Cash Advances Procedure

Approval Authority: Associate Vice-Principal, Finance

Date Initially Approved: January 12, 2015

Date of Last Revision: March 2023, February 2019

Date of Commencement: February 2017


The purpose of this procedure is to describe the university processes around cash advances.

General Information

Queen’s University has a Travel Credit Card (TCard) available to Faculty and Staff, to reduce the financial burden of travelling on Queen’s University business.  No cash advance should be requested for travel costs that could be processed on a Queen's University Travel Credit Card (TCard).  These cards are used for incurred expenditures related to business travel while travelling on behalf of the University, including costs that are booked and charged in advance, such as hotel and airfare costs. This is the preferred method of payment for full-time employees who travel regularly at Queen's. Refer to the TCard page on the Strategic Procurement Services website for information on and/ or to apply for a TCard.  Requests for a cash advance pertaining to travel costs that could be paid for by TCard will be returned to Claimants to be processed in that manner.  In cases where the claimant is a new employee, and/or does not yet have an Individual TCard, it may be possible to put the cost(s) on a Department TCard.  In the case where there also is no Department TCard available to the claimant, an advance may be approved, if proof that the Claimant has applied for a TCard for future costs is attached to the Request for cash advance.  

Cash advances are available to cover expenditures in excess of $1,000 that cannot be processed on a TCard. A cash advance is a cash payment to an individual to cover future expenditures after all other University payment options have been examined. Cash advances may only be requested through the University's Expense Reimbursement System (ERS) and must be repaid if a fully authorized claim for expense reimbursement does not follow within 15 days of the associated end date.  The end date for travel advances is the return date for that travel.  For Research Participant payments and Indigenous Elder/Participant payments the end date is the last date where said cash amounts were disbursed, and for course fees, it is the expected completion date of the course.

Individuals may request a cash advance for one of the following four situations:

  1. For Travel – a TCard must be used except in the exceptional circumstances where that is not possible.  In these limited situations, a travel advance is a loan given to a claimant to cover out-of-pocket costs of approved business travel;
  2. Research Participant Payment Advances - funds used to pay research participants; and
  3. Indigenous Elder/Participant Payment Advances - funds used to provide cash disbursements to indigenous elders and/or indigenous participants for their input and/or knowledge (see Procedure of Payments to Indigenous Elders / Participants).
  4. Course Fees – a cash advance is available to pay for course fees in an instance where a Procurement Credit Card (PCard) could not be used for the course prepayment.  

It is advisable to request a lesser amount than the estimated expenses as any overpayment is considered a debt owing the university and must be repaid.

Claimants with overdue cash advances will have any additional requests for cash advances denied.


Step 1: Requesting a Cash Advance

Who How
Claimant   Cash advances are only available for travel in exceptional circumstances where use of a TCard is not possible, but may be requested for the other three matters listed above. Claimants must determine and justify the amount of the cash advance required. Instructions on how to use the ERS to request a cash advance can be found under the Cash Advances section here: Financial Services –Travel and Expense Reimbursements.
Approver The Approver should review the request for cash advance to ensure the request is reasonable and the departmental or unit budget has adequate funds available.  If the advance request is for a travel cost which could be paid for on a TCard (e.g. hotel or, airfare costs), then the request should be returned to the Claimant with instructions to do so.
Financial Services Financial services will review the cash advance request to ensure that the information is accurate and approved. Incomplete requests for a cash advance will be returned to the claimant. Financial Services strives to process all requests for advances within 5 business days from receipt. Incorrect or incomplete information will delay processing. The banking system may take 2-3 days to settle electronic funds transfer payments.

Step 2: Clearing/Repaying a Cash Advance

Who How

Claimants are responsible to repay Queen's university for all amounts not fully supported by an authorized request for reimbursement.

If a cash advance is no longer required (for example, because a trip was cancelled), claimants should immediately return the funds by providing a cheque payable to Queen's University to Financial Services. To ensure the cheque is accurately processed, claimants must fill out a Cash Advance return receipt.  This must be submitted with the cheque payment, where it will be signed by Financial Services as proof of repayment. A copy of this form can then be submitted as a ‘Cash Advance Return’ on the ERS expense claim to account for the advance.  The Cash Advance Return Receipt can be found: Forms | Financial Services

If the amount of actual expenses incurred is greater than the original cash advance, claimants should submit their duly authorized request for reimbursement and request reimbursement of expenses incurred in excess of the advance. The ERS system will require that all related expenses are entered and accounted for and then prompt the claimant to apply outstanding advances to the claim.

If the amount of actual expenses incurred is less than the original cash advance, claimants must return the unused cash advance amount to Financial Services:

Forward a cheque, payable to Queen's University, for the excess amount to the related request for reimbursement. To ensure the cheque is accurately processed, claimants MUST fill out a Cash Advance return receipt.  This must be submitted with the cheque payment, where it will be signed by Financial Services as proof of repayment. A copy of this form can then be submitted as a ‘Cash Advance Return’ on the ERS expense claim to account for the advance. The Cash Advance Return Receipt can be found: Forms | Financial Services. Failure to include this information may result in inaccurate processing of the payment. Submit related expense claim through the ERS. A copy of the Cash Advance Return Receipt signed by Financial Services should be attached as a receipt to demonstrate that the excess amount was repaid.

Expense claims for which advances have been provided will not be processed until the related repayment has been received.

Individuals who wish to repay cash advances in cash must submit the cash in person to Financial Services. Under no circumstances should cash be sent via inter-office mail. Claimants should attach the cash advance return receipt to their claim as proof of repayment of the excess advance.

Individuals who cannot provide a cheque or make the repayment in person may contact Financial Services, and arrange to make the repayment through an Interac e-transfer.  If this is required, please contact, who can arrange for a ‘request for payment by e-transfer’ to be sent to the email address of the claimant


Financial Services 

 Submitted expense claims will be reviewed in accordance with the How to Claim an Expense Reimbursement procedure.

Monitoring and follow up on outstanding cash advances

To provide effective stewardship over university assets, Financial Services monitors outstanding cash advances on a regular basis. The collection of outstanding overdue advances is the responsibility of the associated Department, and will be facilitated by Financial Services.

When an expense claim for which an advance has been provided has not been filed within the required 15 day period, Financial Services will send an e-mail to the claimant on a monthly basis, requesting the claimant to submit either an expense report or repayment of the advanced funds. If still outstanding, the Approver of the advance request (and/or Principal Investigator if applicable) will be copied in on the monthly emails starting with the second month.  These will be escalated after that to the associated Business Officer, followed by the Department Head/Principal Investigator as required.

No further travel advances will be provided until the advance in question has been settled.  Any outstanding overdue cash advance amounts will be deducted from other expense claims submitted by the claimant where possible.

Any such overdue advances that are not accounted for within 6 months after return date of travel will be charged to the associated Department in the expense account for bad debts, in the Operating Fund.



Contact Officer Associate Director, General Accounting
Amendment Date March 2023
Date for Next Review September 2025
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy

Hospitality Policy

Travel Credit Card Policy

Travel Credit Card Procedure

Procurement Policy

Perquisite Policy

Procedure – How to Claim an Expense Reimbursement