5. Collection and Security of Public Money

5.1 Introduction

Chapter 5 provides instructions and guidelines for the security of public money, handling of official receipts and procedures involved in examining public money.

Public money refers to all money in the custody of the Commonwealth, under the control of the Commonwealth and money in the custody of any person acting on behalf of the Commonwealth. Public money also includes money held in trust by the Commonwealth for the benefit of a person other than the Commonwealth (eg money held in the Consular Services special account).

When receipting public money collected from the sale of goods or services that are subject to GST (eg publications), a Tax Invoice must be issued.

The department can only retain and spend moneys that fall into three categories:

Other money received by the department must be treated as Administered Receipts.

Refer to FMM Chapter 15.15 (Retaining Money Received by DFAT) for more information.

5.2 Security of Public Money

Instructions

  1. The Finance Manager is to ensure that adequate security arrangements are in force to prevent the loss of public money, stamps and pre-paid vouchers.
  2. The Finance Manager is to provide suitable secure receptacles for the storage of public money so as to ensure that a Cashier, Sub-cashier or Advance Holder has sole access to the receptacle.
  3. In Canberra it is the responsibility of Division Heads to provide suitable secure receptacles for the storage of public money so as to ensure that a Cashier or a Sub-cashier has sole access to the receptacle.
  4. A person responsible for the collection, receipt, custody or payment of money should ensure that adequate safeguards exist for its protection while it is under their control.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Finance Managers
Persons responsible for the collection, receipt, custody or payment of public money

5.3 Appointment of Cashiers and Sub-cashiers

Instructions

Appointment of Cashiers

  1. The Finance Manager, AS FSB, appoints the central Cashier (ie the 'National Cashier') in FSB. All references in this manual to Cashier are applicable to the National Cashier.
  2. A Finance Manager must not appoint a non-DFAT official as a Cashier, including an attached agency official, unless written approval has been provided by the CFO.
  3. A Finance Manager must appoint a Cashier (see Chapter 2) and provide written instructions specifying their responsibilities.
  4. A Finance Manager may establish a Cashier’s cash advance, to be held in the custody of the Cashier, for the purpose of providing change.
  5. A Finance Manager must record the change float advance and any Cashier's advance in the permanent cash advances register and in SAP.
  6. A Finance Manager is to provide the Cashier with a separate receipt book and/or have sole access to a cash register.
  7. A Finance Manager is to record any change float in the permanent advances register.
  8. See Chapter 10 for further instructions on advances.

Appointment of Sub-cashiers

  1. Where necessary, the Finance Manager may appoint Sub-cashier(s) (refer to Chapter 2) to collect public money and issue official receipts.
  2. A Finance Manager must not appoint a non-DFAT official, including an attached agency official, as a Sub-Cashier unless written approval has been provided by the CFO.
  3. A Finance Manager must provide Sub-cashiers with written instructions of their responsibilities, as per letter of instruction. Refer to the FMM Forms folder.
  4. A Finance Manager is to issue the Sub-cashier with separate receipt books or have sole access to a cash register or receipt recording system.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

5.4 Temporary Unforeseen Absences of Cashier or Sub-cashiers

Instructions

  1. Where a Cashier or Sub-cashier’s temporary absence from duty is unforeseen (eg sick leave), the Finance Manager and the person who has been appointed to assume temporary responsibility for the position, should prepare a handover/takeover statement to verify that:
    • in the case of the Cashier's advance, expenditure plus cash on hand agrees with the level of the advance; and
    • for collections, the change float added to the receipts issued since last banking/deposit agrees with cash on hand.
  2. In Canberra when the National Cashier is temporarily absent from duty (eg sick leave) the Director FPT must appoint temporary responsibility for the position and prepare a handover/takeover statement. For Sub-cashier’s it is the responsibility of the appropriate Division Head.
  3. On completion of the temporary period as Cashier or Sub-cashier, the person who assumed temporary responsibility for the position is to prepare a handover/takeover statement with the Cashier or Sub-cashier who has returned to duty.
  4. The Finance Manager should issue written instructions to the relieving Cashier or Sub-cashier.
  5. In the absence of an Honorary Consul or other non-official person Cashier or Sub-cashier, only a departmental employee or another approved non-official person (see Chapter 5 for information on the appointment of Honorary Consuls and non-official persons as Cashiers and Sub-cashiers) can be appointed to assume temporary responsibility for the position.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

