Balance Sheet Savvy

Unlocking the Importance of Petty Cash: A Hidden Asset of Business Operations

Petty cash may seem like a small and inconsequential part of a company’s finances, but it plays a crucial role in day-to-day operations. In this article, we will explore the definition of petty cash, its purpose, examples of its use, and how it is reported on the financial statements.

Understanding petty cash is essential for anyone involved in managing a company’s finances. So, let’s dive in and learn more about this often-overlooked aspect of business operations.

Definition of Petty Cash

Purpose of Petty Cash

Petty cash refers to a small amount of money that is kept on hand by a company to cover minor expenses. It is typically funded with a company check and is used for various small transactions that do not warrant the use of a credit card or bank transfer.

The purpose of petty cash is to provide employees with a convenient way to handle small expenses without the need for reimbursement procedures or delays in making purchases.

Examples of Petty Cash Use

One common use of petty cash is to pay for postage due when a mail carrier delivers mail that requires additional payment. Instead of waiting for reimbursement or going through the hassle of getting a company credit card, an employee can simply use petty cash to cover the additional amount.

Petty cash can also be used for employee errands, such as picking up office supplies or grabbing a last-minute item for a client meeting. These small expenses can add up quickly and having petty cash on hand makes these transactions much easier to manage.

Reporting Petty Cash on the Financial Statements

Placement on Balance Sheet

When it comes to the financial statements, petty cash is reported as a current asset in the balance sheet. The current asset section of the balance sheet includes assets that are expected to be converted into cash within one year or the operating cycle of a business.

This placement on the balance sheet allows the company to track and monitor the amount of petty cash on hand, ensuring that it is being used appropriately and accounted for properly.

Combination with Other Cash Accounts

Petty cash is often combined with other cash accounts, such as cash and cash equivalents, on the balance sheet. Cash equivalents are highly liquid assets that can be readily converted into cash, such as short-term investments or money market funds.

Combining petty cash with these accounts allows for a comprehensive view of the company’s available cash resources. It is important to note that while petty cash is considered a current asset, it is separate from the cash held in bank accounts or other financial institutions.


In conclusion, petty cash is a small but significant part of a company’s financial operations. It provides a convenient way for employees to handle minor expenses and ensures that small transactions are managed efficiently.

By reporting petty cash as a current asset on the balance sheet, companies can track and monitor its usage, maintaining transparency and accountability. Understanding the definition, purpose, and reporting of petty cash is essential for anyone involved in financial management.

So, the next time you hear the term “petty cash,” remember its significance and the role it plays in keeping businesses running smoothly. In conclusion, petty cash may be small in amount, but its purpose and utilization are vital for efficient business operations.

It is used for minor expenses, such as postage or employee errands, avoiding reimbursement delays. When reported on the financial statements, petty cash is classified as a current asset, often combined with other cash accounts.

Understanding and properly managing petty cash ensures transparency and accountability. So, the next time you handle petty cash, remember its importance in smooth financial management, and strive to maximize its benefits for your company’s success.

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