Establishing and Maintaining Campus Bank Accounts and Petty Cash Funds


This document describes the Research Foundation (RF) procedures for establishing and maintaining campus bank accounts and petty cash funds. Petty cash refers to all imprest type accounts (including travel), used for general purposes and may or may not have separate bank accounts established. Campus bank accounts are accounts established to support a sponsored program and address specific needs associated with a particular project. Examples include paying human subjects, conducting a program in a foreign country, or the need to disburse cash quickly.

Why Accounts are Established

Campus bank accounts or petty cash accounts are used to purchase goods and services when the standard payment process doesn't meet a payment need. They may be used by operation locations

Authority to Approve the Establishment of a Bank Account

The Treasurer of the Research Foundation has the authority to delegate the approval of bank accounts. The list of delegated individuals is maintained by the Finance Office with a yearly review for appropriateness. All requests for new campus bank accounts or changes to an existing bank account must be routed through the Finance Office for approval.

How to Establish a Bank Account

With Banks other than Key Bank

The operations manager or his/her delegate (a letter must be received from the OM indicating the delegate's name at the same time as the request for the account) must submit the following to the Finance Office to establish a bank account:

With Key Bank

The following process outlines the steps for establishing an account with Key Bank:


International Bank Accounts

The requirements of banking institutions in foreign countries are often different than those operating in the U.S. Because of this as well as other logistical issues it may be necessary to alter the normal RF approval process. Prior to selection, a thorough review of the export controls information on the Research Foundation website should be completed to ensure compliance.

Several issues need to be considered when it is required that a checking account be established in a foreign country.

Bank Account Approval Process/Authorization

Upon receipt of the request to establish an account, it will be reviewed to determine if all required information has been included and that the signature cards and bank-issued depository account resolution form are attached. Requesters should anticipate their needs in advance with respect to the approval process especially when an account will be established in a foreign country. Account requests will be reviewed and approved within 5 days of receipt of complete information. Requesters will be provided a written approval and the signed paperwork will be returned to the requester. Subsequently, the operating location may proceed to establish the account with the banking institution. Once the account has been established at the bank, the operating location should provide the account number to the Finance Office within 5 days.

Bank Fees and Interest Accruals

All bank fees related to the account are the responsibility of the operating location. Bank fees may be paid from the sponsored program project, task, award (PTA) if allowed by the sponsor.

Tax Exempt Status

Purchases of goods and services made with campus bank account and petty cash funds are exempt from New York State sales tax. The Research Foundation reimburses sales tax when the supplier refuses to honor the Research Foundation tax exemption form.

How to Replenish the Account

The account or petty cash fund should be replenished periodically to maintain its prescribed level. Authorized individuals should replenish the account for both out-of-pocket reimbursements and advance requests by producing a check from the appropriate account(s) made payable to the RF and deposit the check into the campus bank account. When it is necessary to wire funds to the account, the wire transfer request should be submitted to the Finance Office Accounts Payable area at least one day in advance of the need for the transfer.

How to Change the Funding Level

To change the bank account fund level, a written request must be submitted to the Finance Office with a Campus Bank Account Request/Change Form for approval.

Account Reconciliation

On a monthly basis, the operations manager or delegate must ensure that the operating location’s bank account statement is reconciled. A recommended bank reconciliation format is included in EPSS under General Accounting, Forms, Bank Reconciliation Form.

Reconciliation of the bank account must be performed by project personnel other than the project director (or whoever deposits funds and authorizes cash disbursements.)

On an annual basis, Central Office will request the operating location verify that bank account reconciliations have been performed and are on file. This information is used for the annual Research Foundation account.

Controls Over Cash and Checks

The operating location office responsible for purchasing and payments must maintain proper controls over cash and checks, or cards including security controls (such as maintaining them in a locked safe) and management controls (such as timely reconciliation of account balances).

To ensure effective controls over the use of campus bank accounts and petty cash funds, specific duties for funds management should be distributed among various personnel and their roles should be segregated and specifically documented. In order to properly segregate duties, cash and check funding, disbursement and account reconciliation process should be assigned to different personnel. The operations manager is ultimately responsible for campus bank accounts and petty cash funds management.

The operations manager or delegate in charge of the reconciliation process must investigate and resolve checks outstanding more than 120 days. Operating locations are responsible for advancing funds to their accounts and ensuring that sponsor requirements are complied with and that internal controls are maintained.

Operating locations are responsible for notifying the RF Finance Office when signature authority needs to be changed on an existing bank account. New signature cards should be sent to the Finance Office so that an individual approved by the Treasurer may also sign the cards. An approved listing is on file in the Finance Office.

Closing an Account

When an account is no longer needed or when a project has been terminated, the bank account should be promptly closed by the operating location after all outstanding checks have been accounted for. The account should not be used for another purpose other than the one approved for the original request. Any remaining checks or cards associated with the account should be destroyed. Upon closure of the account, submit a Campus Bank Account Request/Change Form to Central Office to notify of account closure. A copy of the final bank statement should be sent with the form.

Responsibilities - Overview

Operating Locations

RF operations managers are responsible for:

Central Office

The Finance Office is responsible for:



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