University of Minnesota  Procedure

Adjusting/Correcting Payroll Accounting Transactions on Sponsored Projects


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

  1. Determine the payroll adjustment being initiated and if it is allowable

    Payroll refers to salary and fringe transactions processed in either the Enterprise Financial System (EFS) general ledger or the Human Resource Management System (HRMS). Adjustments must be processed timely.

    Transaction Type:

    • Change in effort percentages: Payroll distribution totals, expressed as a percentage of an employee's wages, must agree with the effort certification statement. It is important that the transfer is made in compliance with sponsor terms and conditions and, for projects that are ending, made before project period end.
    • Refer to Administrative Policy: 
      Effort Certification
    • Adjusting payroll for faculty in the nine/twelve (9/12) program: To keep payroll distributions consistent with the appointment, it is necessary to adjust the expense on a biweekly basis after the original salary has been posted.
    • Refer to the Following Resources: 
      9 Over 12 Payroll Adjustment

    Allowable Guidelines / Criteria:

    • Negative expenses must not be created. Expenses should have been recorded before they can be moved.
    • The account value must reflect the nature of the expense and the function must reflect the purpose of the expense.
    • To move an expense to a sponsored project, additional criteria must be met
    • Under most circumstances, expenses incurred before the sponsored project was established cannot be transferred to the sponsored project.

    Refer to Administrative Policy: Charging Sponsored Costs Outside the Award Period

    • The expense cannot be moved from one budget period to another solely to avoid overdrafts (as determined by sponsor regulations).
    • The expense must be allocable as a direct charge to the project. If the expense did not provide a benefit to the project, it cannot be charged to the project.

    Refer to Administrative Policy: Direct Costs on Sponsored Projects, Charging of Facilities and Administrative/Indirect Costs to Sponsored Projects

    • The expense must be an allowable project expense, as defined by University policy, sponsor's policies, and the terms and conditions of the award.
    • Sponsored projects cannot be used as a "holding" or "clearing" account for redistribution of expenses to other Chartfield Strings.
    • An expense from any project in overdraft status cannot be moved to another sponsored project for the sole purpose of eliminating the overdraft.
    • The expense cannot be moved to a project having unexpended funds for the sole purpose of expending the remaining balance.
    • To move an expense from a sponsored project (i.e., to credit a project), when the sponsored project is outside the budget/award period, additional criterion must be met:
      • Notify the SFR accountant, as a revised report/invoice must be submitted to the sponsored, along with return of funds.
      • For closed effort periods, follow the process to re-certify effort.
    • Adhere to proper deadlines, accounting periods, and protocol when moving a payroll expense.

    Refer to:  Cost transfer approval matrix (PDF)

    • Transactions must be processed within 60 days from when the original charge was posted. This applies to expenses incurred during and after the project budget period ends. If the deadline is missed, additional justification and approvals are necessary.
    • No payroll charges may be moved onto a sponsored project more than 12 months after the original charges posted to the General Ledger.
    • No transactions that charge a sponsored project after a final report or invoice has been submitted to a sponsor will be allowed.
    • Retros are reflected on the effort statement one day after the charges appear in the general ledger. Check the calendar on the Office of Cost Analysis's website to see when the last Retro can be processed before the effort deadline. Under most circumstances, Retros processed after the effort deadline are not allowed. If the Principal Investigator and the Department Head submit a properly detailed justification with Certified Approval, the Office of Cost Analysis will consider approving a Retro after this point. If SFR has already submitted the final report/invoice to the sponsor, no Retros moving expenses onto the sponsored project will be allowed.

    Refer to Administrative Policy:   Effort Certification

  2. Initiate and prepare the transaction
    • Prepare a Retro in HRMS.

    Refer to Administrative Policies and Job Aids: 
    Distribution Entry and Retro Distribution (Further information on this topic is on the Payroll Accounting section on the Financial Training web page)
    Effort Certification (for justification and further details)

    If the transaction is being made after the deadline:

    • If the Retro will credit a sponsored project and debit a cost share chartstring, include a reason why the salary and fringe is being transferred and why it is being done after the effort certification period. Re-certification of effort is not required if the charges are being transferred from a sponsored project to a cost share chartstring for the same project.
    • If the Retro will moves charges between a non-sponsored chartstring and sponsored aproject, then effort re-certification will be required. The Principal Investigator and Department Head must write a letter to the Effort Unit in the Office of Cost Analysis that justifies the cost transfer and is approved by the Certified Approver. The justification letter must contain both of the following:
      • A detailed explanation for the salary transfer that states how and why the original charge was not correctly assigned
      • An explanation as to why the transfer was not made before the effort certification deadline.