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Imprest Accounts

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Imprest Accounts

An Imprest account is a bank account that can be used for small items of expenditure for supplies and services. It is for Schools that do not have a local bank account ie non cheque book schools.

A request for a new account must be made by the head teacher by email to the Finance Service Desk financeservicedesk@buckscc.gov.uk an application form will be sent to complete and if approved an account will be set up using County’s local bankers. However it may be more beneficial for schools to opt for a Purchase card instead.

The account can be cheque only or have a cash float held in school. However schools should be wary of having large quantities of cash on the premises, which should be kept locked and secure INSERT LINK

If a credit open arrangement is required (ability to cash imprest cheques at Lloyds branches only) an application by email needs to be made to the Finance Service Desk. A presenter (not a signatory) can also be added to the account.

Cheques should be signed by a minimum of two signatories.

The account holder is normally the head teacher and the finance officer, bursar or administrator deals with the day to day transactions. 

Financial regulations and financial instructions must be followed at all times

What an Imprest Account should be used for:-

  • Where suppliers will not permit retrospective payment for an invoice (however a purchase card can often be used for an on line payment)
  • To reimburse staff for small items of expenditure.

Imprest accounts should not be used for:-

  • Normal invoices from suppliers-payment should be made via FMS
  • Payments to individuals for work carried out within school-individuals need to be set up as a creditor
  • Employee related costs-payment should be paid via expenses
  • Receipt of Income-income should be paid into the school budget only.
  • Payment to other schools-for non cheque book schools a journal will need to be raised by the school incurring the expenditure and for cheque book schools using the schools creditor number via FMS.

How is it managed?

  • Using SIMS FMS please refer to your ICT provider
  • Claims for reimbursements should be made monthly or when payments from the account have been made.
  • The reimbursements (top up payments) are made electronically via the AVCO File transfer to the SAP interface.
  • The reimbursement file amount is uploaded overnight  into SAP and paid into the school’s imprest bank account on the next available BACS run,
  • Schools operating an Imprest account should note that the Imprest account shall be the personal responsibility of the Imprest holder who may be required by the Head of Finance to make good any deficit in the account
  • The Imprest holder must ensure the account is never overdrawn-if this is anticipated the Finance Service Desk must be notified immediately so that temporary arrangements can be made.


  • Evidence for payments should be either a receipt voucher, invoice or copy of covering letter
  • Cash reimbursements require a petty cash receipt to identify the payment.
  • Vat must not be claimed unless an appropriate VAT receipt is received with the suppliers VAT registration number identified. INSERT LINK
  • The original documentation (System reports, Vouchers/receipts) should be kept at school, these form a part of the source documents and are required for Audit purposes. The length of time for source documents should be kept is in the Financial Regulations FI 9 Value Added Tax (Word)
  • A record of payments and receipts must be kept.  The simplest way of achieving this is to keep (i) copies of reimbursement claims submitted, and (ii) the remittance advice which accompany reimbursement by BACS transfer.
  • The Imprest holder must sign the reports produced from SIMS FMS system before the electronic file is sent. Supporting vouchers and reports must be retained in school.


  • You should reconcile your Imprest account on a monthly basis
  • The reconciliation should be a simple process of balancing the bank balance, unclaimed expenditure, any cash in hand and unpresented cheques back to the amount of the advance.
  • At year end you will be required to provide a balanced reconciliation to County on a provided  template. This is usually in February see year end timetable (Word)
  • Out of date & lost cheques must be dealt with accordingly

Changes to signatories

Please complete the change of signatory form for school-imprest and bank accounts  

  • The Imprest account holder (normally the head teacher) will need to sign the form under ‘budget holder’.
  • If the current account holder is unable to sign the form or a new head teacher is being added the form will need to be signed by the Chair of Governors or Head of Finance committee. A change of account holder will need to advised on the form.
  • Please ensure the school’s DFE name & Imprest account number is included on the form. 
  • The bank will only accept original documents so it will need to be sent to the Finance Service Desk.
  • When received the Finance team will arrange for County authorisation and will raise a support works call to the school to confirm receipt and that it has been sent to the bank to action.
  • The bank will normally make the changes within 7-10 working days and should notify the relevant local branch.
  • Once the bank have confirmed the changes have been made the Finance team will advise the school.
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If you have any further Imprest queries please email:

financeservicedesk@buckscc.gov.uk or ring:

01296 382222 (Option 2)

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