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Basic Cash Control: Cash Background

What to Know
Money makes the world go 'round'

If instruction, research and public service are the engine that make UCSC go, cash is the fuel that makes the engine run.

Each year, cash handlers at UCSC collect and process over $100 million. All of this cash is used to help the campus fulfill its teaching, research and public service mission. Because of this, it is critical that cash be handled, secured, and processed properly at all times. As has been demonstrated repeatedly over the years, any instance of mishandling cash can be very damaging to the reputation and credibility of the University. This Cash Control Training is intended to provide you with the information you need to know to properly handle, secure, and process University cash receipts.

As our campus continues to grow, there will, most likely, be an increasing level of cashiering activities, resulting in a corresponding increase in the likelihood of an associated risk occurring.

Financial Affairs has taken a proactive role by providing education and this on-line training to all cashiers and cash handlers to strengthen controls and reduce the risks.

A bit of history

Handling cash is a very sensitive activity at UCSC - and at any organization. Most of UCSC's funding is either public money (state and federal funds) or donor contributions, making any loss very sensitive. Everyone needs cash, and some people will do anything to get it. Thefts of cash, at each of the UC campuses (except Merced, the newest campus) and even at the Office of the President (UCOP) have made headlines. Such thefts are not unique to UC; the same problem occurs in other colleges and universities as well as all other types of businesses.

Losses range from minimal to very significant. One of the largest losses within the UC system occurred at UCSF where the head cashier embezzled $4.7 million and used the monies to support her daughter's fledgling retail store and magazine publishing business. The events were reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal and other major newspapers throughout the country.

Such headlines have an effect on the public's perceptions about UC. Here are some of the entities who have a stake in the reputation of the University of California whose perceptions may be impacted by the headlines.

  • Private citizens and foundations
  • Students and potential students
  • Research organizations
  • The governor, the State legislature, and┬áCalifornia taxpayers
  • UC employees

When proper financial controls are in place, thefts may be prevented or discovered early when the dollars involved are minor. This significantly lessens the chance that the loss will become widely known or result in a banner newspaper headline.

You can read more about the UCSF embezzlement in the San Francisco Chronicle archives.

Fiduciary Responsibility

The University placed a special trust in you when it delegated to you the task of handling University cash and checks. You now have what is called a fiduciary responsibility. This term means that you are now acting in the University's behalf and must do so in a responsible way. And this means using good cash handling practices to:

  • Account for and deposit in a timely way all cash, checks received, and credit card recordings.
  • Protect University cash, checks and credit card recordings from loss or theft.
  • Make sure that funds/monies received are used for University purposes.

Good cash handling and control practices are the subject of this course. The main point is that as an approved cash handler, you must start implementing cash control practices the moment you receive cash until it is accounted for with proper documentation, and deposited appropriately.

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