U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service  262 FW 2, Administration of Imprest Funds

FWM#:         155 (new)
Date:             July 19, 1994
Series:           Finance
Part 262:       Imprest Funds
Originating Office:  Division of Finance  

2.1 Authorized Amounts.

A. The amount of each imprest fund established shall be recorded and maintained in the Service's accounting records and in accordance with the principles set forth in 7 GAO 22.5, Accounting for Imprest Funds. Imprest fund activities are to be conducted as prescribed in the Cashiers Manual and the Treasury Financial Manual (TFM). Imprest funds should be limited to the smallest amount commensurate with the authorized purpose of the fund. The amount of cash held shall not be in excess of the amount prescribed in 1 TFM 4-3035.

B. To establish or increase an existing imprest fund over $2,500 a request must be submitted in writing along with an OF-211 to the Chief, Division of Finance for approval. Requests for increases to imprest funds will contain information and data as to the actual experience of the fund for the 6 months immediately preceding the request and furnish the circumstances warranting the increase.

2.2 Safeguarding of Funds.

A. The Service shall furnish its cashiers (including subcashiers and alternates) with adequate safeguarding facilities. Such safeguarding facilities shall be provided to cashiers upon assumption of their duties and prior to receipt of any cash advance. Should a cashier receive a cash advance before adequate safeguarding facilities are provided, the cashier should immediately endorse the check, pay to the order of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and send the check attached to a Collection Transmittal (form 3-2061) to the Finance Center for deposit. If a cash advance is received by an alternate or subcashier prior to being provided adequate safeguarding facilities, the alternate or subcashier shall immediately return the cash advance to the principal cashier who advanced the funds.

B. Safekeeping facilities should be commensurate with the amount of the cash advance. For example, when the cash advance is $2,000 or more, a separate suitable safe or vault under the exclusive control of the cashier will be considered a satisfactory safekeeping facility. When the cash advance is less than $2,000, a separate locked cash box maintained in a cabinet with a bar and combination lock, under the exclusive control of the cashier, will be considered a minimum satisfactory safekeeping facility. File cabinets with key locks are not considered adequate safekeeping facilities. Under no circumstances shall a desk be utilized as a safekeeping facility for imprest fund cash.

C. Cashiers, subcashiers, and alternates are personally liable for all funds in their possession and shall insure that such funds are at all times protected against theft or loss, and at no time left unattended when not secured. The safe combination shall be placed in a sealed envelope, signed and dated for retention by the administrative or security officer at the station, and placed in a secure location for use only in the event of an emergency. The safe combination shall be changed: annually, whenever there is a change in cashiers, subcashiers, or alternates, when it is necessary to access the imprest fund in the unforeseen absence of the cashier, or when the combination has been compromised.

D. For the purpose of providing uninterrupted disbursing service in the event of a cashier absence, the procedures set forth in Section 6 of the Cashiers Manual shall be followed.

E. When a cashier provides an advance to an employee to make a purchase, such transaction will normally be accomplished within 24 hours; at a maximum no longer than 5 days from the date of advance. An employee who receives an advance for purposes of making an authorized purchase will be required to sign the interim receipt stub of the SF-1165, Receipt for Cash-Subvoucher. If there is a need for the advance to be outstanding for more than 5 days, the receipt will be so noted indicating the reason and expected date of completion of the transaction. However, under no circumstances shall funds be advanced for such purposes for more than 30 days. The employee receiving the advance is responsible for safeguarding the funds advanced against theft or loss.

2.3 Depository Accounts. In some cases, a cashier may experience refusal by financial institutions to cash replenishment checks because the Service does not have a business account with the institution. In such cases, the cashier should request that the Regional Finance Officer establish a depository account which can be used only for deposits and withdrawals, no check writing. The Finance Officer will work with the Federally insured financial institution to set up a corporate account for the Service. Refer to Treasury Financial Manual 4-3040.60 for additional guidance.

2.4 Payments.

A. General. Imprest funds are available for cash payments not in excess of $500 for any one transaction. Emergency, one-time exceptions for a single transaction that exceed the $500 limit or requests for permanent waiver for a category of payments, e.g., utilities, should be submitted in writing through the Regional Finance Office for approval by the Chief, Division of Finance.

B. Authorized Expenditures. In accordance with the related requirements, cash expenditures may be made for the following purposes:

(1) Repair of equipment, small purchases of equipment and/or supplies.

(2) Postage stamps, parcel post, C.O.D. charges, postal charges, local drayage, transportation tokens or passes (including cash fares), taxi fares, and public utility bills where location of the activity is situated as to make cash payment more efficient.

(3) Travel advances covered by a SF-1038, Advance of Funds Application and Account, signed by the traveler and the official authorized to approve travel advances. The advance will be charged to an appropriation after payment from the imprest fund. Title 7, Section 21.6 of the GAO Policy and Procedures Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies should be consulted in regard to GAO regulations on travel advances and travel expenses.

(4) Reimbursement of travel expenses for mileage and miscellaneous expenses documented on an SF-1164, Claim for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business, when travel is performed in the local area and no per diem is incurred.

(5) Payments from imprest funds may be made either in advance or after completion of delivery for freight transportation charges not exceeding $100 on domestic freight shipments moved on commercial bills of lading. This procedure is optional and applicable only upon mutual agreement between the Service and the carrier involved.

