Petty Cash Float

The Petty Cash Float and Petty Cash are different tools for reimbursements.

Petty Cash is no longer available.

The Petty Cash Float is for research 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 discouraged. It is always best to have your payments processed through the Accounts Payable (AP) department.

When it is not practical, you may consult with research finance to have a petty cash float set up. Please keep in mind, participants who are given $500.00 or more within a given calendar year must be paid through AP. You should not be setting up a petty cash float for these participants as AP must capture all historical payment details for Income Tax reporting.

Noteworthy:  When a petty cash float is issued, the research activity is not yet charged.  Rather, a liability (i.e.: PI owes Unity Health Toronto) is created to set up the petty cash float.  The research activity will be expensed/charged as the petty cash is used. When the Petty Cash Float is to be closed, the liability will be cleared by depositing cash on hand + expensing your activity.   PI is ultimately responsible for petty cash amounts.

Steps to Setup a Petty Cash Float

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

  1. Answer the following questions and send to Manager for Research Finance, (please answer each question as a header with your response directly below):
    1. Please provide an explanation of why you need a petty cash float.
    2. How many participants will you have?
    3. How many visits will each participant have?
    4. How much money will each person receive per visit and in total in a given year?
    5. The start and end date of the study enrolment period.
    6. Total Petty Cash amount you need to get started with, please note that maximum is $3,000 however once funds are used they can be replenished. Please provide a calculation on how you determined this value.
    7. What is the activity you wish to use?
  2. If approved, the study team will complete the “The Petty Cash Float request form”. The Principal Investigator (PI) will need to sign off on this request. The PI will need to be a signing authority to the bank account. Please ask the Manager Research Finance for this form. 
  3. Be sure to reference which project/activity will support this petty cash float.
  4. The Study Team will need to open an external bank account to secure the funds. The payment should be made out to the bank accounts name (ie. Bank Account Name).
  5. EFT is preferred; ensure an accompanied void cheque is included in your submission.

Operating the Petty Cash Float

  1. The Petty Cash Float is only for research 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
  2. If the Sr. RFA approves the submitted application, the Sr. RFA will pass the request to Accounts Payable for processing. If the Sr. RFA rejects the submitted application, the Sr. RFA will reach out to the study team for more information.
  3. Accounts Payable will issue payment the following week. 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.
  4. The Study Team updates the honorarium log when dispersing payments to the study participants. 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.)
  5. 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.

  6. At any given time, ORA/RFA will audit the Petty Cash Float.
  7. 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