Cost/Expense Transfers


link to elearning on cost transfers                                                                                                                 

Watch the CORE class on Salary & Cost Transfers (approx. 30 minutes).


A Cost Transfer, also referred to as an Accounting Adjustment, is moving an expense:

  • From one funding source to another 
  • From one Spend Category to another 
  • From one Project Cost Accounting (PCA) Code to another

Cost Transfers are an indication that the budget isn't routinely being reconciled.

Cost Transfers should only be done for the following reasons:

  • To correct an error (e.g., an expense was erroneously charged to the incorrect budget or object code)
  • To correct an error when the value of the transaction is greater than $10.00 (See GIM 15)
  • To re-allocate expenses where the expense can only be initially coded to one or a few budgets (e.g., rent)

A Cost Transfer is not:

  • A financial management tool to be used to move costs for budgetary convenience
  • A means to temporarily post costs on a sponsored budget until a budget number becomes available

For complete Cost Transfer guidelines, see our Summary of Cost Transfer Guidelines page.

Cost Transfers and Risk

Cost Transfers are considered high risk transactions, as they may be an indication of weakness in a department’s Internal Controls. For example, Cost Transfers completed more than 90 days (3 months) from the original transaction date are typically an indication that the budget has not been reviewed/reconciled in at least 3 months.

See Why Cost Transfers Are High Risk for more information on Cost Transfers and associated risks.


UW's GIM 15 – Transfer of Expenditures Between Budgets states:

Cost transfers into a sponsored program budget must be made within 90 days of when the error is discovered. If, however, the transfer is requested more than 120 days after the transaction date, an explanation for why the transfer is late must be included.

Federal Regulations: 2 CFR 200.405 Allocable Costs states that cost transfers cannot be used to:

  • Reallocate expenses to overcome fund deficiencies or utilize unused funds
  • Avoid restrictions imposed by federal statutes, regulations, or terms and conditions of the federal awards

​Process and Documentation

Cost Transfers are completed in Workday.

Cost Transfers and Workday Cutover

After 7/14/23, salary (and cost) transfers impacting pay periods ending 6/30/23 and prior will need to be done using a Journal Entry in Workday. This process cannot be done in MyFD after 7/14/2023.

Please see the following instructions on processing Pre-Workday Expense Transfers:

Accounting - Pre-Workday Expense Transfer Process (

Important for Pre-Workday faculty salary transfers:

Pre-Workday salary transfers that affect faculty salary on Sponsored Awards must also follow a manual process to update the Faculty Effort Certification ("FEC").

Contact to initiate the manual FEC process.

If you have cost transfer questions that do not impact sponsored awards, submit a ticket via UW Connect Finance (available beginning 7/6/23). To learn more, refer to Customer Support.

Post Award Fiscal Compliance email:

For questions and issues relating to Effort Reporting, email:

Login to ECC

Powered by Drupal