5.5 Receiving Public Money

Instructions

  1. The Finance Manager should ensure that, in accordance with the DFAT risk management framework, appropriate controls surrounding the receipt of money are in place to minimise the risk of fraud, misappropriation and other losses.
  2. The Finance Manager should issue written instructions to each person responsible for the collection of public money.
  3. The Finance Manager, in conjunction with the heads of attached agencies at a post, should ensure a schedule of fees is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the point of all fee collections. The schedule should be provided in both the local and the English language, where appropriate.
  4. In the event that a person receives public money in a non-bankable currency* the person must advise the Finance Manager and take reasonable steps to safeguard the money. The Finance Manager must seek advice from the CFO.

    * Non-bankable currency means a currency that cannot be banked or a currency the banking of which would, in the opinion of the FMA Regulation 18 delegate, the CFO or AS FSB, involve significant costs or administrative difficulty.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Finance Manager
Persons who Receive Public Money
Cashier Receiving Money from a Sub-cashier

5.6 Electronic Receipting

Electronic collection facilities allow money to be deposited to an official bank account without passing through the Cashier or a Sub-cashier. Electronic receipting includes credit card collections, Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS), BPay and direct credit to a departmental bank account. Electronic receipting can offer significant advantages in terms of speed and security.

Proposals to introduce electronic receipting facilities (eg EFTPOS) must be approved by the CFO. Refer to FMM Chapter 7.2 for more information.

Instructions

  1. Prepare a business case of the proposal to introduce electronic banking facilities and seek prior approval from the CFO (refer to FMM Chapter 7.2 for more information).
  2. Do not provide a ‘cash out’ facility to clients where EFTPOS is used. Process the amount of the service fee / charge only.
  3. Ensure that direct credit receipts are promptly and accurately brought to account in SAP.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

5.7 Issue of Receipts

Instructions

  1. At posts Cashiers and Sub-cashiers must issue an official receipt for collections of all public money. In the case of paper receipts, the Cashier/Sub-cashier should provide the person paying the money with the original of the receipt and retain the duplicate in the receipt book. See Chapter 5.9 for instructions relating to cash register receipts.
  2. In Canberra and State offices, where money is received from an employee the Cashier may not be required to provide a paper receipt if the payment is recorded immediately into SAP. As proof of receipt of money the Cashier must endorse the Customer Invoice with:
    • the SAP receipt document number - this requires the Cashier to process the receipt journal immediately;
    • the date; and
    • the Cashier's signature.
  3. The Cashier may endorse the associated Customer Invoice immediately upon payment. See Chapter 5.5 for further details.
  4. A paper receipt should be issued if requested by the employee.
  5. The Cashier and Sub-cashier(s) must sign receipts in their own name.
  6. Where circumstances require, the Finance Manager may authorise an employee other than a Sub-cashier to sign and issue receipts on behalf of the Cashier.
  7. Sub-cashiers may use a receipt recording system (eg a cash register system or SAP electronic receipting) approved by the Finance Manager, to record all collections of public money.
  8. Sub-cashiers should transfer all collections to the Cashier for banking at the frequency directed by the Finance Manager, unless formal arrangements for Sub-cashiers to undertake their own banking are put in place. Takings should be accompanied by some form of summary to allow reconciliation. This should take the form of a cash register close-off summary, where a cash register is used. Where a cash register is not used a summary of daily takings giving evidence of the range of receipt numbers issued each day is required.
  9. The Cashier will issue a receipt for the money handed over by the other agency Sub-Cashiers but is not required to examine/check receipt books and/or cash registers. Cashiers should ensure that collections are correctly identified by appropriate SAP GL codes.
  10. The Cashier (or Sub-cashier) must deposit the total of all money collected by the Cashier into an official bank account. See Chapter 6, Bank Accounts, for instructions on the frequency of banking.
  11. The Cashier must record all money collected and banked in SAP to ensure it is credited to the correct area (eg administered revenue, FMA s31 revenue, special account revenue, etc).
  12. The Cashier (or Sub-cashier) must receipt unidentified money as administered revenue. (Refer to Chapter 5.10 for further information).
  13. Cheques receipted by a Cashier that are dishonoured by the bank are to be handled in accordance with FMM Chapter 7.10.
  14. The Cashier/Sub-cashier, if collecting money for the sale of a good or service subject to GST (eg publications), must provide the buyer with a Tax Invoice.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Finance Manager
Cashiers, Sub-cashiers and Other Persons Authorised to Sign Receipts

