Petty Cash Float

*The Petty Cash Float and Petty Cash are different tools for reimbursements. Petty Cash is for internal SMH staff to recover small purchases (Under $100.00) approved by your Manager. The Petty Cash Float is for study participant honorariums that require payments immediately upon completing their involvement with the study.


How do I initiate a petty cash float?

The practice of using a petty cash float is usually discouraged. It is always best to have your payments processed through the Accounts Payable department. When it is not possible you may want to consult with the research finance team to have a petty cash float set up. Please keep in mind, participants who will be given over $500.00 within a given year must be paid through the Accounts Payable department. You should not be setting up a petty cash float for these participants as AP has to issue payments directly to capture all historical payment information to generate a T4 report.

Noteworthy:  when petty cash is issued, the research activity is not yet charged/expensed.  Rather, a liability account (i.e.: PI owes Hospital/Finance) is created to set up the petty cash.  The research activity will be expensed/charged as the petty cash is used.   PI is ultimately responsible for petty cash amounts.


Steps to Setup a Petty Cash Float

Petty Cash Floats can be started for participant/patient honorariums. To have a petty cash float started for your study, the following steps MUST be followed:

  1. The Study Team would complete the “The Petty Cash Cheque Request Form” to set up the Petty Cash Float. The Study Team would complete a payment requisition form for the amount needed to start up the Petty Cash Float. The payment should be made out to the bank accounts name (ie. Principal Investigator or Bank Account Name). The Principal Investigator (PI) will need to sign off on this request.  A letter from the Research Finance Manager approving this arrangement is required. You can contact Gilbert Lam ( for approval. The Payment Requisition will provide justification for the petty cash float, and a calculation to validate the amount of the float. The Study Team will need to open an external bank account to secure the funds. The PI will need to be a signing authority to the bank account. The Study Team can include other relevant signing authorities.  (eg: average 25 patients per week x $10 honorarium = $250/week ($500 float to cover 2 weeks). Be sure to reference which project/activity will support this petty cash float.)EFT is preferred; ensure an accompanied void cheque is included in your submission.
  2. The Petty Cash Float is only for Study Participants to receive honorariums for the study. The Petty Cash Float will not cover study-operating expenses and other transactions that deviate from the intended purpose of the Petty Cash Float, i.e.;
    1. Travel reimbursements
    2. Gifts
    3. Food
    4. Supplies
    5. Conference Fees
  3. If the RFA approves the submitted application, the RFA will pass the request to Accounts Payable for processing. If the RFA rejects the submitted application, the RFA will reach out to the study team for more information.
  4. Accounts Payable will issue payment the following week of the requested funds. If a cheque is preferred, the issued cheque would be sent to the payee indicated on the requisition form.Note:  Accounts Payable issues payments to vendors every Friday and takes at least five business days to process requests. For example requests submitted by Friday Week 1, payments will be issued latest Friday Week 3.
  5. When the study team member receives the cheque, he/she secures the funds in the payee’s bank account.
  6. The Study Team updates the honorarium log when dispersing payments to the study participants. The study team member records details such as; date, participant name, dollar value, and participant signature. A log template can be found above.
    • (If the study participant prefers not to include their legal name, the study participant can use a Study ID. The Study Team must maintain a document to reconcile the participant ID and legal name.)
  7. As funds are used, the Study Team can replenish the petty cash float by submitting:
    1. A payment requisition
    2. Payment log
    3. Bank Statement

    The Payment Log and Bank Statement should explain the balance of cash on hand and the cash disbursed. The ORA/RFA will review/inquire/submit the required documents to Accounts Payable.

  8. At any given time, ORA/RFA will audit the Petty Cash Float.
  9. When the study team no longer needs the Petty Cash Float, the Study Team must alert the ORA/RFA. If the study team has cash on hand, the study team can deposit the funds to the SMH cash office. The study team can mention the study/project activity and the following account 1-1- 111110-1010. To close the Petty Cash Float, the following documents need to be provided to the ORA/RFA:
    1. Deposit Slip from Cash Office (if applicable)
    2. Payment Log
    3. Bank Statement
    4. Start Up/Close our Form