Petty cash

Petty cash is a small amount of money kept on hand for minor, everyday expenses that do not require issuing formal checks or processing through accounts payable.
Updated: Jun 21, 2024

3 key takeaways

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  • Petty cash is used for small, incidental expenses.
  • It is managed through a petty cash fund that is replenished periodically.
  • Proper documentation and controls are essential for accurate accounting.

What is petty cash?

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Petty cash is a small reserve of money that businesses or organizations keep on hand to cover minor expenses that arise during daily operations. These expenses might include office supplies, postage, refreshments, or small repairs.

Petty cash allows for quick payment of these incidental expenses without the need to go through the more formal process of issuing checks or using credit cards.

Importance of petty cash

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Petty cash is important for operational efficiency. It enables employees to quickly and easily pay for minor expenses, ensuring that small purchases do not disrupt business operations.

By providing a straightforward method to handle these small expenses, petty cash helps maintain workflow and productivity. It also reduces the administrative burden on the accounting department by minimizing the number of small transactions that need to be processed through the main accounting system.

  • Operational efficiency: Allows quick payment for minor expenses, preventing workflow disruptions.
  • Reduced administrative burden: Minimizes small transactions processed through the main accounting system.
  • Maintained productivity: Ensures small purchases do not disrupt business operations.

Managing a petty cash fund

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Managing a petty cash fund involves several steps to ensure it is used correctly and accounted for accurately. A designated custodian is typically responsible for the fund, overseeing disbursements, and maintaining records.

Each time money is taken from the petty cash fund, a receipt or voucher detailing the amount and purpose of the expense should be provided.

The fund is periodically reviewed and replenished to its original amount, with the total of receipts plus the remaining cash equaling the initial fund balance.

  • Designated custodian: Responsible for overseeing disbursements and maintaining records.
  • Receipts and vouchers: Detailed documentation for each expense.
  • Periodic review and replenishment: Ensures the fund is maintained at its original balance.

Benefits of using petty cash

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Using petty cash offers several benefits. It provides a quick and flexible way to handle small expenses, reducing the need for more cumbersome payment methods.

This can be particularly useful in situations where immediate payment is required. Petty cash also helps keep the main accounting system streamlined by reducing the number of minor transactions processed through it.

Furthermore, it ensures that employees have the means to cover necessary incidental expenses, which can help maintain smooth business operations.

  • Quick and flexible: Ideal for handling immediate and small expenses.
  • Streamlined accounting: Reduces minor transactions in the main accounting system.
  • Smooth operations: Ensures necessary incidental expenses are covered promptly.

Controls and documentation

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Controls and documentation are crucial for managing petty cash, helping prevent misuse, and ensuring accurate accounting. Establishing a clear policy for what constitutes an allowable petty cash expense is essential.

Regular audits and reconciliations help detect any discrepancies early. The custodian should maintain a log of all transactions, including dates, amounts, and purposes, along with corresponding receipts.

These measures help maintain the integrity of the petty cash fund and ensure that all expenditures are legitimate and properly recorded.

  • Clear policy: Defines allowable petty cash expenses.
  • Regular audits: Detect discrepancies early and ensure accuracy.
  • Transaction log: Detailed records of all transactions with corresponding receipts.

Exploring related topics such as cash management, internal controls, and expense management can provide further insights into the role and effective management of petty cash.

These topics will enhance your understanding of how petty cash fits into broader financial management practices within an organization.

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AI Financial Assistant
Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.