Petty cash: What is it and how do I manage it?

Petty cash – the money kept on hand to cover minor expenses – is traditionally used to pay for low-value purchases. It’s the tin employees raid to buy everything from biscuits to biros.

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How do I manage petty cash?

There are lots of ways to manage cash expenses, the most common being the imprest system. A custodian manages a small amount of cash, issuing it to people who need it, and collecting receipts to reconcile against the money spent.

But many businesses are turning to prepaid cards as an alternative, helping them to avoid the hassle of maintaining a ledger and petty cash box.

Why do I need an alternative to petty cash?

Cash storage, lost receipts, tatty vouchers and journals (not to mention excruciating Excel spreadsheets) – petty cash is risky, error-prone, and time-consuming. And there’s every chance you’ll be caught short when your team comes knocking, meaning a trek to the bank.

Business credit cards can help, but they come with downsides: you can’t see spending until it’s too late, overspending is rife, and only senior staff qualify for the privilege. Worst of all, poor management of small expenses doesn’t just cost your business time, it costs money.

£1.8 billion

This is the extraordinary amount that petty cash mishandling costs UK businesses each year.


Nearly half of employees say lost receipts are the biggest barrier to proper petty cash management.


A notable percentage say overly complicated processes are an obstacle for proper management.

Soldo: Manage petty cash the easy way

Soldo cuts the legwork, using prepaid cards to get money to employees – fast. Use the desktop or mobile app to set budgets. Then send money to any employee or department card in a couple of clicks.

Everything you need for accounting is captured on the Soldo mobile app. And Soldo integrates with your accounting software, so records are accurate, and reconciliation is effortless.

Send money to staff instantly
Distribute funds remotely without withdrawing money from the bank and keeping it in an unsafe petty cash box.

Control costs on prepaid cards
Empower employees to spend responsibly; define budgets and track spending in real time – from wherever you are.

Automate your expense admin
Flow transactions, receipts, and more into your accounting software through brilliant apps and integrations.

Get up and running in a flash
Apply online in minutes and start spending in as little as one working day. You’ll love how easy it all is.

Soldo Suite Petty Cash
Soldo Suite Petty Cash