Payroll Cost Transfers

Policy Date: April 2017     Revision: 4     Last Review: March 2017

On occasion, it may be necessary to retroactively correct or change a University account number charged for a payroll expense (i.e., payroll cost transfer). Reasons for a payroll cost transfer may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Personnel effort has changed from what was initially expected and set up on a Payroll Action Form (PAF); therefore, the incorrect payroll charge account needs to be credited and the correct account charged.
  • The award account was not issued in time for payroll charges, and salary was initially charged to a department account which now needs to be credited and the correct account charged.


When it becomes necessary to retroactively correct or change a University account number previously charged for a payroll expense, the Request for Change of Payroll Charge form (PR-45) should be completed and submitted with appropriate approvals directly to the payroll office. If the charge involves changes to a sponsored project account, the PR-45 form will be forwarded to Sponsored Projects for review and approval. The payroll office will use the approved document to process a payroll journal voucher.

Transfers Requested After Effort Report Generation

If a payroll cost transfer involving a sponsored project account is requested after an effort report has been generated for an employee, the cost transfer must be initiated in the web-based Effort Reporting System (ERS), not through a paper PR-45 form. The signed cost transfer definition page from ERS must be submitted to Sponsored Projects in lieu of the PR-45.

Late Transfers

As with other kinds of cost transfers, a late payroll cost transfer to a sponsored project account requires additional explanation on a completed Cost Transfer Justification form (SP-6). A payroll cost transfer is considered “late” if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • The transfer request is made 90 days or more after the posting of the expense.
  • The transfer request is made within 45 days of the account end date.
  • The transfer request is made after the end date of the award.
  • The transfer request is made after effort certification.

In addition to the explanation on the PR-45 (or ERS equivalent), a late cost transfer request to move a payroll expense to a sponsored project account must include additional justification on a Cost Transfer Justification form (SP-6). Late cost transfers must address the following:

  • Why the expense was originally charged to the account from which it is being transferred.
  • An action plan to avoid similar late cost transfer requests in the future.
  • The Cost Transfer Justification form (SP-6) must be signed by the PI, chair/director, and dean/VP before being submitted to Sponsored Projects.
  • The PR-45 (or ERS equivalent) and the Cost Transfer Justification form (SP-6) should be submitted together.

Avoiding Future Payroll Cost Transfers

To change an account to be charged for future payroll, submit a revised PAF to the University’s Human Resources or Business Center North Personnel Services by the appropriate cutoff date for the affected payroll.