As a cost centre manager
You are responsible for:
- arranging effective supervision to prevent losses to the council and school and protect your staff from allegations of theft or fraud.
- minimising the cash held by encouraging customers to pay electronically via the council's/school's corporate systems and banking regularly (at least weekly and more frequently where high volumes are received).
- reviewing the records of income received at your site on a regular basis to ensure that all income has been banked accurately - see below
The expected minimum standard is a monthly check - or more frequently if appropriate - to ensure that:
- that paying in slips are individually numbered on a sequential basis
- each paying in slip number banked by your site has been processed to SAP and the income coded correctly - If a paying in slip number is missing on SAP the reason should be verified for the voided slip
- all income recorded on the postal log can be matched to paying in slips and SAP records
- VAT is properly accounted for
- income is received gross (but where it is received net of any fees or any expense it should be recorded gross, with both the income and expenditure recorded separately and associated VAT)
- all income has been banked promptly.
As an employee who receives cash and cheques
If you receive money or cheques - either over the counter, or through the post - you are acting as a cashier.
You should understand the rules before starting work. If you don't, ask your line manager to clarify procedures, or contact Finance helpdesk for guidance.
When you receive cash or cheques, you must:
- give a receipt for every payment you receive (not necessary for cheques received in the post, unless requested by the customer).
- put the reference number and any other relevant information for the income on the council documentation, to enable the income to be cross checked with other council records
- record the income accurately.
- look after the money you receive securely until you bank it, hand it to another employee, or a security collection service. Keep it in a safe or locked cash tin.
- get a receipt if you hand the money to someone else. You should both check how much there is.
- bank the income promptly.
- bank cash intact - don't make cash payments out of money collected.
- account for income properly, including coding it correctly via IBC.
- report a large single payment in cash (over £1,000) to the strategic finance manager (Treasury Management, Banking and Income) via Finance helpdesk stating the nature of the receipt, who it was received from and why it was not considered unusual.
- comply with the council’s money laundering procedures
You must never:
- mix your own money, or anyone else's, with council or school funds.
- accept cash amounts over £10,000.
Opening post and recording income
- When you open post, try to make sure there is a second person present. Always open post in a secure open area with other people around - not in seclusion.
- As soon as you identify cash or cheques, record it immediately on a log showing the date received, amount of payment, type of payment, the customer’s details and any relevant reference numbers. The log should be updated when the income is banked with the date of banking. A template log is provided here (xls format, 12Kb)
- Both you and the second person should sign the log to confirm that it is a complete and accurate record of all cash and cheques received.
- Although the council discourages sending cash through the post, it sometimes arrives this way, in which case you should write out an official receipt and send it to the payer.
- You should record over the counter income in the receipt book, while the payer is present.
- Always ask customers paying in person to make cheques payable to 'Oxfordshire County Council' or the school if being paid into a special purposes account.
- Always give a receipt. Complete receipts in ink, and do not alter them. Give the top copy of the receipt to the payer; and keep the carbon copy in the receipt book.
- Attach any spoiled or cancelled receipts to the copy in the receipt book – don’t destroy it.
- Mark the receipt book copy with number of the bank or post office giro paying in slip used to bank the income and the date banked.
- Make sure the till display can be seen easily by the customer.
- Each till operator should have a separate till. If this isn’t possible the supervisor must agree an alternative procedure with their directorate’s finance business partner.
- Check the float at the beginning of each shift.
- Balance the till at the end of each shift. The operator should sign a daily balance sheet.
- Log any difference between the cash held and the till balance on a daily balancing sheet.
- Bank cash in full.
- Record voids and refunds, and keep the supporting documentation for each. You must only refund the customer using the same method with which they made their original payment.
- The supervisor should check the Z-total (the “audit roll”) to the daily balance sheet. Till operators should not have access to amend Z-totals or the “audit” roll.
- The supervisor should sign the daily balance sheet to indicate that they have verified the Z-total to the daily balance sheet, and that voids and refunds are valid.
- Date all till rolls: an independent person should monitor that there are no missing Z-totals. Z-totals are consecutively numbered: they should all be accounted for.
- The reviewer should investigate any trends on over or under banking, and document the outcome, as well as taking any necessary corrective action. Report any fraud suspicions to Internal Audit
You should only accept cheques to pay for specific debts of the county council or school or to pay for applications and services in advance.
When you receive a cheque, please verify that:
- it is signed
- the words and figures agree
- it is payable to “Oxfordshire County Council”
- it is not post-dated (dated after the day you receive it)
- the cheque is not out of date (depending on the customers bank account, cheques over 3, 6 or 12 months old may be rejected).
On the back of the cheque write:
- the name of your school (if made payable to OCC)
- the cost centre and general ledger code and any invoice or reference number, if appropriate
- customer's surname and postcode.
You must never:
- accept a cheque not made payable to Oxfordshire County Council or the school
- cash a personal cheque for a customer or a member of staff.