FAQ - Unrestricted Funds

  1. How may I establish a Petty Cash Fund?
  2. Can more than one person act as the Petty Cash Custodian?
  3. Must the Petty Cash Custodian be a full-time employee of the University?
  4. May the Petty Cash Fund be used by my department to purchase gifts such as for staff appreciation, flowers, greeting cards, etc?
  5. How may I request a Travel Advance?
  6. May part-time employees receive a Travel Advance?
  7. When should I request a Travel Advance?
  8. Where can I learn more about Travel Advance policies and procedures?
  9. How may I open a new Designated or Auxiliary account in Unrestricted Funds?
  10. What is a Designated or Unrestricted account?
  11. What is an Auxiliary Funds Account?
  12. How may I establish a new credit card merchant account for my department?
  13. How can I ensure that electronic funds wired to the University for my department are credited to my department's account?
  14. How may I obtain a copy of a cancelled check?
  15. When can my department expect to receive college fee allocations?
  16. What is the Direct Billing Option for University Travel?
  17. If I use the Direct Billing Option for University travel and need to change my travel arrangements, who would I contact?
  18. How may I obtain OFIS access for a new employee or change access for an existing employee?
  19. What is a chargeback?
  20. How is the monthly Merchant Fee charged to my department for credit card sales calculated?
  21. What can I expect to occur when University Accounting conducts their physical inventory counts in my department?

1. How may I establish a Petty Cash Fund?
Petty Cash funds can be established by requesting and submitting a completed Petty Cash Fund Request [PDF] to Brenda Crawley, University Accounting, ASB, Room 300, Busch Campus or email: blcraw@rci.rutgers.edu.

In addition, a check request must be prepared through RIAS to establish the fund. Reimbursement of an existing Petty Cash Fund can be initiated with the preparation of a check request through RIAS and submission of all original receipts for expenditures made from the fund. All receipts should first be submitted for proper departmental approval and then forwarded to University Accounting. Any questions regarding a Petty Cash Fund should be directed to Brenda Crawley at 848-445-2029. For further information about Petty Cash regulations and procedures, refer to the university policy 40.2.7, Petty Cash Funds [PDF].

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2. Can more than one person act as the Petty Cash Custodian?
No, only one custodian may be assigned to a Petty Cash Fund. However, you may designate another individual(s) to have access to the fund in Question 2 on the Petty Cash Fund Request [PDF] form.

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3. Must the Petty Cash Custodian be a full-time employee of the university?
Yes, this individual must be a full-time, Class 1 employee in the payroll system.

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4. May the Petty Cash Fund be used by my department to purchase gifts such as for staff appreciation, flowers, greeting cards, etc?
The Petty Cash Fund should only be used for incidental purchases that support the daily operations of the department. The type of items mentioned above should be purchased with personal funds.

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5. How may I request a Travel Advance?
Travel advances can be requested for transportation, lodging, meals, and incidentals when needed. Travel advances are considered a personal charge to the individual requesting the advance and requests of more than $100 per day for meals and incidentals require a justification letter be submitted along with the Employee Travel Advance Form. An approved Travel and Business Expense Report (TABER) with appropriate receipts must be submitted within 60 days of the traveler’s return to their work site to reconcile how the advance was used or to indicate the amount to be repaid to the university. Outstanding travel advances for completed trips must be settled before subsequent advances will be issued. Accounts Payable will release the advance check no earlier than two weeks prior to the departure date with the exception of transportation expenses that can be distributed up to 90 days in advance of the departure date. Any questions regarding travel advances should be directed to Lisa Robinson at 848-445-3354 or email: lisajr@rci.rutgers.edu.

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6. May part-time employees receive a Travel Advance?
No, only full-time employees in the university payroll system may obtain a travel advance.

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7. When should I request a Travel Advance?
Travel advance requests should be submitted to University Accounting at least two weeks prior to your travel date. Travel advances for transportation can be requested up to 90 days prior to the departure date.

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8. Where can I learn more about Travel Advance policies and procedures?
For further information about Travel Advance regulations and procedures, refer to the university Policy 40.4.1, Travel, Travel Incidentals, and Meal Expense [PDF].

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9. How may I open a new Designated or Auxiliary account in Unrestricted Funds?
To request a new Unrestricted Designated or Auxiliary account, contact Maria DeJesus at 848-445-2108 or email: mduarte@rci.rutgers.edu. State a brief explanation for the purpose of the account and include the suggested title for the account. A New Account Questionnaire will be forwarded to you or you may complete the New Account Online Form [DOCX]. Complete the questionnaire and return it to Maria DeJesus, ASB, Room 300, Busch Campus or email mduarte@rci.rutgers.edu. In order to expedite the process, complete the form in its entirety, be sure to obtain necessary approvals, include a budget of anticipated revenues and expenses, and indicate another account to cover any potential overdrafts. The requestor will receive notification when the account has been approved.

