How do you get petty cash for an experiment?

This isn’t necessarily specific to brain imaging research, but how does someone go about getting petty cash?

To open a petty cash fund, you’ll need to:

  1. Download the Request for Petty Cash Fund form available online as an Excel spreadsheet, and fill out all the fields up to (but not including) “Authorizer’s name”. Everything below that is uneditable, so you’ll need to either print it or convert it to a PDF.

    • Note: The sheet’s formatting causes things to get cut off if you try to save or print it normally. The workaround is to go to File > Print, check the “Scale to fit” box, and scale it to 1 page wide by 2 pages tall. Then you can either print it or select “Save as PDF” from the dropdown menu in the bottom left corner.
  2. Sign and date the “Custodian’s Signature/Date” box on the first page and initial each of the “Initials” fields on the second page.

    • Note: The “Custodian” for a petty cash fund must be a regular, full-time employee. Graduate students, undergraduates, and visiting scholars can’t serve as the Custodian.
  3. Bring the form to Julia in the front office. She’ll fill in the “Authorizer’s name” (+Title, Org/Dept, Phone No.) and “Authorizer’s Signature/Date” boxes.

  4. Bring the form to the Cashier’s office on the first floor of McNutt Hall. The person there will sign the “Controller’s Office Approval” box and give you the cash in an envelope. Ask them for two photocopies of the signed form (they’ll keep the original).

  5. Bring one copy to Julia, and keep the other for yourself.


Great instructions Paxton. I would just add, if your studies involve payments of more than $20 per participant, another payment method is likely more appropriate. The full policy for research participant payments is here: Towards the bottom of that page are some alternative methods of payment.


Thanks, Julia and Paxton! One other quick note: for studies that are funded by grants, please check in with Debbie Edwards before initiating a petty cash request. Depending on the grant, there may be a preference, or possibly a requirement to issue participants a check rather than a cash payment.