Maintain a Petty Cash Fund

Learn how to maintain a petty cash fund at Columbia University.

Annual Certification Process 

The Financial Reporting and Operations department in the Office of the Controller manages an annual certification process of all petty cash account balances. The Office of Internal Audit periodically performs spot-check counts. (The Office of the Controller at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) may perform spot-check audits on CUIMC funds.)

An appropriate departmental representative should also perform spot checks of fund balances.

Fund Reconciliation and Security
  • Reconciliation ensures that the sum of the outstanding reimbursements, cash, and receipts on hand is equal to the original amount of the fund. 
  • Petty cash funds must be stored in a secured device, such as a safe or cash box, in a locked cabinet. Only the custodian and the department head should have keys to these devices.
Reconciling a Fund

The custodian must reconcile the petty cash fund regularly and no less frequently than monthly. For departments with multiple petty cash funds, an overall department reconciliation should be performed quarterly.

Safely Storing Funds

It is the petty cash fund custodian’s responsibility to take adequate precautions for the safekeeping of the funds under their control. 

Under no circumstances should petty cash funds be removed from University-approved premises. If security issues exist, please contact the Department of Public Safety or the Office of the Controller via the Service Center for guidance.


For guidance on how to properly maintain a petty cash fund, please refer to the Petty Cash Web-Based Training.

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