The Voucher System of Control

The Voucher System of Control
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A voucher system can be highly effective in helping a small business manage and maintain cash controls. Vouchers not only create an efficient system for making cash payments but also provide for critical aspects of internal control, including segregation of duties, documentation, division of authority and limiting access to cash. A complete voucher system encompasses payments made from both petty cash and accounts receivable by the business to a third party.

Voucher System Components

A voucher system consists of individual pre-numbered vouchers, a voucher register and unpaid and paid voucher files. Individual vouchers can be electronic but are most often paper documents. Regardless, individual vouchers prove a payment transaction was authorized and made. A voucher register, most often in a spreadsheet format, lists open, unpaid vouchers as well as information pertaining to when and how a voucher was paid. For example, if an accounts-payable voucher was paid online, the voucher register will identify the payment as an online payment and include the payment confirmation number. Paid and unpaid voucher files are the locations where vouchers are kept.

Scope of Control

A voucher system of control begins the moment the business incurs a cash payment obligation. In some cases, such as with petty cash, the obligation and payment often occur simultaneously. With accounts receivable, however, several departments, numerous steps and several business documents can be involved the process. In this case, the voucher system serves as a checkpoint to ensure that as a purchase moves through the system that each transaction has the proper authorizations, including a purchase requisition, a valid purchase order and an accompanying payment invoice. In addition, the voucher system of controls ensures that personnel authorized to compile, organize and store vouchers aren’t also authorized to make voucher payments.

Petty Cash Payment Procedures

Petty cash voucher controls ensure no payments exceeding a predetermined amount can be made from the petty cash fund. Pre-numbered vouchers typically include the date of the disbursement, the amount, the name of person receiving the money and the reason for the disbursement. Controls include the general ledger account to be charged and the initials of both the person responsible for creating the voucher and the person responsible for disbursing the money. Although some businesses don’t require a receipt or other supporting documentation for petty cash disbursements under a specific amount, others require any disbursement to include supporting documentation.

Accounts Payable Procedures

Pre-numbered accounts payable vouchers generally require the payee name, discount terms if there are any, the amount and date an invoice is to be paid. Controls include general ledger account numbers to be charged and all required authorization signatures. All supporting documentation is then attached to and remains with the voucher, which is filed until the due date comes near. As the due date approaches, the person responsible for paying the invoice completes a final voucher and documentation inspection. After payment is made, the payment and payment details are recorded, the voucher is stamped as paid and it is filed in the paid-voucher file to prevent a duplicate payment.