ELearning tutorial on Cost Transfers


A Cost Transfer (also referred to as an Expense Transfer) is moving an expense:

  • From one budget to another 
  • From one Object Code to another 
  • From one Project Cost Accounting Codes to another

Cost Transfers are an indication that the budget isn't being routinely 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, etc.)
  • To correct an error when the value of the transaction is greater than $10.00 (policy)
  • Re-allocate expenses where the expense cannot initially be coded to one 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 in a sponsored budget until a budget number becomes available

Click here for summary Cost Transfer Guidelines.

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 budgets 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 states:

Cost transfers into a sponsored programs 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.

See the Documenting Cost Transfers in MyFD for more information.

Federal Regulations: (2 CFR 200.405 (c)state that cost transfers cannot be used to:

  • Reallocated expenses to overcome fund deficiencies (over-budget) or utilized un-used funds (under-spending).
  • Avoid restrictions imposed by federal statutes, regulations, or terms and conditions of the federal awards.

​Process and Documentation

Cost Transfers are completed using the My Financial Desktop (MyFD) application. Click here to learn more about preparing Cost Transfers using MyFD.

It is important that Cost Transfers are well documented whether processed through MyFD or through FASTRANS.  Click here for more information on Cost Transfer Documentation.

Cost Transfer Data Analytics

Data Analytics is the process of reviewing expenditure data for identification of unallowable costs and high risk practices.  On a routine basis, a list of high risk Cost Transfers are received by the Post Award Fiscal Compliance Office and a trend analysis is done.  The report and trend analysis is distributed to campus for their review and action to address trends that indicate a potential weakness in documentation standards and/or internal controls.  Click here for more information on the Cost Transfer Data Analytics Program.