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10. What is a Designated or Unrestricted account?
Designated Funds are unrestricted accounts internally designated to support a variety of programs. These funds are resources received by the university that have no restrictions placed on them by external sources. Balances in these accounts are carried over at year-end.

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11. What is an Auxiliary Funds Account?

  • Regular Auxiliary Funds accounts are self-supporting accounts and are not related to instruction. Budgets are established by the department. Examples include athletics, housing, dining, and golf course.
  • Miscellaneous Auxiliary Funds accounts are self-supporting accounts and are not related to instruction. Balances in these accounts are carried over at year-end. Examples include student centers and recreation centers.

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12. How may I establish a new credit card merchant account for my department?
You should contact the Office of Treasury Operations at  848-445-2789 or use the Treasury Operations contact form to begin this process or obtain information related to opening a new merchant account.

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13. How can I ensure that electronic funds wired to the university for my department are credited to my department's account?
When your department expects to receive electronic or "wired" funds, you should complete the online form Notification of Incoming Electronic Funds prior to the expected receipt date and submit the form to Lisa Crandall via email lisacran@rci.rutgers.edu or campus mail.

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14. How may I obtain a copy of a cancelled (paid) check?
To request a copy of a cancelled (paid) check, email the check number, amount, and payee to officeoftheuniversitycontroller@finance.rutgers.edu.

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15. When can my department expect to receive college fee allocations?
The college fee allocations are prepared twice for the Fall and Spring semesters and once for Summer Session. The first allocation for the Fall and Spring semesters are allocated at 85% of the total allocation. The second allocation is prepared at the end of each semester where the balance or the remaining 15% is allocated. Summer Session college fee allocations are generally distributed sometime in December of each year after the closing of the Summer Session period.

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16. What is the Direct Billing Option for University Travel?
The Direct Billing Option is used to purchase airline and rail tickets through any of the university’s preferred travel agencies using the online Travel Order Form. Effective October 1, 2004, responsibility for the Direct Billing reconciliation process was transferred to the office of Unrestricted Funds. All original Travel Order Forms (copies are not accepted) should be sent to:

University Accounting
Attn: Eli Djambinov
65 Davidson Road
ASB, Room 300 - Busch Campus
Piscataway, NJ 08854

Questions about the Direct Billing Option should be directed to Eli Djambinov at 848-445-5014 or email: elidjam@rci.rutgers.edu.

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17. If I use the Direct Billing Option for university travel and need to change my travel arrangements, who would I contact?
You should contact the travel agency for all travel arrangements. If you have a question about a charge to your departmental account, you may contact University Accounting at 848-445-5014.

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18. How may I obtain OFIS access for a new employee or change access for an existing employee?
Application for access to the Online Financial Information System (OFIS) should be submitted to Nancy DeVera, University Accounting, ASB, Room 300, Busch Campus, or email: ndevera@rci.rutgers.edu. Once access is established, notification will be sent to the requestor. The OFIS form must also be submitted either to remove an individual's access or to change existing access. Download the General Access Form.

OFIS is the legacy Rutgers system that provides online access to financial accounting, budget, and payroll data to authorized users. OFIS will continue to house historical financial data and support Budget System functionality after the Oracle General Ledger is implemented.

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19. What is a chargeback?
A credit card chargeback occurs when a cardholder or card issuer (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) disputes a transaction charged to their account and the resolution process results in a favorable decision to the cardholder. For more information, refer to the Office of Treasury Operations Chargebacks page to learn more.

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20. How is the monthly Merchant Fee charged to my department for credit card sales calculated?

A merchant fee (sometimes referred to as a "Discount Fee") is charged to the university for each credit card transaction. The university allocates or charges the fees back to the departments based on their percentage of the university's total monthly credit card sales. For detailed information, contact Sieglinde O'Connor at 848-445-5436 or email: oconnors@rci.rutgers.edu.

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21. What can I expect to occur when University Accounting conducts their physical pnventory counts in my department?
Prior to year-end, various university departments will be contacted by University Accounting staff to schedule test counts of their physical inventories. It is assumed that inventories held by departments are safeguarded and properly valued at year-end. University Accounting staff will visit the site of the physical inventory, perform a test count and valuation of randomly selected inventory items, test proper cut-offs, review for obsolescence, and then reconcile the inventory balances to the General Ledger. General questions concerning the scheduling of inventories should be directed to University Accounting at 848-445-2095.

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