Unit 7 Cash

7.1 Introduction

Since cash is the asset most likely to be used improperly by employees, exposed for embezzlement and many business transactions either directly or indirectly affect it, it is therefore necessary to have effective control of cash.


7.2 Meaning of Cash

Cash includes money on deposit in banks and other items that a bank will accept for immediate deposit. Money on deposit in banks includes checking and saving accounts. Other items such as ordinary checks received from customers, money orders, coins and currency and petty cash also are included as cash. Banks do not accept postage stamps, travel advances to employees, notes receivable or post-dated checks as cash.


7.3 Characteristics of Cash

The following are some of the characteristics of cash:

  1. Cash is used as medium of exchange
  2. Cash is the most liquid asset
  3. Cash is mostly affected by business transactions
  4. Cash is used to measure the value of other assets
  5. Cash is mostly exposed to embezzlements


7.4 management of cash

Cash management refers to planning, controlling and accounting for cash transactions and cash balances. Efficient management of cash is essential to the survival and success of every business organization. Managing cash requires planning wisely so that there will not be excess cash held on hand at any point in time; or there is no shortage of cash at any point in time to meet the business’s needs.


7.5 Internal Control of Cash

The need to safeguard cash is crucial in most businesses because cash is mostly exposed to embezzlement. Firms address this problem through the internal control system. An internal control system is a set of policies and procedures designed to protect assets, provide accurate accounting records and evaluate performances.

A sound internal control system for cash increases the likely hood that the reported values for cash are accurate.

Internal control for cash should include the following procedures:

  1. The individuals who receive cash should not also disburse (pay) cash
  2. The individuals who handle cash should not access accounting records
  3. Cash receipts are immediately recorded and deposited and are not used directly to make payments.
  4. Disbursements are made by serially numbered checks, only upon proper authorization by someone other than the person writing the check
  5. Bank accounts are reconciled monthly.

The following are the most common elements of cash control and managements: bank account system, petty cash fund, voucher system, change fund, and cash short and over.


7.5.1 Control of Cash Through Bank Accounts

Bank accounts are one of the most important means of controlling cash that provide several advantages such as:

  • Cash is physically protected by the bank,
  • A separate record of cash is maintained by the bank,
  • And customers may remit payments directly to the bank.

If a company uses a bank account, monthly statements are received from the bank showing beginning and ending balances and transactions occurring during the month including checks paid, deposits received, and service charges. These monthly statements (reports) received from the bank are called bank statements. Bank statements generally are accompanied by checks paid and charged to the accounts during the month, debit and credited memos, which inform the company about changes in the cash accounts. For a bank, the depositor’s cash balance is a liability, the amount the bank owes to the firm. Therefore, a debit memo describes the amount and nature of decrease is the company’s cash accounts. A credits memo indicates an increase in the cash balance of the depositor that it has with the bank. Reconciliation of Bank and Book Cash Balances

Monthly reconciling of the bank balance with the depositor’s cash accounts balance is essential cash control procedure. To reconcile a bank statement means to verify that the bank balance and the accounting records of the depositor are consistent. The balance shown in a monthly bank statement seldom equals the balance appearing in the depositor’s accounting records. Certain transactions recorded by the depositor may not have been recorded by the bank and vice versa.

The most common examples that cause disparity between the two balances are:

  1. Outstanding checks:
    Checks issued and recorded by the company, but not yet presented to the bank for payment.
  2. Deposits in transit:
    Cash receipts recorded by the depositor, but not reached the bank to be included in the bank statement for the current month.
  3. Service charges:
    Banks often charge a fee for handling checking accounts. The amount of this charge is deducted by the bank form bank balance and debit memo is issued for the  depositor.
  4. Charges for depositing NSF- checks:
    NSF stands for “Not Sufficient Funds.” When checks are deposited in an account, the bank generally gives the depositor immediate credit. On occasion, one of these checks may prove to be uncollectible because the maker of the check does not have sufficient funds in his or her account. In such a case, the bank will reduce the depositor’s account by the amount of this uncollectible item and return the check to the depositor marked “NSF”.
  5. Notes collected by bank:
    If the bank collects a note receivable on behalf of the depositor, it credits the depositor’s account and issues a credit memorandum for the depositor.