5.8 Loss, Cancellation or Damage of a Receipt

Instructions

  1. When a receipt book is issued the receiving Cashier or Sub-cashier should check the book to ensure that all receipts are present. The Cashier/Sub-cashier, upon receiving a new receipt book, must sign in the inside cover of the receipt book to confirm all receipts are present.
  2. If a receipt is found to be missing, or the Cashier/Sub-cashier loses a receipt before its issue, the Cashier/Sub-cashier should immediately report the loss to the Finance Manager and take appropriate action to locate the receipt.
  3. Where a receipt is damaged or an error occurred in completing it, the receipt should be cancelled immediately.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

5.9 Cash Registers

Instructions

  1. The Finance Manager should have appropriate controls in place to ensure that access to cash register functions (eg key lock facility/password) is restricted to authorised operators (ie Cashiers and Sub-cashiers) only.

  2. The Finance Manager should issue instructions for the use of the cash register.
  3. The Finance Manager is to ensure that appropriate controls are in place for security of cash drawers (either separate cash drawers or handover statements where there is more than one employee operating the cash register). Only one person should have access to a cash register at any one time.
  4. The Finance Manager should ensure that there is a process for identifying cash register receipts to source documentation. Where possible, cash register validation stamping should be recorded on the document. Where there is no validation function on the cash register the receipt number should be written on the source document.
  5. Cash register receipts should contain the name of the issuing authority, an amount, the date, a serial/receipt number and some form of code identifying the service provided or the GL account code against which the receipt will be credited.
  6. Cash register receipts provided by the Sub-cashier to the Cashier at the time of collection should contain a sequential receipt number which will in turn link it to (and identify) the previous, and next, receipt issued. No gaps should exist between the last official receipt number of the previous collection, and the first official receipt number used in the following collection.

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

5.10 Receipts received by mail

Instructions

  1. The Finance Manager should issue written instructions to ensure that all money received through the mail is promptly brought to account, including the GST component if applicable.

  2. All money received by mail should be actioned in accordance with FMM Chapter 5.16 and should be transferred with the Remittance Register to a Sub-cashier or Cashier for the issue and recording of receipts and the subsequent deposit of the money into the official account. The Finance Manager should regularly review the Remittance Register (eg every calendar month) to ensure items have been receipted.
  3. Where there is uncertainty about the purpose for which a payee has remitted money, the Cashier or Sub-cashier should make a reasoned judgement as to the Agency and revenue code to which the money should be assigned. For example, unidentified revenue should be credited to the relevant DIAC revenue code if the Cashier believes the money belongs to DIAC.
  4. Money received by DFAT but whose purpose cannot be identified must be processed as Administered revenue and returned to the Official Public Account (OPA) by crediting GL code 19200 in Company Code 2000 ‘Unidentified /Found Money’ to transfer unidentified receipts to the OPA. The transactions should include the work unit’s consular/passport receipts internal order. State and Territory Offices should use their consular receipts internal order in Company Code 2000.
  5. If the owner / purpose of unidentified funds is subsequently established, the amount must be refunded using GL code 19205 in Company Code 2000 ‘Refund of Unidentified/Found Money’. The transactions should include the work unit’s consular/passport receipts internal order. State and Territory Offices should use their consular receipts internal order in Company Code 2000.
  6. The Cashier must maintain adequate records of the receipt and subsequent refund (if applicable) of unidentified money.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Finance Manager
Employees appointed by the Finance Manager

5.11 Inspection of Public Money

The proper inspection of public money is one of the most important actions work units can take as a deterrent against fraud.

