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What Is a Petty Cash Receipt?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 16, 2024
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Any receipt for incidental expenses that an employee uses to get reimbursement may be considered a petty cash receipt. Most offices and departments have what is known as a petty cash fund built into their budgets. The circumstances under which employees can use the money in a petty cash fund vary, but most of the time the fund covers minor cash expenses, such as parking for an off-site meeting, office supplies, or postage. Employees who incur these expenses must save their receipts, fill out a petty cash voucher or slip, and submit both together to the budget officer for reimbursement.

Petty cash funds are nearly ubiquitous in business. Although a departmental budget will probably cover most major expenses, it can be nearly impossible to predict all of the minor expenses that will be incurred in the ordinary course of doing things. Most employees will, at some point or another, pay out of pocket for some work-related expense. When this happens, a petty cash receipt can ensure prompt repayment.

Each company structures its petty cash system a bit differently. Some set lists of approved petty cash expenses, while others leave discretion to individual managers. In almost all cases, though, an employee must present a receipt for reimbursement. The petty cash receipt must usually show both an itemized description of all purchases as well as the total amount paid, allowing budget officers to confirm that (a) the expense is qualifying and (b) the reimbursement amount is the same as the actual amount spent. A printable petty cash receipt, as might be issued for an online purchase, is usually acceptable, as is a photocopy of an original receipt.

In large companies, employees seeking reimbursement must usually submit not only a petty cash receipt, but also a petty cash reimbursement voucher. The voucher must list the employee’s name, his or her department, the total amount to be distributed, and a funding code. Codes typically correlate to the type of expense — parking, for instance, or meals. In some settings, these vouchers are regarded internally as their own type of petty cash receipts. They are usually available online from a budget office’s website or can be printed from a department's intranet.

Most of the time, the budget officer or treasurer will record all petty cash transactions in an office’s petty cash book. This book is essentially a ledger to keep track of the petty cash fund’s balance. Any petty cash receipt or voucher that is submitted is usually stored with the ledger in case of audit.

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