You need to hire an individual before the research funding has come in. Here’s how to charge an employee’s salary when the cost object has not yet been assigned.

Learn about suspense cost objects

Suspense accounts are internal order accounts—temporary holding places for salary expenses that do not have a valid cost object at the time of posting. The most common reason for a missing valid cost object is when an employee or student starts working on a new research project before the accounting structure for it is in place. Another reason to use a suspense account is for retroactive changes that are made to salary payments after an account with a term date has been closed.

Internal order charges remain in an account and do not zero-out at the end of the fiscal year.  As a result, these charges appear on the Institute’s General Ledger as assets. However, proper accounting practice requires suspensed salaries to be shown as expenses on the Institute financial reports. This temporary suspense account must be cleared to the appropriate cost center in a timely manner and should have a zero balance at the end of the fiscal year.

Each department should have a salary suspense cost object. Payroll charges that go into suspense for any reason will be charged to the suspense cost object belonging to the employee’s home department, which is the SAP HR org unit attached to the employee’s appointment.

Only payroll salary and wages expenses and the related G/Ls listed below can be charged to the payroll suspense cost objects:

  1. 422310 – Tuition-RA-not MTDC
  2. 422311 – Tuition-Other-not MTDC
  3. 422315 – Fellowship Stipends-not MTDC

List of G/L accounts, including salary and wages

SAP will block all other charges to these accounts.

VPF HR/Payroll has default salary suspense accounts that are used for department charges when the department suspense account is not available.

Transfer charges from a suspense cost object

VPF provides a reconciliation service to departments by generating and sending a monthly suspense report. The password-protected detailed report is emailed to the supervisor/addressee* of each suspense account. It is the department’s responsibility to clear the reconciling items.

Items within the report are color-coded. The department should clear red items immediately and yellow/green items within 60 days of the end of the quarter in which the suspense postings were made.

  • Green: Current month’s charges—clear using eSDS.
  • Yellow: Charges less than 90 days old—clear using eSDS.
  • Red: Charges more than 90 days old—submit a Late Change Request form

In cases when salary charges for an appointment authorized by another DLC go into suspense, it is up to the eSDS administrator of the home department to transfer the suspensed charges to the appropriate suspense depending on where the individual is actually working. SAP will use the suspense cost object of the HR Org Unit attached to the appointment. This will provide visibility of suspensed charges to the administrator in the DLC responsible for clearing the charges.

*The supervisor/addressee for the suspense cost object is the same as the DACCA recipient unless the department requests a different supervisor/addressee. Send requests to for supervisor or addressee changes to vpf-cost-objects@mit.edu.

 

Manage suspense item write-offs

DLCs are responsible for monthly review and timely clearing of outstanding charges for their payroll suspense cost objects. These charges should be cleared within 60 days after the end of the quarter in which the suspense postings were made.

If a department suspense account is not cleared by the end of the current fiscal year, VPF will move all charges from previous fiscal years to the department’s discretionary accounts on file. The financial administrator will be notified at the beginning of June—after the May reconciliation has been completed—about which charges will be moved. If you do not know what the discretionary cost center is, or would like to change it, submit your request to change the cost center used for the write-off to payroll-suspense@mit.edu.

VPF pays special attention to VPF-owned suspense accounts, and if a department’s charges are not cleared within 90 days, VPF will transfer uncleared charges to the department’s discretionary account on file.

If you have questions on suspense accounts, send an email to payroll@mit.edu.

The Details

Learn about suspense cost objects

Suspense accounts are internal order accounts—temporary holding places for salary expenses that do not have a valid cost object at the time of posting. The most common reason for a missing valid cost object is when an employee or student starts working on a new research project before the accounting structure for it is in place. Another reason to use a suspense account is for retroactive changes that are made to salary payments after an account with a term date has been closed.

Internal order charges remain in an account and do not zero-out at the end of the fiscal year.  As a result, these charges appear on the Institute’s General Ledger as assets. However, proper accounting practice requires suspensed salaries to be shown as expenses on the Institute financial reports. This temporary suspense account must be cleared to the appropriate cost center in a timely manner and should have a zero balance at the end of the fiscal year.

Each department should have a salary suspense cost object. Payroll charges that go into suspense for any reason will be charged to the suspense cost object belonging to the employee’s home department, which is the SAP HR org unit attached to the employee’s appointment.

Only payroll salary and wages expenses and the related G/Ls listed below can be charged to the payroll suspense cost objects:

  1. 422310 – Tuition-RA-not MTDC
  2. 422311 – Tuition-Other-not MTDC
  3. 422315 – Fellowship Stipends-not MTDC

List of G/L accounts, including salary and wages

SAP will block all other charges to these accounts.

VPF HR/Payroll has default salary suspense accounts that are used for department charges when the department suspense account is not available.

Transfer charges from a suspense cost object

VPF provides a reconciliation service to departments by generating and sending a monthly suspense report. The password-protected detailed report is emailed to the supervisor/addressee* of each suspense account. It is the department’s responsibility to clear the reconciling items.

Items within the report are color-coded. The department should clear red items immediately and yellow/green items within 60 days of the end of the quarter in which the suspense postings were made.

  • Green: Current month’s charges—clear using eSDS.
  • Yellow: Charges less than 90 days old—clear using eSDS.
  • Red: Charges more than 90 days old—submit a Late Change Request form

In cases when salary charges for an appointment authorized by another DLC go into suspense, it is up to the eSDS administrator of the home department to transfer the suspensed charges to the appropriate suspense depending on where the individual is actually working. SAP will use the suspense cost object of the HR Org Unit attached to the appointment. This will provide visibility of suspensed charges to the administrator in the DLC responsible for clearing the charges.

*The supervisor/addressee for the suspense cost object is the same as the DACCA recipient unless the department requests a different supervisor/addressee. Send requests to for supervisor or addressee changes to vpf-cost-objects@mit.edu.

 

Manage suspense item write-offs

DLCs are responsible for monthly review and timely clearing of outstanding charges for their payroll suspense cost objects. These charges should be cleared within 60 days after the end of the quarter in which the suspense postings were made.

If a department suspense account is not cleared by the end of the current fiscal year, VPF will move all charges from previous fiscal years to the department’s discretionary accounts on file. The financial administrator will be notified at the beginning of June—after the May reconciliation has been completed—about which charges will be moved. If you do not know what the discretionary cost center is, or would like to change it, submit your request to change the cost center used for the write-off to payroll-suspense@mit.edu.

VPF pays special attention to VPF-owned suspense accounts, and if a department’s charges are not cleared within 90 days, VPF will transfer uncleared charges to the department’s discretionary account on file.

If you have questions on suspense accounts, send an email to payroll@mit.edu.