Instructions

  1. The Finance Manager or an employee appointed by the Finance Manager for the purpose, should examine public money and accountable documents held by officials, including Honorary Consuls. See Chapter 12 for Accountable document policy, including inspections.

  2. Inspections of Working Cash Advances are not required. Refer to FMM 7.17 for more information.
  3. The official appointed to perform the inspection of public money should be independent of the Cashier or Sub-Cashier process.
  4. The Finance Manager is to ensure that appropriate evidence is filed to satisfy an independent check that inspections of public money including collections and cash advances were completed accurately and within the minimum frequency. It is considered better practice for the Finance Manager to ensure that all supporting documentation that can be used to validate the figures on the inspection should be attached and filed appropriately. A form to assist the management of the inspection of public money is available at the Financial Forms and Templates section of the Intranet.
  5. Cash inspections do not include receipts for electronic payments deposited direct to the bank account (e.g. eftpos receipts and direct credits)
  6. The Finance Manager is to ensure that they are satisfied the inspections have been prepared thoroughly and are accurate.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Public money Minimum inspection frequency
Cash advance up to $500 Once every six calendar months.
Cash advance less than $10,000 Once every three calendar months.
Cash advance equal to or greater than $10,000 Once every calendar month.
Cash advance or receipts held by Honorary Consul Once per year by a visiting officer from the supervising mission or more frequently as the Finance Manager deems necessary.
Cash advances held by Minister’s Office During a visit by an appropriate employee as deemed necessary by the Director MEL/EXB.
Cashier's and Sub-cashier’s receipts Once every calendar month.

Action

Receipt books/Cash Registers and Unbanked Deposits
Review of Advances

5.12 Loss of Public Money

Instructions

  1. All people who have nominal custody of public money are personally liable for accounting for that money.
  2. A person has nominal custody of public money if the person holds the money by way of a petty cash advance, ‘change float’ or other cash advance or the person has received the money that has not been banked.
  3. If a person in custody of public money is threatened in any way, under no circumstances should they endanger their own or any other person's safety.
  4. If a loss of public money occurs the loss should be reported as soon as possible to the Finance Manager (or AS FSB in Canberra).
  5. Where the amount of the loss is AUD 2,000 or more outside Canberra, the matter is to be referred to the AS FSB as soon as possible.
  6. The Finance Manager, once aware of the loss, should appoint a person to investigate the loss and provide a written report of the circumstances surrounding the loss (see Action below). The Finance Manager is to determine, in writing, whether the person who had custody of the public money at the time of the loss is partly or wholly liable.
  7. A person is liable to pay the Commonwealth an amount (whole or partial) for a loss of public money where they did not take reasonable steps in the circumstances to prevent the loss, or the loss resulted from misconduct.
  8. Where a reasonable standard of care has been demonstrated by the person and the person has been robbed, the person would not normally be held liable for the loss.
  9. Where the loss is wholly or partly attributable to the actions of the person, a debt should be raised for the amount that the person is found liable for. Thereafter instructions for the recovery of debts apply (refer to Chapter 11.2).
  10. Documentation related to loss of public money including the investigation report, the Finance Manager's determination of liability and any other relevant documentation, is to be retained on file.
  11. Where it is suspected that the loss is the result of fraudulent activity the matter should be referred immediately to the Conduct and Ethics Unit for specific advice.

Procedures

Responsibility

Posts, State and Territory Offices, Passport Offices and Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Office
Canberra

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Person in nominal custody of public money at the time of the loss
Overseas and STO Finance Managers, Finance Manager, Canberra

5.13 Keys and Combinations - Receptacles used to hold Public Money

Instructions

  1. A person entrusted with public money must retain sole custody (with the exception of the copy held by the custodian of duplicate keys) of the keys and/or combinations to a strongroom, safe, cash register, cash drawer or other receptacle used for the custody of public money.

  2. The custodian of duplicate keys/combinations is to maintain the security of keys/combinations in accordance with these instructions and with further instructions issued by the Finance Manager.

  3. The Finance Manager should take into account the frequency with which the combinations of receptacles holding public money are changed.

Procedures

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Finance Manager
Custodian of Duplicate Keys

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