Mastering Petty Cash Management: A Key to SME Success


Small businesses often struggle with handling daily expenses efficiently, especially when it comes to dealing with multiple reimbursement requests. Petty cash management offers a structured solution. In this system, a petty cashier is appointed to oversee a fixed fund and maintain detailed records. This approach ensures quick access to cash, accurate tracking of expenses, and better overall financial management.

Practical steps to effectively manage petty cash using the imprest system:

Appoint a Petty Cash Administrator:

To begin, choose a trustworthy employee to oversee petty cash. This person will be in charge of cash disbursements, transaction recording, and replenishment requests. Delegate petty cash management to an accounts officer if possible.

Determine the Petty Cash Float:

Determine the appropriate imprest based on your monthly expenses. Make certain that it adequately covers typical costs while not being excessive. For example, if monthly petty expenses total GHS 500, designate GHS 500 for the petty cashier.

Maintain a Petty Cash Register:

In a ledger or spreadsheet, keep a detailed log of all petty cash transactions, or use accounting software. For each entry, record the date, purpose of spending, amount, and the recipient’s signature.

Set Spending Limits:

Establish clear spending limits for various expense categories such as office supplies, meals, and transportation. Determine your maximum disbursement amount. Consider capping individual petty cash transactions at, for example, 10% of the monthly cash float.

Receipts and documentation:

Encourage employees to submit receipts and invoices for all petty cash expenses. The petty cashier should be in charge of gathering and storing these documents using the cash register or cloud-based software such as Built. This practice enhances transparency and simplifies expense tracking.

Regular Replenishments:

Establish a routine for replenishing the petty cash fund to its initial balance, typically on a monthly or as-needed basis. Spending within the monthly budget aids in the control of expenses and the management of cash flow.

Reconciliation and auditing:

Reconcile the petty cash log with receipts and actual cash on hand on a regular basis. Conduct internal audits to ensure that funds are being used properly. Weekly or biweekly audits aid in accountability.

Bonus Tip:

To improve financial security and transparency, deposit all daily cash sales rather than spending them immediately. Use the petty cash float to cover daily expenses. This practice reduces the risk of fund mismanagement and promotes clear transaction records, ultimately strengthening financial management. For more helpful tips like this consider our article on launching a successful SME. 

Benefits for SMEs

The imprest system simplifies small business petty cash management while encouraging transparency and accountability. It ensures controlled spending through set limits and mandatory receipts by appointing a dedicated administrator and enforcing meticulous record-keeping. These practices provide financial clarity, allowing for better cash flow understanding and planning. Furthermore, the system improves operational efficiency by providing quick access to petty cash for minor expenses, resulting in more manageable and efficient daily tasks.


Petty cash management is critical for small businesses seeking to improve financial transparency, accountability, and efficiency. Businesses can streamline their daily expense management by following the practical steps outlined here. The imprest system gives small businesses the ability to take control by appointing a petty cashier to oversee a fixed fund and keep accurate records. This ensures quick cash access, accurate expenditure tracking, and improved overall financial management for petty cash. A set amount of cash covers minor expenses under this system, which is managed by the petty cash custodian, who records expenses and is reimbursed when the fund runs out. These practices provide financial clarity, allowing for better cash flow understanding and financial planning. Finally, these contribute to small business growth and stability, allowing them to thrive in a competitive market.

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