Cost Accounting Services
What is considered a cost transfer?
A cost transfer is the
assignment of an expense to a sponsored agreement that was
initially recorded elsewhere in the University’s general
ledger. A cost transfer from a sponsored agreement to a
non-sponsored budget is also considered a cost transfer.
Examples are a retrospective payroll distribution change or
a journal entry which moves an existing non-payroll expense
from one sponsored agreements to another sponsored
What is not considered a cost transfer?
Purcard reallocations, inter-departmental billings (IC journal entries) and recoding of expenses on the same sponsored project are not considered a cost transfer. Examples of recoding of expenses are:
A retrospective salary distribution change which maintains the same total % of effort on a sponsored project but changes the fund, source and function chartfields to charge part or all of the effort to a cost share chart string.
A correction to an expense account to properly classify the expense on the same project.
What are the key changes in the new Cost Transfer University Operating Procedure (UOP)?
The Cost transfer UOP includes
important business practices to minimize cost transfers,
improve internal controls, improve timeliness and requires
the use of a standardized cost transfer request form for all
cost transfer requests involving sponsored agreements.
business practices are recommended to minimize
the four cost principles in the University's cost policy in
assessing whether an expense is appropriate or not on a
sponsored agreement, conducting quarterly effort planning
sessions to prospectively allocate payroll correctly the
first time, and using advance accounts to charge
appropriate expenses prior to the sponsor funding the sponsored
agreement are important business practices to minimize cost
transfers. For a comprehensive list of business practices , click
May I charge expenses to a current sponsored project and transfer the expenses to a sponsored project when it is set up in PeopleSoft?
No. A sponsored agreement may not be used as a holding account for expenses that will subsequently be transferred to another sponsored agreement. All expenses must meet the the costing standards of being allocable, allowable, reasonable, and consistently applied in order to be charged to a sponsored agreement. Business practices such as requesting an Advance Account or temporarily charging the encumbrances/expenses to a department suspense account are appropriate methods.
How is a cost transfer accomplished?
Payroll cost transfers
and non-payroll cost transfers have different processes,
documentation requirements and a different central unit which
reviews/approves these two types of cost transfers. However, the
same cost transfer form is required for all cost transfer
Non-Payroll Cost Transfers - A journal entry is processed in the PeopleSoft general ledger. For instructions on how to submit a journal entry, please reference the Journal entry Mini Manual. In addition, all submitted documentation must be attached to the journal. Please reference the journal attachment job aid for instructions on attaching files to journals. Sponsored Project Administration (SPA) is the central unit which reviews/approves non-payroll cost transfers.
Payroll Cost Transfers - Retrospective salary distribution changes, retrospective additional payment distribution changes and wage transfers must be processed in PeopleSoft's Human Resources system. Payroll Services is the central unit that processes the cost transfers and Cost Accounting Services (CAS) is the central unit that reviews/approves the appropriateness of the cost transfer requests. Click here for a one page summary of the Payroll cost transfer processes and required documentation.
Why do cost transfers require a
justification and supporting documentation?
External auditors view cost transfers involving sponsored agreements as a potential internal controls issue. Cost transfers are more rigorously challenged by auditors. A justification with adequate documentation which incorporates sufficient internal controls provide a robust framework to meet the costing standards required by the University's sponsors.
How detailed should the justification be on the cost transfer form?
must include a detailed explanation from which an
independent reviewer can understand the transfer
request and conclude that the expense is appropriate.
A statement that merely states “to correct error” or “to
transfer to correct account” is not sufficient.
Where can I find the official cost transfer form?
cost transfer form is maintained on the Cost Accounting
Services web site. Instructions
on how to complete the cost transfer form are attached to
the cost transfer form. For salary distribution changes, the
cost transfer form is included in the electronic
salary distribution program and must be completed as part
of the electronic salary distribution submission process. For
all other cost transfer requests, the official cost transfer
form is required. Cost transfer forms which are not the official cost
transfer form will not be accepted.
