Cost Transfers

A cost transfer is a reassignment or transfer of an expense that was previously recorded elsewhere in the general ledger. Cost transfers receive additional scrutiny when the expense is being transferred onto a federal award since these transfers must comply with OMB Uniform Guidance. Department/Local Level Managing Units must comply with Harvard’s Cost Transfer Policy to ensure sponsored expenditures are: 

  • Properly allocated 
  • Corrected when posting errors occur
  • Removed when unallowable 

Department/Local Level Managing Units must follow local procedures for reviewing, approving, and posting adjustments in the general ledger. The “Transaction Types and Cost Transfer Form Requirements” section of the Cost Transfer Policy and Cost Transfer Summary Flowchart assist with making a determination on whether a Cost Transfer Form is required. If the adjustment will result in a cost transfer to a federal award AND meets the criteria for requiring a Cost Transfer Form, a Cost Transfer Approver will need to review and approve the cost transfer prior to posting the adjustment in the general ledger, as outlined in the Cost Transfer Procedures.

There are two types of cost transfer which require varying levels of approval: 

Under 90 Day Cost Transfers – require approval by a Department, School or OSP Approver

A Cost Transfer Calculator is available to determine if a cost transfer is over or under 90 days.