Billing, Financial Reporting, and Closeout

The Billing and Reporting Team is responsible for submitting invoices, financial reports and close out documentation in a timely manner, and in accordance with Sponsor requirements for each award. Technical and/or progress reports are submitted directly to the sponsor by the Principal Investigator in accordance with Sponsor requirements. All invoicing and reporting guidelines and deadlines can be found in the award document, which is provided to the Principal Investigator at award set up.


  • Technical Reports: Most sponsors require technical progress and final reports. Most sponsors require the PI to submit a final technical report within 90 days of the end date of the project. It is the PI’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate technical reports are submitted in a timely manner. For auditing purposes, the PI must keep copies of all reports submitted.
  • Financial Reports: Most sponsors require interim financial reports and a final financial report. Most sponsors require the final financial report be submitted within 90 days of the end of the project. OSP generally prepares and submits the financial reports using expenditures charged to the project fund in Banner. If there are questions regarding project expenditures, OSP will contact the PI for clarification prior to report submission. Since financial reporting requirements may vary based on the project, review the terms and conditions of the project for more details.
  • Records/Data: The University will maintain contractual and fiscal records of sponsored activity for a minimum of five years after the expiration of a project. However, it is the responsibility of the PI to maintain the records of research or educational activities including, but not limited to, raw data, graphs, charts, videos, pictures, recordings, and signed informed consent documents for research with human subjects. It is required that these records be maintained in appropriate data books or other filing systems that are signed and dated by the PI and witnessed by another responsible individual. These records are to be kept accessible to permit inspection by authorized representatives of GMU, the sponsor, or agents of the state or federal government during normal business hours. If the PI leaves GMU prior to the completion of this five year period, the PI is authorized to take photocopies of the data. However, the original data will remain at GMU unless GMU is guaranteed access to the data through mutual agreement.

Grant & Contract Closeout Overview

Closeout is an integral part of and the final step in the agreement life. Award close out procedures are primarily focused on achieving the following goals in accordance with the Sponsor and the University requirements:

  1. Closing the award with the sponsor and submitting all final reports.
  2. Closing the award in our internal financial system (Banner).

The closeout process can usually begin 60 days following the end of the period of performance. However, if the sponsor requests closeout before that time, GMU will comply.

Closing with the Sponsor

In many instances, the sponsor will send a request for closeout documentation, but for the majority of awards the award document must be reviewed carefully to determine what the final reporting requirements are.

In other cases, closeout activities on the sponsor side may not be initiated until several years after the end of the period of performance. In these cases the sponsor will send a closeout package when they close on their end, but we can proceed with closeout process in Banner if everything else is in order and complete closeout documents when they are received.

Final Reporting Requirements

Final reporting requirements vary depending on the sponsor, but typically most federal agencies require final financial, final technical and final patent and property reports.

  • Final Financial Reports
    Final financial reports are typically due at 60 or 90 days after the end of the period of performance but can be due as early as 30 days after the end date. It is crucial that are final expenses are charged to the project in a timely manner to allow for compliance with financial reporting deadlines.
  • Submission of Final Financial Report
    Submission of the final financial report initiates de-obligation actions on the sponsor’s end. Once unexpended funds are de-obligated both GMU and the sponsor lose the funds and this action cannot be reversed.
  • Final Invoices
    Final Invoices are also typically due anywhere from 30-90 days after the end of the period of performance. On cost-reimbursable awards we do not receive the total award amount; we must submit invoices monthly or quarterly based on actual expenditures.  If charges are posted to the project after the deadline for submission of the final invoice we cannot invoice the sponsor for those expenses.
  • Final Technical Reports
    The PI is responsible for completing and submitting any required deliverables and the final technical/progress report by the date stated in the agreement. Copies of final reports and the transmittal letter or e-mail should be forwarded to the Closeout Specialist at OSP. Failure to submit final technical reports can result in the sponsor withholding the final payment and could also affect future funding to the university.

Closing in Banner

In order to close an award in Banner all of the following must be completed:

  1. All cost overruns must be resolved by the department. Journal Vouchers and/or funding change forms should be submitted as quickly as possible to move off any charges exceeding the award amount.
  2. No outstanding invoices. We cannot close the project in Banner until we have received payment for all invoices submitted to the sponsor.
  3. All wage positions must be terminated. Funding change forms should also be submitted as soon as possible for faculty & classified staff to avoid late salary charges.
  4. Submit paperwork to close petty cash accounts if applicable.
  5. OSP will close subcontract encumbrances. As the end of the subcontract agreement approaches,  PIs should remind subcontractors that they must submit their final invoice and closeout documents per the terms of their subcontract agreement.

Firm-Fixed Price Awards

  • Firm-fixed price agreements are reviewed at 60 days after the end of the period of performance.
  • If the balance remaining is less than 15% of the award amount the unexpended funds will be transferred to the PI’s pool org.
  • If the balance remaining exceeds 15% of the award amount, additional paperwork is required. A fixed-price closeout worksheet will be sent to the PI. All questions on the worksheet must be answered clearly & with as much detail as possible. The worksheet must be signed by the PI, the department chair, and the dean or director.
  • If the balance remaining exceeds 35% the form must also be reviewed and approved by the university controller.
  • Once all signatures have been obtained, the remaining funds minus the applicable indirect will be transferred to the PI’s pool org.

File Management

All files in the closeout process are tracked using an excel spreadsheet. The file tracking system is also a useful tool for locating closeout files. When a project is fully closed, the label on the outside of the file should be tagged with the date of closeout. This will assist with determining the retention period. Files are kept on-site for 3 years and then moved to off-site storage for 7 years for a total retention period of 10 years.