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Clearing Salary and Benefit Expenses in Payroll Suspense

Clearing Salary and Benefit Expenses in Payroll Suspense

Each month, if a payroll transaction attempts to post to a chartstring that is not at a posting level, the transaction will route to the Payroll Suspense Account. These payroll transactions are commonly referred to as “in suspense”. To keep the General Ledger and Distribution of Payroll Expense (DPE) report in sync, departments must use a salary cost transfer to move salary and benefits in suspense to a valid posting chartstring. Departments are also responsible for working with their Funding Entry Initiator in a timely manner to correct future position funding distributions and prevent continued suspended payroll transactions.

Clearing Suspended Payroll Transactions to the General Ledger

Central Payroll is responsible for clearing the payroll suspense account so that all payroll transactions are correctly posted to the General Ledger. Departments do not have visibility into postings to the payroll suspense account, either in MyReports or in UCPath. Central Payroll works in close collaboration with departments and Contracts and Grants Accounting to clear suspended payroll transactions. It typically takes two months to completely clear a payroll suspense journal, but the time may vary depending on the number of suspended journal lines and analysis needed for a particular month.

Outlined below are the steps to move payroll transactions that post to the suspense account.

Step 1: Central Payroll identifies funding to clear transactions in suspense.

Non-Sponsored Funding:

  • Following the posting of suspended payroll to the suspense account, the Payroll Office will move the suspended payroll to the employee’s department default chartstring, identified with Project “2222222”.
  • The expense will be moved by the Payroll Office via financial journal. As a reminder, these journal lines do not contain an employee name or employee ID and are grouped by Account on the Transaction Detail Report (TDR).

Sponsored Funding:

  • The Payroll Office provides a monthly report of suspense due to closed projects and activity periods to Contracts and Grants Accounting (CGA). CGA will reach out to departments as needed and provide next steps for clearing suspense back to Payroll.

Step 2: In MyReports, run the Distribution of Payroll Expense (DPE) by Account to identify payroll on Project “2222222”. (This step applies only to non-sponsored funding.)

Step 3: Perform a salary cost transfer (direct retro) in UCPath to move the original expense to a valid chartstring.

  • This will cause the “transfer from” credit using the non-posting Dept ID to suspend.
  • The “transfer to debit” will post to the new chartstring.

Step 4: The Payroll Office will clear the credit that is in suspense by posting it to the same chartstring used to clear the suspense for the original expense.

Sample Typical Clearing Process and Timeline

Month Action


  • An original expense is charged to an invalid chartstring. The July expense posts to the DPE, but the invalid chartstring fails PeopleSoft combo edit and is suspended and routed to the Payroll Suspense Account.
  • The invalid chartstring does not post to the GL and does not display on the TDR.
  • The error is reviewed and an alternate chartstring is identified with the help of the department or HR (response time varies).


  • Central Payroll transfers the suspended payroll to the alternate chartstring via the monthly suspense correction financial journal.
  • Meanwhile, the department works with HR to correct employee distributions so future expenses do not continue to be erroneously charged.
  • The department also processes a salary cost transfer to move the original expenses to a valid chartstring.


  • Credits from the salary cost transfer attempt to post to the invalid chartstring but fail the combo edit again and are routed to the Payroll Suspense Account. Central Payroll transfers the credits to the alternate chartstring provided by the Department or HR.
  • The erroneous payroll “washes” (debits and credits net to zero) under the alternate chartstring, and debits from the salary cost transfer place the expenses on the correct chartstring. All errors are now corrected and resolved, and the payroll is corrected in all related systems.