C. Partial and Emergency Imprest Fund Salary Payments. Emergency imprest fund salary payments may be made to an employee not paid on the scheduled payday due to administrative error or to a delay in processing. When such cases arise, the Regional Payroll Office must be notified so they can review the specific case. After their review and written approval the cashier can then pay the employee. Payments of this type have to be vouchered separately, and submitted immediately to the Finance Center with a copy to the Payroll Office.

D. Payment Restrictions. Imprest funds may not be used to make cash payments for: personal services unless specifically authorized; international shipments; household goods van shipments; or salary/benefit payments (except if authorized by the Regional Finance Officer).

E. Waivers. Cashiers having a need to make cash payments not authorized in the above section should submit requests for exceptions with the appropriate justification to the Regional Finance Office.

2.5 Emergency Exceptions.

A. The foregoing does not alter the authority of designated cashiers to disburse funds for the payment of personal services in connection with emergencies, such as fire fighting and floods, and the payment of salaries and wages of transient workers. Special arrangements must be made with the Chief, Division of Finance to designate individuals for those bureaus which have requirements for cashiers to serve in times of emergencies, such as fire fighting and flood suppression and control. Section 8 of the Cashiers Manual shall be followed in making these arrangements.

B. General Services Administration regulations prescribe certain mandatory sources of supply. Any necessary item may be procured under the imprest cash system in emergencies and within the monetary restrictions, regardless of the mandatory sources of supply.

2.6 Verification of Cash Balances.

A. Requirement. Unannounced verifications of cash balances will be performed no less than once each year. This verification will be performed by two responsible employees appointed by the head of the organization where the imprest fund is located, whenever possible. Under no circumstances shall a cashier, employees under the cashier's supervision, or the certifying officer perform the verification of cash balances. The employees performing the verifications will count the cash on hand, add the amounts for uncashed replenishment checks, interim receipts for cash and unpaid subvouchers (reimbursement vouchers submitted, but not as yet processed by the Department of the Treasury). The sum derived must equal the amount of the cash advance.

B. Verification Form. The verification form (FS:FO-1159) will be signed by both employees and reviewed by the supervisor for necessary action, should a shortage or overage be reported.

The report will be retained on file by the supervisor for three years, plus the current year for review by the Office of Inspector General during a Departmental audit of the organization. In addition, a copy will be submitted to the applicable Regional Finance Office for retention and appropriate action.

2.7 Administrative Reviews.

A. Requirement. Unannounced administrative reviews of imprest funds that exceed $5,000 will be performed at least semiannually and at least annually for those $5,000 and under. These reviews shall be performed by two responsible employees, whenever possible, designated by the applicable Regional Office. Employees cited in 1.10A above shall not perform the administrative review. The procedures to be used in performing the administrative review are as follows:

(1) Examine the file of daily reconciliations performed by the cashier.

(2) Verify the cash balance of the imprest fund in accordance 1.10A above.

(3) Examine the interim receipts for cash and subvouchers for compliance with Governmental procurement and purchasing requirements.

(4) On a random basis, request verification from vendors of payments not supported by invoices.

(5) Review the level of cash advance as to whether it is commensurate with the needs of the fund, and that the applicable turnover rate as prescribed in Section 262 FW 1.9A is being maintained.

(6) Review the accounting records and internal controls for conformance to prescribed procedures.

(7) Inspect the location of the imprest fund's physical facility to determine its adequacy for safeguarding the fund in conformance with the standards prescribed in Section 1.9B.

(8) Verify that cashiers, subcashiers, and alternates have been properly designated in accordance with Section 2 of the Cashiers Manual.

(9) Determine that accountability reports (SF-1129) have been properly prepared and submitted to the Service Finance Center for inclusion in the annual inventory report and the report to Treasury.

(10) Verify that cashiers, subcashiers, and alternates do not perform other duties which conflict with their cashier responsibilities. FWS Form 3-2080, Imprest Fund Administrative Review (Illustration 2), is to be used for this purpose. The supervisor or project leader under whom the subject imprest fund is established will prepare a response to the review addressing any deficiencies not rectified during the review. This response must address all recommendations set forth in the review and state the corrective actions to be taken. The original copy of the review and the response will be retained in the office files for examination by the Office of Inspector General during periodic audits. The duplicate copy of the review and response will be submitted to the Regional Finance Office for follow-up action and internal control purposes.

B. Action on Administrative Reviews. The Regional Finance Office will coordinate all actions taken on administrative reviews. This will include a record of the receipt, results of the analysis, deficiencies requiring corrective action, and ensuring that corrective actions are taken.

C. Certification on Accomplishment of Administrative Reviews. The Regional Finance Officer and the Chief, Division of Finance will certify, at the close of each calendar year, that the administrative reviews were accomplished for all imprest funds within their respective Region or Office. The Regional certification will be forwarded to the Division of Finance by January 12 for a consolidated submission to the Office of Financial Management by January 31. The certification should be submitted to the Division of Finance in the following format:
1) organization code, 2) location, 3) amount authorized, 4) principle cashier, 5) date of last review, and 6) total by Region.

The following are available from the Division of Finance:
Exhibit 2, COVER SHEET.

For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management, at Krista_Bibb@fws.gov 
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