Transferring Expenses or Revenue within the General Ledger

The guide explains how to transfer money to  a different UW-Madison department or a different UW institution.

If you are looking to billing another department for goods or services you have have provided, also called internal billing, refer to Internal-department Billing. See Billing different department guide

Understanding Cost Transfers

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Cost or Expense Transfer (after the initial transaction has already occurred)

A cost transfer is done to move expenditures from one fund, department, project, account, amount, etc. to another to ensure the accuracy of the general ledger and data integrity. Funding strings on transactions (invoices, payroll, etc.) should be reviewed before they are posted. However, there are circumstances in which it may be necessary to transfer expenditures.

Here are some examples of typical circumstances in which cost transfers are allowed:

  • Correction of a clerical error
  • Reallocation of expenses where multiple projects benefited
  • Reallocation of shared resource costs
  • Transfer of costs from divisional or discretionary funds to another
  • Reallocation of a salary expense

Why should I avoid cost transfers?

  • Cost transfers represent a serious audit risk as federal auditors have made cost transfers a top priority. Funding strings on invoices, payroll, etc. should be reviewed before they are posted.
  • Impact of incorrect entry/transfer
    • Audit risk
    • Financial period
    • Delay in award closeout
    • Effort Reporting
  • The burden of explaining discrepancies

When should I not use a cost transfer?

  • Do not use to create an interdepartmental billing
  • Do not use to manage your grant balances
  • Do not use to transfer fringe only
    • Exceptions may apply on sponsored projects that do not allow fringe – call your RSP accountant to determine if this exception applies to your grant (Grant accountant Search)
  • Do not use to transfer prior year GPR
  • Do not use to transfer salary account codes -send to Accounting Services
  • Do not use to do salary transfer between appt ID – send to Accounting Services

Types of cost transfer

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Salary and Non-Salary Cost Transfers

Use the Cost Transfer Tool to transfer and process Salary and Non-Salary Cost Transfers. The tool will guide you through the sponsored or non-sponsored process.


  • Salary Cost Transfer (anything that goes through payroll, HRS)
    • Once a Salary Cost Transfer has all of the proper approvals it will be routed to Accounting Services to be processed.  Salary Cost Transfer processed by accounting services before 2pm will show up in WISER the following day.
    • Salary Cost Transfers only involve salary account codes (tuition and fringe will follow automatically)
    • If you have questions about the status of a salary cost transfer please contact
  • Non-Salary (all other expenses, non-payroll)

After a Non-salary Cost Transfer is approved, the system will auto-generate a journal entry, which interfaces through JET (Journal Entry Tool) into SFS (Shared Financial System).  Non-salary cost transfers processed before 3pm will show up in WISER the following day.

Differences between sponsored and non sponsored cost transfers


  • Non-sponsored


      • Only involves non-sponsored funds (for e.g. 101, 136, 150, etc.)
      • Does not require PI approval
      • Does not require RSP approval
      • Regardless of when initial charge posted, it does not require 90 day justification
      • Final approval is at the Divisional office


  • Sponsored


    • Involves at least one sponsored project (for e.g. fund 133, 144, etc.)
    • If this transfer occurs 90 days after the original charge posts, the 90 day justification will be required
    • Requires PI approval for each sponsored project involved in transfer
    • Requires RSP approval (allowability, effort)
    • Sponsored requires Division approval for each sponsored project involved in transfer

How to use the Cost Transfer Tool

The Cost Transfer Tool is the systematic and preferred method to complete a transfer. The tool has several workflows built-in depending on the type of cost transfer you select.

View Cost Transfer Workflow Tool guide

Revenue Transfer

A Receipt/Sales Credit Transfer is used to distribute current and previous year deposited receipts and sales credits to multiple lines of coding and/or funding strings.  It can be processed by an employee on campus with JRR access or by Cash Management.

Receipt/Sales Credit Transfer Form

Budget Transfer

A transfer that involves movement between divisions or changes to major class or program must be submitted to the Madison Budget Office.

Budget Transfers and JET Budget Instructions