Cash Handling Policy Procedure
All College employees have a fiduciary responsibility to handle cash properly. The establishment of strong internal controls for cash collections is necessary to prevent mishandling of funds and to safeguard against loss. Strong internal controls are also designed to protect employees from inappropriate charges of mishandling funds by defining his/her responsibilities in the cash handling process.
These policies and procedures establish general guidelines and provide direction for College units in the collection, custody, and reporting of monies.
The term “monies (also referred to as cash or cash receipts)” refers to money in any form including currency (coins and bills), check, wire transfer, credit card charge, ACH (direct deposit), other electronic transfers, etc.
Checks: There are several different categories of checks which should all be handled as checks.
- Cashier’s Check: A check purchased at a bank for any amount; the bank completes all information on the face of the check with a bank officer signing as the maker.
- Certified Check: A personal check that is written by the account holder and then stamped and signed by a bank officer on the front of the check.
- Money Order: An item purchased at a bank, post office, or other business establishment for any amount up to $1,000.00. The bank completes only the amount information.
- Traveler’s Check: A special check supplied by banks or other companies for the use of travelers; these checks already bear the purchaser’s signature and must be countersigned and dated in the cashier’s presence.
- Personal Check: A written order payable on demand, drawn on a bank by a depositor; a personal check is written against an individual’s checking account as opposed to a cashier’s check, certified check, money order, or traveler’s check, all of which are written against bank funds.
- Starter Check: A non-personalized encoded check that a person receives from a bank when they establish a checking account. These are for the person’s use prior to receiving encoded checks from the bank. However, they should only be accepted if the bank has encoded the routing number and account number on the bottom of the check.
Advices: notification regarding wire transfers, ACH transfers, and bank corrections.
Automated Clearing House (ACH): an ACH transfer is an electronic item that is processed through the Automatic Clearing House established as a clearing and settlement facility for financial institutions. ACH transfers take 2 to 4 business days to reach their destination and can be recalled or returned for a variety of reasons.
Cash: currency; coins and bills. Also, used for all cash equivalents such as checks. Often used in the plural: cash receipts or monies.
Cash receipts: money in any form: currency (coins and bills), check, wire transfer, credit card charge, ACH (direct deposit), other electronic funds transfers, etc.
Custodian: the person that holds assets of the College, in this case cash, for safekeeping to minimize the risk of theft or loss. This person is responsible for the physical safekeeping of the cash.
Electronic funds transfer (EFT): generic term for any movement of funds by non-paper means; can be an Automated Clearing House (ACH) or a wire transfer.
Employee: Any individual (full-time, part-time, student aid, work study, volunteers) working for the College.
Endorse/endorsement: the act of writing or stamping, usually upon the back, but sometimes on the face, of a check or other negotiable instrument, by which the funds or property therein are assigned and transferred.
Fiduciary: a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust. In this context a fiduciary is charged with caring for the assets of the College in the form of the cash for which they are responsible.
Log: a place to record the receipt of monies; must include date received, received from, received by, amount received, date to cashier, and a receipt number (if applicable).
Monies: money in any form: currency (coins and bills), check, wire transfer, credit card charge, ACH (direct deposit), other electronic funds transfers, etc.
Receipt: a written acknowledgment that a sum of money or specified article has been received; the paper that provides the audit trail of the monies.
Wire transfer: funds sent through the Federal Reserve Wire Network from one financial institution to another.
- Cash is not to be accepted by any employee for any purpose unless that employee has been authorized to handle cash for the purpose specified. The custodian of every cash fund is responsible for the integrity of the cash fund. All employees authorized to handle cash shall sign a Departmental Cash Handling Form acknowledging the College’s cash policy and procedures.
- All College units and staff that handles cash are required to undergo annual certification and training provided by the Controller’s Office.
- The timely deposit of monies received provides for improved control of funds which reduces the risk of loss due to errors, carelessness, or theft. All incoming monies should be acknowledged by receipt within the unit when accepted or received by mail, and brought to the Office of Student Accounts for processing using a Deposit Request Form. The Deposit Request Form summarizes the monies to be deposited and indicates where the monies should be deposited. This form can be obtained from the Controller’s office.
