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Cost (Expense) Transfers Overview

Find information about cost (expense) transfers (payroll and non-payroll).

Please be advised that our ENPET system automatically generates status notices around the 20th of each month when documents have not acquired final approval.  

All cost (expense) transfers (EPETs & ENPETs), journal approvals, and requests for assistance are reviewed on an as received basis. 

As long as the document has been received by OPAFS by the “Date Due to OPAFS for Final Approval” the document is guaranteed to receive final review, and/or approval, by the close of the accounting period.

If you have any questions about why you are receiving the email please refer to the ENPET Purge Process.

For any EPET or ENPET system related issues, or extramural fund (EMF template) cost transfer questions that cannot be answered by your department's financial manager (Director, DBO, MSO), please contact the Cost Transfer Help Desk

Thank you for your patience as we respond to your requests as quickly as possible.

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Overview and Deadlines

An cost (expense) transfer occurs when expenses are moved from one accounting distribution to another after they have been recorded in the operating ledger. If your job duties include processing cost transfers, you must follow specified procedures to fulfill federal, state, and UC requirements. Explanation to all cost transfers must be simple and succinct. High Risk cost transfers must include answers to the following 4 questions. 

  1. How did the error occur?
  2. What is the benefit of moving the effort (salary/payroll) or non-payroll expense to the transfer TO fund? (An EPET moves salary to match effort.) Provide specific descriptions of items being transferred.
  3. If the transaction is over 90 days for NIH and 120 days for all other funds from the date the expense originally posted to the ledger, address the untimeliness. Why is the expense being moved so late?
  4. What is being done to prevent this type of expense transfer in the future?

Low Risk cost transfers should include answers to the questions prompted by the system, mainly provide the reason for the ENPET.

Payroll expense transfers older than 24 calendar months are the highest compliance risk. EPETs (Electronic Payroll Expense Transfers) cannot be processed after 24 calendar months and must be processed via a Financial Journal. These expense transfers will ONLY be considered under special circumstances and will require advance pre-approval for processing. Departments may request exception reviews by contacting OPAFS’ Cost Transfer Team by email to CostTransfer@mail.ucsd.edu

Deadlines

The following are important deadlines and dates to remember:

If you are submitting a payroll or non-payroll expense transfer, or journals, to OPAFS, you must submit it — with all required documentation — by the following dates: 

Note: OPAFS Final approval will be granted based upon ensuring federally (and university’s) mandated compliances guidelines are met for all expense transfers and also the monthly volume of all expense transfers

Electronic Payroll Expense Transfer (EPET) deadlines for 2017

Month

Date Due to OPAFS for Final Approval *

(Affecting funds monitored by OPAFS)

Campus Deadline

Upload to UCOP

January 1/20/2017 1/29/2017 1/30/2017
February 2/17/2017 2/26/2017 2/27/2017
March 3/17/2017 3/26/2017 3/27/2017
April 4/14/2017 4/24/2017 4/25/2017
May 5/12/2017 5/21/2017 5/22/2017
June 6/14/2017 12:00 Noon 6/18/2017 6/19/2017
July 7/21/2017 7/30/2017 7/31/2017
August 8/18/2017 8/27/2017 8/28/2017
September 9/15/2017 9/25/2017 9/26/2017
October 10/13/2017 10/23/2017 10/24/2017
November 11/09/2017 11/18/2017 11/19/2017
December 12/15/2017 1/01/2018 1/02/2018
EPET notes:
  • Once a EPET has received final approval and is in a “Pending Upload” status the system does not allow changes or cancellations.  The preparer must wait until the document is loaded to UCOP and then process another EPET.
  • Indexes Must Be Active when the EPET document is posted through the Payroll Upload to UCOP. If you prepare an EPET and inactivate the index, the system will choose the Department's default index and the transfer will not be posted to the intended inactivated index  If an index needs to be active for existing transactions, such as payroll, but you want to prevent new transactions on that index, you can set up an early index inactivation date Early index inactivation will block new payroll distributions from being established in the payroll system, but will not prevent existing payroll.  This is useful for managing expenses for sponsored projects when the end date of the contract or grant is near.

Electronic Non-Payroll Expense Transfer (ENPET) & Journals deadlines for 2017

Month

Date Due to OPAFS for Final Approval *

(Affecting funds monitored by OPAFS)

Ledger

Cutoff Dates

January Jan 27, 2017 February 3, 2017
February Feb 24, 2017 March 3, 2017
March Mar 31, 2017 April 7, 2017
April Apr 28, 2017 May 5, 2017
May May 26, 2017 June 2, 2017
June Jun 30, 2017 12:00 Noon July 7, 2017
July Jul 28, 2017 August 4, 2017
August Sep 01, 2017 September 8, 2017
September Sep 29, 2017 October 6, 2017
October Oct 27, 2017 November 3, 2017
November Dec 01, 2017 December 8, 2017
December Dec 22, 2017 January 5, 2018

* Note: These dates are subject to change.

