Close this search box.

Table of Contents



Imprest is a financial system where a fixed amount of money is allocated and maintained for recurring expenses, such as petty cash. Upon each accounting period, the amount is replenished back to the original fixed balance. The most common use of imprest is the petty cash system, which is used for small, miscellaneous expenses as needed.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Imprest” is:/ˈɪmprɛst/

Key Takeaways

  1. Imprest is a financial system commonly used for managing petty cash or small business expenses. It ensures that all cash disbursements are accounted for and that only specific, pre-determined expenses are paid for.
  2. An Imprest system involves setting a fixed balance for the cash fund, and only replenishing the fund when expenses are incurred and accounted for with receipts. This ensures better control over cash management and prevents misuse of funds.
  3. Audit and control processes are easier with the Imprest system, as expenditures are accounted for in a structured manner, and checks or balances are in place to monitor for errors or misuse of funds.


Imprest is an important term in business and finance, as it refers to a system for managing petty cash or the disbursement of cash advances. This system is particularly useful for businesses that handle frequent small transactions, like reimbursements, and it plays a vital role in maintaining accountability and organization within a company’s financial operations. By using the Imprest system, a business ensures that a fixed amount of cash is always available for day-to-day expenses, simplifies fund management, and facilitates tracking of expenses and reimbursements. Moreover, the Imprest system supports internal financial controls, since cash replenishment occurs only upon proper validation and authorization of the expenditures, thus combating potential for fraud or misuse of funds.


Imprest is a financial management system, often used by various organizations to effectively control and track small, everyday expenses. The main purpose of the imprest system is to ensure that the organization’s funds are properly managed and accounted for in crucial areas such as petty cash and employee expense reimbursements. By implementing an imprest system, the organization creates a more organized and transparent process to handle day-to-day expenses while reducing the risk of overspending or mismanagement. This system typically involves a fixed amount of funds designated for specific purposes which is replenished periodically.

One of the most common examples of the imprest system in practice is the petty cash fund; this fund is typically used for minor expenditures such as office supplies, postage, or other small business expenses. The petty cash fund functions as a predefined balance, and when the cash within the fund is spent, a detailed record is maintained outlining each transaction, supported by receipts and other documentation as necessary. The fund is then replenished with the exact amount that was spent during the period, restoring the balance to the predetermined, fixed amount. This not only helps in maintaining transparency and preventing the misuse of funds but also simplifies the accounting process by providing a clear paper trail and ensuring that appropriate funds are available for incidental expenses within the organization.


1. Petty Cash System: An Imprest system is commonly used in businesses and organizations to manage and control petty cash expenses. A fixed cash amount is given to an employee in charge of the petty cash fund, who can then use it to reimburse employees for minor expenses such as supplies, postage, parking, and refreshments. Once the fund is depleted, the employee in charge submits the receipts and is reimbursed for the exact amount spent, bringing the petty cash fund back to its original balance.

2. Retail Store Cash Register: In a retail store, each cash register is often treated as an imprest system. A fixed amount of cash, known as the float or till fund, is placed in each register at the beginning of each shift or workday. This cash is used as change for customer transactions. At the end of the shift or workday, the register is balanced with the total cash amount (cash sales plus the float), and any excess cash is deposited into the bank. The cash register then starts the next workday with the same fixed amount of float cash.

3. Travel Advances: Companies often provide employees going on business trips with travel advances. This is a predetermined amount of money given to the employee to cover their travel and business-related expenses. Similar to the imprest system, the employee uses the advance to pay for their expenses and must provide receipts and documentation upon their return. If the employee has funds remaining from the advance, they will return it to the company, but if they have spent more than the advance provided, the company will reimburse the employee only for the amount documented through receipts. Essentially, the travel advance operates as an imprest system by setting a fixed amount for business trip expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an imprest system?

An imprest system is a financial management process used by organizations for controlling and monitoring expenses, especially petty cash disbursements. It involves maintaining a fixed balance of funds, with payments made from this balance and subsequently topped up to restore the original balance.

How does the imprest system work?

The imprest system works by allocating a fixed amount of cash for various expenses, such as office supplies or travel reimbursements. When the cash is utilized for these expenses, receipts and expense vouchers are collected and logged against the imprest account. Once the petty cash funds are depleted, the total expenses are accounted for, and the funds are replenished to the original balance.

What are the benefits of using an imprest system?

The imprest system offers several benefits such as simplified budgeting, clear expense tracking, reduced risk of fraud, and improved financial control. By allocating and replenishing a fixed amount of funds, organizations can better manage expenses and ensure that all transactions are accounted for and properly documented.

When should an organization consider using an imprest system?

An organization should consider implementing an imprest system if it frequently handles small, miscellaneous expenses that require quick and easy access to cash. The imprest system ensures that these expenses are monitored and accounted for and reduces the risk of mismanagement or fraud.

What is a petty cash imprest system?

A petty cash imprest system is a type of imprest system that specifically deals with small, miscellaneous expenses within an organization, such as office supplies, travel reimbursements, or postage. It operates by maintaining a fixed amount of cash for these expenses, with proper documentation and reconciliation processes to ensure accurate financial records.

Is the imprest system suitable for all types of organizations?

The imprest system can be beneficial for organizations of various sizes and industries, as it provides an effective method to track and control small expenses. However, it may not be suitable for every organization, depending on its specific needs and financial management processes. Organizations should evaluate their expense management requirements before deciding if the imprest system is the right fit for them.

How can the risk of fraud be minimized in an imprest system?

To minimize the risk of fraud in an imprest system, organizations should establish clear guidelines for cash handling, ensure that all transactions are well-documented, and perform periodic audits and reconciliations. Providing staff with training on the imprest system and enforcing strict authorization protocols can also help reduce the risk of fraudulent activities.

How often should the imprest account be replenished?

The frequency of replenishing an imprest account depends on the organization’s specific needs and cash flow requirements. Typically, the account is replenished when the petty cash funds are depleted or when a pre-determined period has passed (e.g., monthly or quarterly). Regular replenishment ensures that adequate funds are available for necessary expenses and allows the organization to review and account for the expenses in a timely manner.

Related Finance Terms

  • Petty cash
  • Cash float
  • Reimbursement
  • Expense management
  • Accounting controls

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More