenting of vouchers to the Petty Cash Office to 5 vouchers at one time.
  • Due to the increasing transgressions occurring near the university, limit the amount of petty cash that employees carry back to the office to $500

Reimbursements for Out-Of-Pocket Expenses

Employee reimbursements (for non-travel expenses) can now go through eReimbursements. If the employee currently receives their payroll direct deposited they can choose to also receive their reimbursement direct deposited. Please visit the eReimbursement website for more information.

Supporting Documentation

Supporting documentation should be requested at the time of purchase. Supporting documentation may be in the form of an original paid invoice, sales slip, or cash register receipt. Save the original supporting documentation to submit with the Petty Cash Voucher. An invoice, sales slip or cash register receipt for supplies or services should include:

  • date of purchase
  • vendor name
  • item description
  • dollar amount of item(s) purchased

An invoice from a vendor must be marked as paid and either signed by a representative of the vendor or machine-validated to qualify as a receipt. If the receipt being submitted is not the original receipt, or is in a form other than described above, a signed Petty Cash Perjury Statement must be included with the petty cash voucher as part of the supporting documentation. The person who made the purchase must complete the perjury statement.

Such items as altered receipts, photocopies or facsimiles of receipts, packing slips, adding machine tapes, letters, statements, or invoices requesting payment (i.e., not marked “paid” by the vendor) are not acceptable as proof of payment. If there is no acceptable proof of payment as listed above, a perjury statement is required for reimbursement. Online receipts are not accepted without a perjury statement as they can be easily altered.

In some unique instances Petty Cash may require a memo attesting to the validity of the payment and items purchased. This memo should be signed by an administrative officer, department head, or principal investigator other than the individual who made the purchase.

Note: Petty Cash receipts must be completely taped on all edges to an 8.5 x 11 white sheet of paper when brought to the Petty Cash Window.

  • For Purchases Paid With Cash - supporting documentation as described above should be obtained for all purchases and attached to the Petty Cash Voucher.
  • For purchases paid by personal check - supporting documentation as described above should be obtained for all purchases and attached to the Petty Cash Voucher.
  • For purchases paid by credit card -supporting documentation as described above should be obtained. An imprinted credit card slip (or flimsy) may be used as supporting documentation only if it reflects a detailed listing of the item(s) purchased. The credit card number, expiration date and any other personal information may be blocked out if submitted as supporting documentation.
Requesting Reimbursement

To request reimbursement for petty cash purchases, present the completed Petty Cash Voucher, current University identification and supporting documentation at the Petty Cash Window. Be sure to itemize the purchases on the voucher. The voucher must be signed by the individual who is actually bringing the voucher to the Petty Cash Window and by one other person in the department authorized to sign purchase requisitions for that budget number. The individual receiving the reimbursement may not countersign their own voucher (i.e., there must be two different signatures on the form).

Cash Advances

Petty cash advances cannot exceed $200 per department at any one time.

Petty cash advances may not be used for most travel expenses or registration fees. Per Diem advances may only be requested from the Travel Office.

How to Obtain a Cash Advance

To obtain a cash advance for petty cash purchases, present the completed Petty Cash Voucher, and current University identification. The items to be purchased must be listed in the description section of the Petty Cash Voucher. The voucher must be signed by the individual who is actually bringing the voucher to the Petty Cash Window and by one other person in the department authorized to sign purchase requisitions for that budget number. The individual receiving the advance may not countersign their own voucher (i.e., there must be two different signatures on the form). Petty cash advances cannot exceed $200 per department at any one time.

Clearing Advances

To clear a cash advance, present supporting documentation and any surplus advance money to the Petty Cash Window in the Student Fiscal Services within five business days from the date of the cash advance (see the section ‘Reimbursements for Out-Of-Pocket Expenses’ for more information regarding supporting documentation). Special arrangements may be made with the Petty Cash Supervisor if extenuating circumstances delay clearing a cash advance within five business days. However, sustained or repeated violations of this requirement can result in a department being denied use of petty cash funds. Additionally, if the advance is not cleared, the amount of the advance can be withheld from the requester’s paycheck or other money due to that person by the University.

Reimbursements for Travel Expenses

Types of Travel Expenses Reimbursed Through Petty Cash.

If you have any questions about how to process travel expenses, please visit the Travel Office website or contact the Travel Office for options.

Departments are responsible for ensuring that travel reimbursed through the Petty Cash Office is not also claimed for reimbursement through the Travel Office.

Petty cash may be used for reimbursing the following out-of-pocket travel expenses within Washington State only. We have also placed a recommendation next to the expenses listed below on the method recommended for payment:

  • airport shuttle fares (Pro-Card)
  • mileage (eTravel)
  • bridge and road tolls (Pro-Card)
  • parking (No UW or UW Medical Center Parking) (Pro-Card)
  • bus fares (Metro, Greyhound, etc.) (eTravel)
  • ferry fares (Pro-Card)
  • copy and fax under $50.00 (Pro-Card)
Dollar Limits for Travel Reimbursements

Other than ferry ticket books, no single travel receipt over $200 may be reimbursed through the Petty Cash Window. Please enter an expense report using eTravel.

Receipts for Travel Expenses

Expenses under the limit stated on the Travel website do not require receipts, but must be itemized on a report using eTravel

Requesting Reimbursements for Travel

To be reimbursed through Petty Cash, present receipts and a Petty Cash Voucher. Only a Petty Cash Voucher is required for bridge tolls; ferry fares and ticket books; and parking fees, providing a receipt is presented.

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