Award Monitoring

In order to ensure expenditures are appropriate according to the approved budget, and are for the intended purpose of the sponsored project, a systematic review of Banner financial activity is required to verify that all charges and credits are accurate and appropriate.   In addition to the details below, training and resources are available for the PI Report, Reconciliation, Cost Share, and Payroll Certification.

PI Report

The PI Report in Microstrategy displays Banner financial data for sponsored projects. The PI Report provides a summary for sponsored project funds with the ability to view details for all charges including personnel and direct expenditures. There are also Fund by Month, Reconciliation by Fund, and data export options.

Reconciliation

The systematic review of charges and credits posted in Banner against source documents to verify that all charges and credits are accurate and appropriate, and to identify expected charges and credits that have not yet occurred.

Overspent

If the project is overspent at the end of the project, all over expenditures will need to be moved to a non-sponsored source of funding. If a PI does not have sufficient funds to cover the over-expenditures, covering the overspent amount will be the responsibility of the unit or college.

Cost Sharing

Cost Share is the portion of project expenditures related to a sponsored project that is contributed by parties other than the sponsor, and not directly charged to the sponsored fund.  See University Policy Number 4016.

Types of Cost Share include:

  • Mandatory Committed (tracked and reported to the sponsor) – required by the sponsor and is therefore referenced in the proposal by dollar amount and type.
  • Voluntary Committed (tracked and reported to the sponsor) – not required by the sponsor, but is still referenced in the proposal by dollar amount and type. Becomes mandatory if project is awarded.
  • Voluntary Uncommitted (tracked internally, but not reported to the sponsor) – not required by the sponsor, not mentioned or referenced anywhere in the proposal.

Cost Sharing must be proposed, approved, administered, and accounted for in a consistent and prudent manner. This includes understanding workload implications of the cost share commitment, determining when cost sharing is appropriate, and accurately recording and reporting cost share expenditures.

If a sponsored project includes cost share, use the appropriate non-sponsored organization number, with the cost share activity code provided in the project’s OSP award letter, to charge and track cost shared expenditures for the life of the award.

Cost sharing Represents Real Costs to Mason

  • Cost sharing represents a redirection of University resources from instruction or other activities to support a sponsored project. The PI, department chair, college dean or director, and other administrators should carefully weigh the cost-effectiveness and the expected benefits of cost sharing prior to making the commitment in a proposal.
  • Effort committed may not exceed that allowed by the faculty or staff member’s appointment.

Cost Sharing Activity Code
A six digit activity code will be assigned to labor budgets and direct expenditures to record committed University contributions to a sponsored project or program.

Required Process

  1. OSP reviews new award and requests an activity code be established if cost share is required on project. The activity code will start with 00XXXX (for Federal Awards), 99XXXX (for Non-Federal Awards), or SCXXXX (for Salary Cap). The last 4 digits of the activity code align with the last 4 digits of the project fund number.
  2. The activity code is used to establish a budget in banner along with the org. number allocated for cost share in the proposal.
  3. Departmental liaison is notified by email of the activity code and budget information for the new award.
  4. Department is responsible for submitting paperwork to charge the appropriate cost share expenditures to the activity code.
  5. OSP reviews these accounts and sends out a monthly report, highlighting projects ending in 6 months or less with less than 50% of cost share requirement met.
  6. Department is responsible for monitoring, reconciling and accounting for all required cost share.

Useful Resources

Payroll Certification

Payroll Certification is a project-based method of certifying effort on federally sponsored projects to certify that salary charges are reasonable in relation to work performed.

Committing & Tracking Effort, and Payroll Charges

  • Proposed effort should be an accurate reflection of the amount of time to be spent on the project. Summer salary should be for time to be spent in the summer; otherwise academic year salary should be included. All projects require a portion of PI time to be charged to the project or tracked as committed cost sharing using an activity code.
  • Effort commitments are requirements of the award and shifts in PI and key personnel effort should be reviewed closely. The absence of the PI for more than three months or reductions of PI effort by 25% or more of budgeted salary requires prior sponsor approval.
  • Committed cost sharing must be tracked with an activity code to ensure it is included on payroll certification reports. This includes cost share committed in the original proposal or post award adjustments, when effort is being moved from sponsor funding to cost share.
  • Effort not related to a sponsored project should be charged to non‐sponsored funding sources. For example, time spent writing proposals should not be charged directly to a sponsored fund. PI’s effort should not be charged 100% to sponsored projects.
  • PIs need to be aware of sponsor/award specific requirements and take necessary actions when proposing and/or charging effort.  For example, NSF limits charges for senior personnel to a maximum of two months in any one year, and NIH imposes a salary cap (Executive Level II salary is $185,100 effective January 10, 2016); salary in excess of the cap must be charged as cost share.
  • PIs must monitor project activity on a regular basis and ensure shifts in effort of project staff are accurately updated in the financial system. PIs should communicate regularly with departmental administrators responsible for submitting funding change paperwork to ensure changes are processed in a timely manner.

Certifying Effort and Payroll Charges

  • Payroll certification reports need to be reviewed closely, and if adjustments are required the necessary funding changes need to be processed. Approval and certification is required within 30 days of receipt of the payroll certification report.
  • Effort not related to a sponsored project should be charged to non‐sponsored funding sources. For example, time spent writing proposals should not be charged directly to a sponsored fund. PI’s effort should not be charged 100% to sponsored projects.

Procedure for Generating Payroll Certification Reports;

  1. Payroll Certification Reports will be generated 60 days after the last day of the month for the project anniversary date, or project end date, whichever is sooner.
  2. Reports are distributed to the payroll certification liaison within each department.
  3. The payroll certification liaison works with principal investigators to obtain approval, then submits the approved reports to OSP.
  4. The reports must be returned to OSP within 45 days of distribution.