Why are two personnel from the cost
transfer initiating Unit required to be involved in the cost
regulations require that no one person has complete control over
the all aspects of a financial transaction. To comply with this
requirement, the preparer of the cost transfer request and the
unit person approving the cost transfer request may not be the
When are additional approvals required beyond the two personnel involved in the cost transfer requests?The cost transfer form accommodates the following cost transfer approval scenarios at the University.
A Dean's office may require approval of cost transfer requests
A PI may want to approve cost transfer requests which affect their sponsored agreements
For untimely cost transfer requests, the Cost Transfer UOP requires the PI receiving the expense on their respective sponsored agreement to approve the appropriateness of the cost transfer.
For untimely cost transfer requests, the Cost Transfer UOP requires a Vice-President to approve the extenuating circumstances and the Unit's corrective action plan to prevent future occurrences.
How do I calculate
whether a cost transfer request is untimely?
If a unit submits a
cost transfer request more than 90 days after the
original accounting date of the oldest expense
being transferred, the cost transfer is considered untimely. For
examples on how to calculate the timeliness of a cost transfer
What is an acceptable
method to reedit an electronic salary distribution cost
The submitted cost transfer
information in the electronic salary distribution database must
be consistent with the approved documentation. When a change to
a submitted salary distribution cost transfer request which has
not been approved in the system is
appropriate, the acceptable method to reedit is:
- Email email@example.com to obtain the approval to reedit a submitted electronic salary distribution change.
- Revise the salary distribution/cost transfer page in the electronic salary distribution system
- Print the
revised salary distribution cost transfer request forms and
discard previous printer versions
unacceptable ways to reedit a
retrospective salary distribution cost transfer
Any change outside the
electronic salary distribution system is unacceptable. The
following business practices are not appropriate:
- Revise a
retrospective salary distribution change including the cost
transfer tab in the electronic salary distribution system
but process an earlier version of the salary
distribution/cost transfer information for approval.
- Alter the salary distribution
information including the cost transfer form data on the
printed forms of the electronic salary distribution forms.
If an additional pay form (APF) needs a
retrospective distribution change, where do I
obtain a copy of the original processed APF?
Contact the Payroll
Services and request a copy of the original additional pay
form. Mark "revision only" in the appropriate box on the
original processed APF form. Revise both the combocodes and the
chartstring(s) on the copy. Have the employee sign the revised
APF form to ensure the employee agrees with the distribution
change in effort.
Why does the
original submitted payable time detail need to be submitted
for a wage cost transfer?
The hourly time
submission process in PeopleSoft's time and labor system
allocates someone's time and related wages. When the employee
submits and the supervisor approves, the time is certified as
reasonable in relation to work performed on sponsored
agreements. A wage transfer request involving a sponsored
agreement is a re-certification of how the time was allocated. A
signature from someone who has first hand knowledge or suitable
means of verification is required to certify the reasonableness
of the revised allocation of time. Typically, the employee
signature is obtained.
How do I obtain
payable time detail for a wage earner?
Tools>Query>Query Viewer. Run
the UV_TL_PAYABLE_TIME_DETAIL query and download the
results into excel. Describe what the allocation changes of time
and have someone recertify the changes.
What information is requested to identify the revision(s), describe the change request and approve the time changes?
In the excel
spreadsheet, the revisions and expected narrative are as
- Identify how many hours in each day are being revised
- Provide narrative below the downloaded data which clearly describes the revised time involving sponsored agreements
- Identify the
affected sponsored agreements by project number in the
- Add language
such as " I certify " in the narrative
- Identify someone who has first hand knowledge or suitable means of verification of the reasonableness of the revised time. Typically, the employee, their respective supervisor or a Principal Investigator would be the person to recertify a wage transfer request.
- Add the certifier's
name and print out the content in the excel spreadsheet.
- Have the certifier review and certify the printed version of the excel content.
- Run the
uv_pay_ern_dist query and obtain the associated pay for
the original submitted hours
- Email the certified revised time sheet, the associated pay_ern_dist information and the cost transfer form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is an example of
how to identify a revision, describe the requested change and
approve the change.
Last modified January 07 2013 08:54 AM