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.

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.

Frequently asked questions

Petty cash is a small amount of cash set aside by businesses and finance departments for day to day expenses. Examples include miscellaneous expenses like printer toner, office paper, milk, tea, etc.

Credit cards are also an alternative to petty cash, but they introduce the risk of large spending limits and non-existent control. But Soldo helps you to keep a lid on spending with prepaid Mastercard® cards, complete with built-in budgets and rules that allow you to specify who spends what and where. And there’s no need for a credit check.

Soldo delivers a smart replacement for petty cash books that simplifies processes while enhancing the visibility and control of costs across your business. Getting money in the hands of employees is faster than ever. And businesses benefit from all the security you can expect from an FCA-regulated financial service provider.

Petty cash comes with risks inherent to storing, moving, and handing out cash. By removing the cash, you remove some of the risk. But credit cards come with sky-high limits that introduce additional liabilities. Thankfully, there’s an alternative that makes it simple to protect your business against fraud and theft.

Soldo is a spend management platform powered by prepaid Mastercard® cards and intuitive desktop and mobile apps. Administrators can set budgets and rules to govern how and where money is spent. And the exact amount needed for a single purchase can be allocated in a couple of clicks.

There are smart security features, like making cards lock after each transaction. If a card gets lost, administrators can freeze and unfreeze cards easily. And – if a card is stolen – it’s equally easy to cancel a card, all from the mobile or desktop apps.

To keep track of petty cash, you could use an imprest system, ledger, vouchers, and a form-based reporting process. But that’s as complicated as it sounds.

If you’d rather track business spending without the hassle, Soldo is a smart spend management solution that’s easy to use.

Spending on prepaid Mastercard® cards is tracked in real time through administrative mobile and desktop apps. Employees capture receipts, notes, and spending categories using their own mobile app, right at the point of purchase. And Soldo connects seamlessly to your accounting system, so – for the first time – you’ll have an up-to-date view of spending across your business, all in one place.

Absolutely. With Soldo, you can give prepaid Mastercard® cards to as many employees, departments, and sites as you like, then allocate sums as and when they’re needed.

Thousands of businesses already use Soldo to manage all sorts of spending, including business travel expenditure and even software subscriptions. If you can pay by card, you can pay with Soldo. And, even if you need cash in a pinch, administrators can enable Soldo cards to withdraw cash from cashpoints.

Soldo comes with everything you need to replace petty cash, including an intuitive reporting app that captures receipts, VAT information, expense categories and more, right at the till. And it all connects to accounting systems like Xero and QuickBooks Online seamlessly, so bookkeeping is easier than ever.

Join thousands of businesses using Soldo today.

Apply online in minutes and get up and running in as little as one working day.

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