Authorization

Responsibility that applies to all funds for authorizing cost transfers rests on the following administrative officials:

  • Associate and assistant vice chancellors
  • Deans
  • Department business officers (DBOs)
  • Department chairs
  • Directors
  • Managers (MSOs)
  • Principal investigators (PIs)
  • Provosts
  • Unit heads
  • Vice chancellors

Delegation of authority

If the individuals above wish to delegate their authority, they must designate the delegated official in writing (PDF).

Note: Federal or Federal Flow Thru awards do not have Delegation of Authority (except when moving expense from Federal Demonstration Project (FDP) to FDP). Remember, if the individuals above wish to delegate their authority, they must designate the delegated official in writing (PDF).

Multiple approvals

Different types of awards require different combinations of approvers for cost transfers. Refer to the table below for details on your specific award.

Note 1: Some departments require all cost transfers to be approved by the PI or the department chair. Check your department policies to ensure you obtain the appropriate approvals.

Type of award Approver(s) needed
From non-FDP fund to FDP fund or vice versa Preparer/ financial manager and PI or department chair

From federal to federal (non-FDP)

Preparer/ financial manager and  PI or department chair

From non-federal FDP, or non-FDP

Preparer/ financial manager and PI of department chair

FDP transfer: Between 2 or more FDP awards

Preparer/ financial Manager and PI

Note: PIs may delegate their expense transfer authority to analyst or MSO. The department must keep a copy of the delegation of authority memo on file.

From federal to federal (competitive renewals — PHS only

Preparer/ financial manager and PI

Note:  PIs may delegate their expense transfer authority to analyst or MSO. The department must keep a copy of the delegation of authority memo on file.

From federal to private or state fund Preparer/ financial manager and other departmental authorized signature
From federal to non-OPAFS funds Preparer/ financial manager and other departmental authorized signature
From private to private/ private to non-OPAFS fund Preparer/ financial manager and other departmental authorized signature
Intra-Fund Transfer Preparer/ financial manager and other departmental authorized signature

Note 2: There may be occasions when the PI who is listed in the UCSD financial system may not be the PI who approved the cost transfer.

Some instances are as follows:

  • The co-PI of the transfer TO fund approved.
  • More than on PI is named in the proposal.
  • Research award is a Major Project and has numerous PI's.
  • PI out of town - department chair or co-chair approved.
  • PI is no longer with UCSD and the officially assigned new PI approved.

In these cases, please remember to always include the approver's name and title in the explanation of the cost transfer.

Note 3: A "financial manager" is different from a "fund manager." Within a department, a fund manager has the responsibility for processing and reconciling the financial transactions related to a fund. A financial manager usually holds the position of Financial Analyst or above. A financial manager's responsibilities include reviewing and approving IFIS transactions to make sure they are prepared accurately, completely, and in compliance with UC policies, federal guidelines, and contract-specific guidelines.

Documentation

Individual departments (not BFS-OPAFS [Business and Financial Services-Office of Post Award Financial Services]) serves as the "office of record" for documenting Electronic Payroll Expense Transfers (EPETs) and Electronic Non Payroll Expense Transfers (ENPETs). The originating department must maintain all documentation, justifications, and approvals.

Separation of control

University policy and OMB Circular A-21 require that no one person has complete control over all aspects of a financial transaction.

Please be advised that effective January 1, 2014 all cost transfers and journals must be approved by either the preparer’s supervisor or the Department’s Financial Manager before OPAFS will review and/or approve the document(s).

The following job aids may assist DSAs (Department Security Administrators) - Payroll Expense Transfer Approval Template used when transferring payroll transactions when one or more of the transactions involve an extramural fund and Journal/Non-payroll Expense Transfer Approval Template used when one or more of the transactions involve an extramural fund. Please share this important information with your DSAs (Department Security Administrators).

Policies

Policies that apply to all funds

Policies that apply to sponsored projects funds only

Conditions

After an expense has been recorded in the operating ledger, you may transfer it only under the following conditions and with appropriate documentation and a complete explanation when:

Conditions that apply to all funds

  • You are correcting an error, such as when you discover an incorrect accounting distribution.
  • You are changing the original fund source when required.

Conditions that apply to sponsored projects funds only

  • You can make transfers between closely related funding sources when more than one funding source supports closely related work, as long as the cost is allowable and properly justified.
  • You can make a cost transfer to a new FDP award that is within 90 days of the project start date. These expenses must have been incurred in an unrestricted nonfederal fund prior to UCSD's official acceptance, and in direct support of the award.
  • You can correct an overdraft by moving expenses from an overdrafted fund to an unrestricted funding source.