When the depositor prepares bank reconciliation, the balances shown in the bank statement and in the accounting records both are adjusted for any unrecorded transactions. Additional adjustments may be required to correct any errors discovered in the bank statements or in the accounting records. Steps in Preparing Bank Reconciliation

A bank reconciliation is a schedule prepared by the depositor to bring the balance shown in the bank statement and the balance shown in the depositor’s accounting into agreement.

The steps to prepare a bank reconciliation are:

  1. The deposits listed on the bank statement are compared with the deposits shown in the accounting records. Any deposits not yet recorded by the bank are deposits in transit and should be added to the balance shown in the bank statements.
  2. The paid and received checks from the bank are compared with the check stubs. Any checks issued but not yet paid by the bank are outstanding checks and should be deducted from the balance reported in the bank statements.
  3. Any credit memorandums issued by the bank that have not been recorded by the depositor, are added to the balance per depositor’s record.
  4. Any debit memorandums issued by the bank that have not been recorded by the depositor are deducted from the balance per depositor’s record.
  5. Any errors in the bank statement or depositor’s accounting records are adjusted.
  6. The equality of adjusted balance of statement and adjusted balance of the depositor’s record is compared.
  7. Journal entries are prepared to record any items delayed by the depositor. Illustration of Bank Reconciliation

The January bank statement sent by Awash Bank to RAM Company shows Br. 4,262.83. Assume also that on January 31, 2000, the Cash account of RAM Co. shows a balance of Br. 5,000.17. The accountant of RAM Company has identified the following items:

  1. A deposit of Br. 410.90 made after banking hours on Jan. 31 does not appear on the bank statement.
  2. Two checks issued in January have not yet been paid by the bank:
         Check No. 301             Br. 110.25
         Check No. 342                  607.50
  3. A credit memorandum was included in the bank statement, which was for proceeds from collection of a non-interest bearing note receivable from MAN company Br. 524.74.
  4. Three debit memorandums accompanied the bank statement: Fee charged by bank for handling collection of notes receivable Br.5; a check of Br. 50.25 received from a customer, RON company, and deposited by RAM company was charged back as NSF; and service charge by bank for the month of January amounts to Br. 12.00.
  5. Check No. 305 was issued by RAM Company for payment of telephone expense in the amount of Br. 85 but was erroneously recorded in the cash payments journal as Br. 58.

The January 31 bank reconciliation for RAM Company is shown below:


RAM Company

Bank Reconciliation

January 31, 2000

Balance per bank statement, Jan. 31,2000                                                      Br. 5,000.17

Add: Deposit of Jan. 31 not recorded by bank                                                       410.90

               Subtotal                                                                                            Br. 5,411.07

Deduct: outstanding checks:

                No. 301                                           Br. 110.25

                No. 342                                                 607.50                                       117.75

Adjusted cash balance                                                                                                Br. 4,693.32


Balance per depositor’s record, Jan. 31,2000                                                 Br. 4,262.83

Add: Note Receivable collected by bank                                                                524.74

              Subtotal                                                                                             Br. 4,787.57

Deduct: collection fee                                     Br. 5.00

            NSF check of Ron Co.                           50.25

            Service charge                                         12.00

            Error on check stub No. 305                   27.00                                             94.25

Adjusted cash balance                                                                                               Br. 4,693.32    

The following are journal entries related to the bank reconciliation.