- All units and activities that handle monies must deposit cash receipts from any source with the Office of Student Accounts at least once a week. More frequent deposits are noted as follows:
- Units and activities which receive $200.00 or more a day in currency or checks must deposit those funds by the end of the business day.
- Credit card deposits must be made daily regardless of the amount. A Settlement Report must accompany a completed Deposit Request Form. The Settlement Report (goes by various names depending on the credit card reader or machine used for processing), is a summary of transactions for a specific date or date range, and lists the total number of transactions and the total dollar amount.
- Cash is to be deposited promptly into the appropriate College account. Retention of cash received from outside sources for use as petty cash or change making purposes is prohibited.
- Under no circumstances should an individual keep College cash with their own personal funds, deposit College funds in a personal bank account or take College funds to another location for safekeeping.
- All bank accounts for the College must be set up by the Controller’s Office. No employee, unit, or organization may establish a College bank account or deposit College funds into an unauthorized bank account.
- The unit remains responsible for all funds to be deposited until its cash receipts are counted and verified by the Office of Student Accounts. The cash should be counted and verified by the Office of Student Accounts while the unit making the deposit is present. Once the deposit is verified, it is signed off by the Office of Student Accounts and a copy of the signed Deposit Request Form is given to the department for their records. If a discrepancy is found when the cash receipts are counted, the Office of Student Accounts and the department must resolve the discrepancy at that time and update documents accordingly. The deposit receipt should be reconciled to the departmental documentation after the deposit is made. Proof of reconciliations must be maintained by the units. The retention policy is seven years.
- After deposits are received and verified by the Office of Student Accounts, the signed deposit request form along with all back up documentation is given to the Controller’s Office. The Controller prepares a cash receipt form to be entered into the Banner Finance system by the end of the week, where a record of the deposit can be viewed and may be printed by the originating department.
- It is the responsibility of the fund custodian to ensure that the cash received for deposit into the cash account must balance with the pre-numbered receipts, log, pre-numbered tickets, or other documentation.
- Individual shortages and overages of $20 or more must be reported to the Office of Student Accounts immediately. Initial notification must be followed up with a written Incident Report Form.
Receiving and Recording of Receipts
- All checks should be made payable to “Ramapo College of New Jersey.” Checks payable to the Ramapo College Foundation cannot be deposited in a Ramapo College of New Jersey account and vice versa.
- Checks of all types received in-person or through the mail, should be restrictively endorsed immediately. All checks made payable to Ramapo College of New Jersey should be endorsed on the back “Ramapo College of New Jersey–For Deposit Only.”
- Documents enclosed with mail payments are to be date stamped by the employee opening the mail. The checks should be entered into a ticket ordering system if available or a listing of the checks should be prepared. The total of the checks should be used for reconciliation purposes.
- Every check or money order must be reviewed for completeness as follows:
- Verify that the account holder’s name, address, and Student R Number (if applicable) is included on the check.
- Verify that the check has a bank name listed, and that the routing number, customer’s bank account number, and check number are encoded on the bottom edge of the check.
- Note the date. DO NOT accept a postdated check (a check with a date in the future), or agree to hold the check for future deposit.
- Verify that the amount written in numbers matches the amount written in words. If different, make special note on the cash receipt so that the Office of Student Accounts can handle appropriately. In general, banks will honor the written amount over the numerical amount.
- All units and activities of the College must record all cash (U.S. currency and coin, US checks and credit cards) at the time the funds are received. Auxiliary enterprises (e.g. parking, Athletics, Berrie Center) and other units which receive cash as part of their normal day-to-day operations must establish an auditable record such as a cash register tape, pre-numbered receipts, or ticket reconciliation. Educational, administrative, and other units which do not receive cash daily may satisfy this requirement through utilization of a departmental log book.
- All College employees have an obligation to report any suspected irregularity in the handling of cash to the Controller’s Office. Questions concerning proper internal accounting controls can be directed to the Controller’s Office.
Safeguarding of Funds
- No currency should be transmitted through Interdepartmental Mail. All deposits containing currency or coin should be concealed and hand carried to the Office of Student Accounts accompanied by Public Safety, or sent by Public Safety in locked bags.
