Custodian Funds

Used to manage departmental cash flows and pay research participants.

Funds are administered by a UW–Madison employee known as a custodian, who is responsible for monitoring the fund. There are two categories of funds: Business and Research. Within these two categories of custodian funds, there are a total of eight types of custodian funds.

Common tasks and roles


Common tasks for each custodian fund depend on the fund type. All the necessary tasks, including instructions and required forms, are laid out in each custodian fund’s corresponding procedure.

Open a custodian fund

Steps to open a custodian fund will vary based on fund type, but generally the first step would be to request a NR number.

See the corresponding custodian fund’s procedure for more information.

Maintain a custodian fund

Task will vary according to the type of custodian fund, but common tasks include reconciling and, if necessary, replenishing.

See the corresponding custodian fund’s procedure for more information.

Close a custodian fund

At the end of a custodian fund’s allowed timeframe or use, there are various required steps to close the fund.

See the corresponding custodian fund’s procedure for more information.

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The Accounting Services – Cash Management team will process custodian funds requests and help oversee all custodian funds, but each fund type has School/College/Auxiliary Business office individuals who serve in required roles to monitor and maintain fund. There is at least a Custodian role for each fund, but not all roles are required for each fund type.

Everyone in these roles must be a UW–Madison employee.


Responsible for monitoring the custodian fund.


Responsible for performing reconciliations and, if necessary, replenishments.


Responsible for enrolling participants and for loading participant payments to reloadable debit cards the appropriate recipient. The Coordinator is also responsible for ensuring all payments are logged and accounted for.


Responsible for writing and signing checks to the appropriate recipient. The signer is also responsible for ensuring all checks are logged and accounted for.

Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)

When opening a Custodian Fund, each role will need to understand the responsibilities involved, which are documented in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).



Financial Information Management
Accounting Services

21 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53715


(608) 263-2450