University System of New Hampshire

04 - 002 Imprest Checking Accounts

A. SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

This statement outlines procedures for establishing and maintaining a departmental imprest checking account.

1. Purpose of an imprest checking account. An imprest checking account is often used by departments in place of a petty cash fund. An imprest checking account can be used to reduce time, paperwork and administrative expense for minor business expenditures in accordance with all limitations outlined in Procedure 4-001, Petty Cash Funds, Section B1 and B2. In addition, there may be departments which operate under unusual circumstances whereby checks must be drawn on location at night or on weekends; in these cases, an imprest checking account may be deemed appropriate for emergency disbursements in excess of established limitations, with prior written approval of the USNH Controller.
2. Establishing an imprest checking account. Each imprest checking account is the responsibility of primarily one employee called the "Custodian" of the fund. Although there may be several authorized bank signators, there may be only one Custodian per fund. The Custodian is personally responsible for the value of the fund and to ensure that all policies and procedures are adhered to. Requests to establish imprest checking accounts must be approved by the responsible Department Head, the campus Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the USNH Controller, and the USNH Vice Chancellor. All USNH checking accounts must include the USNH Controller among the authorized bank signators. Monthly bank statements for all USNH bank accounts are received directly from the bank by the USNH Controller before the statements are forwarded to the responsible department. Imprest checking accounts require monthly reconciliation (and monthly replenishment, if un-replenished receipts exceed $300). All bank balances must be reconciled to the checkbook balance and to the authorized imprest balance on a monthly basis and submitted to the USNH Controller within 30 days of the bank statement date for review. All funds are subject to periodic surprise audits by USNH internal and external auditors. Checking accounts should be established at an imprest balance generally not to exceed $1,000. Checks should contain limitations on amounts or require 2 signatures in some instances. Imprest checking accounts are established and replenished with a check issued by the USNH Controller to the bank and bank account number at which the account is maintained. The USNH Controller maintains a list of all approved imprest checking accounts.
3. Revocation of an imprest checking account. If it is determined that an imprest checking account is being misused or not properly accounted for, the fund will be closed. The campus CFO, or USNH Controller may close imprest checking accounts at any time without reason.
4. Operating procedures. Detailed USNH imprest checking account operating procedures as published by the USNH Controller follow.

B. DETAILED OPERATING PROCEDURES

1. Purpose and Background. Imprest checking accounts often provide a useful and inexpensive way to make prompt or emergency payments for minor business expenses, similar to a petty cash fund. This may be particularly true in cases where the department is geographically separated from a campus or has unusual expenditure requirements.
2. Establishing an Imprest Checking Account. Requirements are identical to petty cash funds (see Procedure 4-001, Petty Cash Funds, Section B.2) except that checking accounts are generally established at an amount not to exceed $1,000 and require the additional approvals of the USNH Controller and Vice Chancellor.
3. Custodian Responsibilities. Requirements are identical to petty cash funds (see Procedure 4-001, Petty Cash Funds, Section B.3) except as follows. The USNH Controller's Office issues checks to establish and replenish imprest checking accounts made payable to the bank and bank account number at which the account is maintained. Checkbooks must be secured in a locked file cabinet or desk when not in use. When changing Custodians, it will be necessary to resubmit authorized signatory cards, via the USNH Treasurer's Office, to the bank as well as to file Form USNH-F44 with the Controller's Office.
4. Maintaining an Imprest Checking Account. Requirements are identical to petty cash funds (see Procedure 4-001, Petty Cash Funds, Section B.4) except as follows: Petty Cash Direct Pay Invoices are required for each check drawn on an imprest checking account. In addition to balancing the checking account to its authorized imprest amount, Custodians of imprest checking accounts must also reconcile the checkbook to the bank statement on a monthly basis. A copy of the bank reconciliation must be sent to Accounting Services, Controller's Office within 30 days of the end of the month. In order to replenish the checking account to its imprest balance, a Petty Cash Replenishment Request, Form USNH-F46, is used. After receipt and approval of Form USNH-F46, Accounts Payable will generate a check payable to the bank within 5 business days. The replenishing check will be mailed directly from Accounts Payable to the bank at which the checking account is maintained so that administrative time and expense is reduced. Accounts Payable will send a copy of the signed Form USNH-F46 to the Custodian when approved.


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