Jan. 31 cash                                                                             524.74

                   Notes Receivable                                                                524.74

           To record collection of Note Receivable

           collected by bank

     31  Miscellaneous Expense                                                   17.00

           Accounts Receivable-RON Co.                                      50.25

           Utilities Exp.                                                                   27.00

                      Cash                                                                                  94.25

To record bank service charges,

NSF check and error in recording

Check No. 305


7.5.2 Petty Cash Fund

Petty cash fund, which is part of the total cash balance, is used to handle many types of small payments such as employee transportation costs, purchase of office supplies, purchase of postage stamps, and delivery charges. Many businesses find it convenient to make minor expenditures instead of writing checks. The petty cash amount various from Br. 50 or less to more than Br. 1,000, which will cover small expenditures for a period of two or three weeks. Establishment of Petty Cash

To establish a petty cash fund a check is issued to a bank. This check is cashed and the money is kept on hand in a petty cash box. One employee is designated as custodian of the fund. The issuance of the check for establishment is recoded by debiting petty cash account and crediting cash. Replenishment of Petty Cash

During the period, the custodian makes small payments form the petty cash fund and obtains a receipt or prepares a petty cash voucher. This petty cash voucher explains the nature and amount of every expenditure and is kept with the fund. When the fund runs low or at the end of the company’s fiscal period, a check is issued to reimburse the fund for the expenditures made during the period. The issuance of this check is recorded by debiting the appropriate expense accounts and crediting cash or vouchers payable.


7.5.3 Voucher System

One method to control cash disbursements is a voucher system. A voucher is a special form, which contains relevant data about a liability and its payment.

In a voucher system, a voucher is prepared for each expenditure and approved by the designated officials. Each approved voucher represents liability and recorded in a voucher register, which is similar to purchases journal. Those registered vouchers are filed according to their payment date in an unpaid vouchers file. The vouchers and supporting documents then are sent to the treasure or other official is the finance department before issuing checks. When the checks are signed, the paid vouchers are recorded in a check register which is similar to cash payments journal. Those paid vouchers are filed in paid vouchers file according to their serial number for future reference.


7.5.4 Change Fund

Some businesses that receive cash directly from customers should maintain a fund of currency and coins in order to make change (Amharic=>”zirzir”). This fund, which is part of the total cash balance, is called change fund. A change fund is established by issuing a check to the bank and transferring the cash to the custodian. The issuance of a check to establish a change fund is recorded by debiting cash on hand and crediting cash or voucher payable.

Once a change fund is established, there will be no change in its balance unless there is a decision by management to increase or decrease the fund balance.


7.5.5 Cash Short and Over

In handling cash receipts from daily sales, a few errors in making changes will occur. These errors may cause a cash shortage or overage at the end of the day. The account cash short and over is debited if there is shortage and credited if there is overage. At the end of the period if the account had a debit balance, it appears in the Income statement as miscellaneous expense; if it has a credit balance, it is shown as miscellaneous revenue.

For example, assume that the total cash sales recorded during the day amounts to Br. 12,420. However, the cash receipts in the cash register drawer (actual cash count) total Br. 12,415.

The following entry would be made to adjust the accounting records for the shortage in the cash receipts:


             Cash Short and Over                         5.00

                         Cash                                                   5.00

To record a Br. 5.00 (Br. 12,420 – 12,415)

Shortage in cash receipts for the day



  1. Cash includes only those items immediately available to pay obligations.
  2. The objectives of cash management are accurate accounting for cash transactions, the prevention of losses through theft or fraud, and maintaining adequate cash balances.
  3. The bank reconciliation adjusts the cash balance per book and the cash balance per bank statement for any unrecorded items such as outstanding checks and bank service charges.
  4. Bank reconciliation produces the correct amount of cash to be included in the balance sheet at the end of the month.
  5. A company may use a petty cash fund to make small payments that occur frequently, as payment by check would cause delay and excessive expense of maintaining records.
  6. One of the best systems for establishing control of cash payments is the use of a voucher system. A voucher system uses vouchers, a voucher register, a file for unpaid vouchers, a check register and a file for paid vouchers.




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