Sponsored Programs Finance Administration and Compliance

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Cost Transfers

A cost transfer is a transfer of an expenditure from one account to another.  You may request a cost transfer on sponsored program accounts only for one of the following reasons:

  • To correct clerical errors.  Correction of typographical errors is allowable provided that the correction is make within the applicable time limits and is fully explained
  • Costs benefiting more than one agreement. When a particular charge to a sponsored program account benefits another agreement, that charge may be transferred to the other agreement provided that: (1) the initial charge could appropriately been made to the other sponsored account, (2) the charge is designated in the approved budgets of both accounts, and (3) a clear justification as to why the charge is appropriate to either of the accounts.

Cost transfers are not allowed for the following reasons:

  • Solely to move deficits from one sponsored account to another.
  • To cover cost overruns.
  • Solely to use up unexpended funds.

Points to Remember Concerning Cost Transfers    

  • Funding agencies view frequent cost transfers, especially transfers made close to the ending dates of awards, as evidence of budget management and accounting problems.  Therefore, cost transfers should be used infrequently, using the guidelines above.  They must also be fully documented and justified.
  • Review your account ledger on a monthly basis to ensure that expenditures are accurate and appropriate. Diligent review should prevent the necessity for transfers.  When errors are discovered, they must be corrected as quickly as possible.
  • Cost transfers completed more than 90 days beyond the end of the month in which the transaction appeared are considered exceptions and require substantial and reasonable justification.
  • All expenses that are transferred must meet the same federal tests for allowability-they must be reasonable, allocable, and consistently treated as a direct costs.

To initiate a cost transfer, complete the Cost Transfer Form and submit to SPFAC.