Ways to avoid

Plan ahead

  • If you manage a contract or grant, anticipate receiving the awards. Ahead of time, complete a Request for Advance Approval form for pending awards to avoid any delays after you receive the awards. Use this form when:
    • The funding agency makes a firm commitment to award the contract or grant.
    • It is essential to advance funds.
    • Other funding exists to cover the risk of a delayed start date or failure of award.

Strengthen financial management control procedures

  • Enhance department review procedures to make sure that payroll transactions are properly authorized, completed, and documented.
  • Reconcile and review the Distribution of Payroll Expense (DOPE) report and ledgers promptly to ensure that charges are accurate, complete, and applicable.
  • Monitor agency budgets and compare them to actual DOPEs and ledger charges and pending and projected expenses.
  • Read the terms and conditions of the award so you know what expenses are allowed.
  • Request timely extensions from the agency if the work is not completed and you need the available funds to complete the remaining work.

Staff are required to completed online training

You can take the 2 tutorials listed below by going to UC Learning Center and typing in "EPET" or "ENPET in the box located in the upper left corner:

  • Electronic Payroll Expense Transfers (EPET) web-based tutorial
  • Electronic Non-Payroll Expense Transfers (ENPET) web-based tutorial

Know the guidelines

Keep current with UC, UCSD, and governmental guidelines:

High risk

If the cost transfer you are processing involves a sponsored project and meets any of the following conditions, it is considered high risk and must be approved by the Office of Post Award Financial Services (OPAFS).

  • The project periods don't match.
    • The original transaction date occurred outside the project period of the fund receiving the expense.
  • The transaction date is too old.
    • The transfer is to or from an NIH award and the original transaction date occurred three or more months ago.
    • The transfer is to or from a non-NIH federal award and the original transaction date occurred four or more months ago.
  • A terminating award is involved.
    • The transferred cost is to a federal fund within the last 30 days of the originating award.
  • The cost was previously moved.
    • The cost is being transferred to a federal fund and was previously moved as an expense transfer.
  • A fund is in an overdraft condition.
    • The cost is being transferred to a sponsored fund that is in an overdraft condition (includes federal flow-through funds).
    • The cost is being transferred from any fund in an overdraft condition to a federal fund.
  • The transfer includes an account code designated as "E."
    • The cost transfer has an unallowable account code (E or error code) for a federal fund.

Payroll expense transfers older than 24 calendar months are the highest compliance risk. EPETs (Electronic Payroll Expense Transfers) cannot be processed after 24 calendar months and must be processed via a Financial Journal. These expense transfers will ONLY be considered under special circumstances and will require advance pre-approval for processing. Departments may request exception reviews by contacting OPAFS’ Cost Transfer Team by email to CostTransfer@mail.ucsd.edu .

Federal contracts and grants

Allowable direct charges

For an expense to be considered an allowable direct charge to a federal award, the cost must:

  • Be reasonable and necessary — the type of action that a prudent person would take under similar circumstances
  • Be required to satisfy the project scope
  • Be allocable to the sponsored project
    • If an expense benefits 2 or more projects in clear proportions, allocate it based on the proportions.
    • If an expense benefits 2 or more projects but the proportions are not clear, use sound reasoning and good judgment to assign the proportions.
  • Receive the same treatment that similar expenses would receive in similar circumstances
  • Conform to limitations or exclusions set forth by federal or campus policy
  • Be budgeted into the award or receive permission from the agency to rebudget to allow charging the cost

No cost  transfers for reasons of convenience

A cost transfer may not be made for reasons of convenience such as:

  • To cover overdraft
  • To avoid restrictions in the original sponsored agreement
  • To dispose of leftover funds

Cost transfers must be timely

Federal agencies dictate varying timeframes by which cost transfers must be made. As a general rule of thumb, cost transfers made 90 to 120 days beyond the date of the original expense will require further justification and may be denied.

More information

For more details on allowable direct costs in federal contracts and grants, see the Policies section of this page.

Training

Complete the Electronic Payroll Expense Transfer tutorial and Electronic Non-Payroll Expense Transfer tutorials at UC Learning Center (login required).

Record retention

Guidelines that apply to all funds

Guidelines that apply to sponsored projects funds only

  • With regard to federal contracts and grants, UCSD must meet both the University of California and the individual award requirements, whichever is longer.
  • In case of audit or litigation before the retention period is up, the retention must be extended until the case has been resolved.
  • If you are responsible for deciding retention periods for federal awards, consider the following:
  • UCSD's general policy says that material related to contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements should be retained the longer of:
    • Five years from the submission of the final financial report (including billing).
    • The resolution of any litigation, claim, or audit
    • The period stated in the award document

Tools

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