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Dartmouth College is dedicated to ensuring the proper handling of cash and checks it receives as part of its business activities, accurate financial reporting, and promotion of appropriate security and stewardship of funds. This policy establishes the minimum requirements for proper cash and check handling by departments.
The purpose of this policy is to establish and promote awareness of the minimum requirements and establish best practices for proper cash and check handling. This policy is not only for the protection of the College monies, but also for the employees charged with cash handling.
Any individual who handles College cash, and any individual who has responsibility for receiving, depositing, or accounting for such cash and/or checks.
This policy also applies to any departments associated with Dartmouth College that conduct business through currency (such as cash and cash equivalents) and/or check transactions. Departments include all areas of Dartmouth including its professional schools and student groups.
For proper handling of credit card receipts should refer to the Merchant Services and PCI Compliance Policy.
The policies described in this document are designed to implement best practices for cash management. The policies are aligned with internal control concepts, including the following:
Protect the people handling cash, the physical cash/assets and any related confidential information.
Assets are safeguarded by assigning to different individuals responsibility for acceptance of cash and/or checks, recording, and reconciling of transactions. One person should not be in the position to authorize a transaction, execute a transaction, record the transaction, and provide the sole review of the transaction. Reconciliations should be performed on a regular basis, at least monthly by a person independent of the process. In a small department, it may not be feasible to fully segregate all of the cash-related duties. In these circumstances, the small department should have sufficient compensating controls to mitigate the risk that cash is misappropriated (e.g. increased monitoring or review of reconciliation by a supervisor). If the small department does not have sufficient compensating controls, it should not receive cash.
A reconciliation is the process to verify the accuracy of an account balance. This requires knowledge of the opening and ending balance, and a determination that the activity in the account is reasonable, appropriate and accurate.
Each department must adhere to the minimum requirements outlined in this policy.
Departments must also develop written procedures for their department's cash handling and accounting functions. These procedures should specify business processes, personnel responsibilities and be reviewed annually and updated as needed. Department procedures must meet the minimum requirements of this policy; however, departments may impose more specific and/or restrictive department policies and procedures based on the nature of their cash and check handling activities.
Cash is typically received as a result of point of sale transactions or in connection with other miscellaneous events. Although the receipt of cash in certain cases is unavoidable, it is the least preferred method of collection due to the security and control risks associated with handling and transportation. Departments should not directly accept cash unless there is a strong business requirement.
Upon receipt of funds departments will:
If a department is in receipt of a check they do not know how to handle, the check should be delivered to the Cashiers Office immediately for research and proper credit.
Unless the department has specific written authority from Institutional Accounting to make deposits directly to an authorized College bank (see section on direct deposit requirements below), deposits are to be made at the Cashier's Office according to these policies.
The department should maintain adequate documentation for each deposit for use in reconciliation.
Note: Do not photocopy or scan checks. This practice will enhance the security of private banking information.
The Cashier's Office maintains appropriate documentation for each deposit and copies of checks can be obtained if needed. Departments should keep copies of the deposit for the responsible individual to reconcile receipts on a monthly basis to the general ledger.
A procedure to promptly identify and address any discrepancies in receipts must be part of departmental policies.
Departments must ensure the following reconciliations are performed and reviewed:
For the cash and checks deposited directly by departments:
Departments with significant deposit volume of checks may consider electronic remote deposit. Remote deposit allows direct depositors to scan checks and process deposits electronically.
Checks drawn on U.S. banks may be deposited through remote deposit capture. The Cashier's Office and designated departments on campus deposit checks in this manner. Processes must meet the required timelines stated as above.
After sending check images using remote deposit online, the endorsed deposited items must be safeguarded for a minimum of 14 calendar days from the date of transmission. After 14 days they must be destroyed or otherwise rendered incapable of transmission or presentment. Regularly scheduled check shredding timetables must be established and followed.
If reports are printed containing customer banking information they must be secured so that access to customer banking information limited to only those that have the fiscal business need.
When using portable information devices, i.e. laptops, etc., encryption is required.
As with any username and password the employee responsible for remotely depositing checks should not share this information with others.
For more information or to establish remote deposit capability contact the Institutional Accounting.
The IRS requires that the College report all cash receipts from a single individual greater than $10,000, regardless of whether such receipts result from a single or multiple related transactions. Therefore, any department or other organization at the College that receives a cash payment in excess of $10,000 must complete IRS Form 8300 and forward it to the Cashier's Office. Forms must be received by the Cashier's Office at the time of the receipt of funds.
All cash and check handling activity must be conducted consistent with Dartmouth Information Security Policy.
Training on cash and check handling policy and procedures is available, upon request, by contacting the Cashier's Office.
Any suspected loss or theft of funds must be immediately reported to the Safety and Security Department and the Cashier's Office.
Ordinary operating errors should be reported as overages/shortages as long as the amount is deemed reasonable by an authorized individual.
Controller's Office: Controllers.firstname.lastname@example.org
Institutional Accounting: Institutional.Accounting@dartmouth.edu
Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the Cashier's Office.
Cash - Currency, cash equivalents, or checks.
Cash Equivalent - Money taking the form of a money order, travelers' check, cashier check, or certified check.
Cash Handling Department - Any department that handles cash, cash equivalents, or checks.
Check - A negotiable demand draft on a bank to pay to the named party the indicated sum of money on a stated date or thereafter.
Currency - Ready money in the form of coin and bills.
Departmental Cash Handling Procedure - A documented cash handling plan that establishes, at a minimum, the internal controls named in this policy and its related procedures.
Deposit Bag - A bag with a lock or a tamper-proof plastic bag with seal used to contain cash, cash equivalents, or checks intended for deposit. Departments can order bags through the Cashier's Office.
Post-dated Check - A check written to specify disbursement on a future date.
Safe - A receptacle for the protected storage of currency, cash equivalents, or checks that has a combination or dual lock. In certain cases where large volume of cash is held, a safe should be located in a space that is secured by an alarm system monitored by College Safety and Security.
Segregation of Duties - Process of safeguarding assets by assigning the acceptance of Cash receipts, recording, and reconciling of transactions to different individuals.
Stale-dated Check - A check that is no longer valid because of the length of time that has passed since the date it was issued. For personal checks on which the payer is an individual, the bank is not obligated to pay after six months, but can choose to process this item. Corporate checks, on which the payer is an organization, are often dated "good until" and denote a specific date.
Third Party Check - A third party check is made payable to someone other than Dartmouth College, but presented to Dartmouth in lieu of payment.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. In addition, if cash receipts are lost, stolen or otherwise unaccounted for, failure to adhere to this policy may result in the Department having to cover a loss from the departmental budget.