RESEARCH CASH ADVANCE FUND
A Research Cash Advance Fund is a temporary advance of cash to be used to pay human research subjects. For example, a researcher may offer $20 in cash to each person who completes a survey.
Researchers are required to comply with the following procedures to safeguard the cash advanced and to eliminate the possibility of any misappropriation.
A Research Cash Advance Fund cannot be used to pay for any of the following even if they are expenditures associated with the research project:
- Travel expense reimbursement. These should be processed via a Travel Reimbursement (TR) through Travel and Expense.
- Travel advances. All travel activities need to be processed through Travel and Expense.
- Payments to vendors for invoices submitted directly to the department.
- Payments to independent contractors or consultants.
- Payments to employees for services, awards, bonuses, etc. These should be processed through Human Resources/Payroll. (If an employee happens to be involved as a human research subject, payroll taxes will be withheld after the payment is made.)
- Payments to University auxiliaries (i.e. Bookstore, etc.) Use a purchasing card.
- Personal borrowing (IOUs).
- Cashing checks.
- Any other item purchased, which is prohibited or restricted by University Purchasing policy (http://purchasing.usu.edu/htm/rules-and-regulations)
Procedures to Obtain, Operate and Close a Research Cash Advance Fund
Obtain Research Cash Advance Fund
Only the Controller’s Office has the authority to create a Research Cash Advance Fund. Send a completed and signed Request for Research Cash Advance Fund form to Shanell Johnson, Treasury Services, at UMC 2400.
When the Research Cash Advance Fund request form is approved, the cash custodian will be contacted by Treasury Services and given instructions on how to receive the funds.
Operation of a Research Cash Advance Fund
The department head, P.I. or business manager is responsible to appoint an employee to act as Cash Custodian over the Research Cash Advance Fund.
The cash custodian is responsible for the following:
- Create and maintain a cash log:
- A cash log states the title of the research project, the name of the P.I., and the index associated with the project. The first entry is the date the cash advance is received and the total amount approved.
- The custodian writes down the dates when cash is distributed, the amount of cash given, and the name of the person receiving the cash. The person receiving the cash must sign and date the entry. Lump sums of cash are given to individuals (usually research assistants) who are responsible for conducting the research and paying participants.
- The custodian is responsible to tell all research assistants that each participant who receives a cash payment must sign an informed consent form.
- At the conclusion of the research, any left-over cash must be returned and the custodian must review the original informed consent forms. Both the research assistant and custodian are responsible to do a “count” together at this time.
- This is done by adding the total amount paid out to participants (supported by original informed consent forms) to any left-over cash and comparing that total to the amount originally given to the research assistant. If the amounts do not agree, the custodian’s supervisor must be contacted immediately. If resolution cannot be reached, the supervisor must contact Campus Police and Shanell Johnson to report the loss.
- If the amounts agree, the research assistant allows the custodian to make copies of the informed consent forms. The research assistant signs and dates the log. The custodian then enters the name of each participant and the amount paid to them by reviewing the copied informed consent forms. Each entry must have an informed consent form to provide support documentation.
- The cash fund must be secured at all times by using a cash box that is stored in a safe or a locking file cabinet.
- Only the custodian or custodian’s supervisor should have access to the cash fund.
- The custodian is responsible to ensure that the money is used ONLY to pay participants in research.
The cash custodian’s immediate supervisor is responsible for the following:
- Conduct periodic cash counts with the custodian present to verify the proper use and accounting of funds. The supervisor begins with the original amount of the cash fund, verifies payments to participants by reviewing the consent forms, and determines that the ending balance recorded in the log agrees with total cash on hand. Both the supervisor and custodian date and sign the log to indicate that a count has been performed.
- Resolve cash discrepancies between the log, the custodian and research assistant if necessary. If resolution cannot be reached, the supervisor must contact Campus Police and Shanell Johnson to report the loss.
- Contact Shanell Johnson, Treasury Services, for instructions if additional cash is needed to replenish the fund.
- Contact Shanell Johnson, Treasury Services, immediately in writing if a new cash custodian is assigned to the fund. A count must be performed by the supervisor and original cash custodian (indicated by both signing and dating the log) before a new custodian is assigned.
Closing a Research Cash Advance Fund
When the research project is completed, the custodian and supervisor should perform a final count reconciliation (both dating and signing the log). The log and support documents (informed consent forms) must be reviewed by Shanell Johnson. The Research Cash Advance Fund will then be closed and the research index will be charged.