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Policies and Procedures

Policy 307 – Cash Advance

September 1, 2004
Last Updated
June 15, 2016
Last Reviewed
November 11, 2014
Responsible University Officer
University Controller
Responsible Unit
Accounting Services

Policy Statement

University departments have a need for cash advances to conduct University business such as group field trips, hosting foreign visitors, purchasing food and materials for large group functions, compensating study subjects, and other exceptional activities. Advances are strictly limited to those circumstances requiring cash payments of dollar amounts that are too small to justify the use of an imprest account and are intended for a specific purpose. Advances must be reconciled and settled in a timely manner.

Study Subjects

Departments may choose to compensate study subjects with gift cards as an alternative to cash. Gift cards may be purchased from the cash advance.

Restrictions on use of cash advance

A cash advance should not be used for the following:

    • Payment to an employee for services.
    • Payment to an independent contractor, including guest lecturer, for services.
    • Cash awards to an employee (excluding gift certificates and gift cards).
    • Cash awards to an employee who is on another state agency payroll such as UNC Hospitals.
    • Department purchase of event tickets, such as athletic events, performing arts or other University events, from any source.
    • Travel reimbursements, such as airline tickets, hotel accommodations, and related expenses. Travel-related expense reimbursements should be requested through the Web Travel System.

Reason for Policy

Cash advances are necessary for efficiency or because they are the only means acceptable to the payment requirements of the service rendered. This policy explains how to obtain the necessary funds to meet payment requirements, appropriate use and settlement of such cash advance funds.



Special Situations



  • 307.1 - Requesting, Reconciling and Settling Cash Advance

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if an employee fails to receive timely payment for services, then can a cash advance be used for making such a payment?
A: If an employee fails to receive timely payment for services, and all forms have been completed and approved for the pay process, then the Director of Payroll Services should be consulted.

Q: Can the department use a cash advance for an employee recognition award?
A: Cash awards to employees have tax consequences and should be reported. Hence, these payments should be processed through HRIS or EPA Web to capture accurately the information for reporting. Refer to the University policy on Taxation of Gifts, Prizes and Awards for additional information.

Q: Can study subjects be paid with petty cash?
A: No, study subjects must be paid through imprest checking accounts or cash advances.

Q:  Are temporary employees eligible to receive a cash advance?
A:  No, only permanent employees are eligible to receive a cash advance.

Related Data

Office of Sponsored Research Policy 500.14, Cash Advances
Determining Independent Contractor Status


Cash Advance Cash Management 919-962-1601 919-962-3306
Cash Advance Disbursement Services 919-962-0748 919-962-0748


June 15, 2016: Added FAQ on temporary employees.
November 11, 2014: Added FAQ on paying study subjects.
April 8, 2010