Imprest system

An imprest system is a system using loans as control against fraud and theft. The most common imprest system known is the petty cash system.

Petty cash imprest system

The Petty Cash Imprest System works on the basis that you only replenish what you have spent. So if you start the month with $100 in your petty cash float and spend $90 of that cash in the month, an amount of $90 will be then placed in your petty cash float to bring the balance of your petty cash float back to $100..

Why use the imprest system

In this example the maximum amount of petty cash that can be issued (spent) is $100. You can only spend what you have and you are only replenished with what you spend, in this case $90.

In a non imprest system where a fixed amount is issued every month e.g. $100 every time cash is required, there is no incentive to ensure all money issued has been documented because when money is all spent a cheque for a fixed amount is issued. It is much more difficult to reconcile a non imprest system as you never know how much exactly should be in the float.

In an imprest system the amount requested is documented. The documentation being the petty cash dockets and their associated receipts or invoices. So at all times you can check how much should be left in the petty cash float by deducting the amount spent from the opening petty cash float.

How petty cash imprest system works

The imprest system ensures that you must document how the petty cash is spent. In a petty cash system, petty cash dockets are written for each amount issued. So when all of these dockets are totalled at the end of the month and deducted from the opening petty cash float, the calculated value must agree with what is left in the petty cash float. Under the imprest system, only that which is recorded as spent is replenished. Any shortfalls may have to be replenished by the guardian, usually a bookkeeper, of the petty cash float from their own personal resources.

Other imprest systems

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