- Monies should never be unattended. This applies to cash registers, desk tops, and cash drawers. If an employee leaves his or her work station for any reason, regardless of how briefly, cash must be appropriately secured in a locked place. Unauthorized persons should not be allowed in areas where cash is handled.
- Doors should be locked at all times in areas where cash is handled.
- Large sums of cash should be counted and handled out of sight of the general public. Individuals should keep working cash funds to a minimum at all times.
- Excess funds should be in a locked device, either a safe or locked container, or deposited in the Office of Student Accounts.
Any department having a special event should notify the Controller’s Office and the Public Safety Department to ensure the controls, safekeeping, and safety surrounding cash and those handling cash. The Controller’s Office will provide deposit bags to the units hosting the events. Public Safety will provide an escort service for the individuals handling cash during the special event. Cash/coins should remain in the locked box and never leave the drawer of the fiduciary except for the special event.
Various programs and services on campus need to provide customers with change during the course of operations. Therefore, units will be permitted to establish change funds on a case-by-case basis as approved by the Controller’s Office.
- A completed Petty Cash or Change Fund Custodian Form and an Accounts Payable Voucher Form must be submitted to the Controller’s Office no later than one week prior to the start date of the fund.
- The persons who will serve as fiduciary and custodian must be designated and sign-off on the form in advance of the funds being distributed.
- The outlined physical safeguards must be in place prior to the check being released.
- Once steps 1-3 have been completed and approved, an Accounts Payable Direct Payment Voucher will be processed and a check made payable to the person signing as the fiduciary of the fund.
- The fund should be balanced each month using the Reconciliation Form provided by Business Services, the Reconciliation Form along with cash and coins should be provided to the Controller’s Office every 6 months for a verification audit.
- The funds should never be used as a petty cash fund or for making purchases.
- The fiduciary takes sole responsibility for the account and any discrepancies.
- Every month, a confirmation of change funds will take place by the custodian giving the Controller a reconciliation form to sign off. At least every 6 months, the Controller or a designee will confirm the cash and coins with receipts, if applicable.
The total of currency and the receipts should at all times equal the full amount of the fund. If there is a shortage in the fund for any reason, the shortage must be immediately reported, in writing, by the Custodian to the Controller. In addition, the funds are subject to unannounced audits by the Office of Business Services, the Internal Audit Department, state and external auditors.
Transfer of Change Fund Responsibility
If a transfer of responsibility is warranted, the Unit Head and Controller will determine who will be the new unit’s change fund fiduciary. The funds are to be deposited in the GL system 10001-1002 by the old fiduciary and reconciled using the reconciliation form. A new Petty Cash or Change Fund Custodian Form and Accounts Payable Voucher Form should be filled out by the new fiduciary and signed off by the Controller to establish the new change fund.
Petty Cash Fund
The petty cash fund custodian is a person designated by the Controller. This person should follow the Change Fund procedure with regards to establishing, reconciling and replenishing the petty cash fund. This person will assist the Controller with managing the change funds throughout the College.
A petty cash fund is to be used to pay relatively small expenses that are appropriate, necessary and reasonable to conduct College business, such as:
- Freight and delivery charges;
- Office supplies;
- Research and lab supplies;
- Transportation to and from unexpected meetings and conferences;
- Similar miscellaneous items; or
- Incidental meeting expenses; incidental meals.
The Petty Cash fund should not be used for:
- The purchase of postage stamps for resale;
- Personal loans or other personal purposes (i.e., no check cashing);
- Items of $25 or more which can be anticipated and requisitioned in accordance with the establishment of a checking account;
- Any travel expenses related to overnight travel (other than toll charges, mileage and parking); or
- Paying students or departmental workers.
College staff seeking reimbursement from the Petty Cash Fund should submit a Request for Petty Cash Reimbursement form with original receipts supporting the legitimacy and College purpose of the expenditure to: Office of Business Services.
Departmental Cash Handling Form
Deposit Request Form (Obtained from Controller’s office)
Accounts Payable Voucher Form
Petty Cash or Change Fund Custodian Form (Obtained from Controller’s office)
Employee Confidentiality Agreement (Obtained from Controller’s office)
Incident Report Form (Obtained from Controller’s office)
Request for Petty Cash Reimbursement