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Award Management

Chapter Overview

The Sponsored Programs Accounting (Division of Budget and Financial Services) is responsible for the financial management oversight of externally sponsored programs, which includes the preparation and submission of related financial reports and invoices, cash collection, expenditure compliance review, cost transfers, maintenance of accounts receivable and award closeout.  PI is responsible for the Day-to-Day management of the grant/ contract to insure expenses remain within the funding limitations.  Sponsored Programs Accounting is responsible for the development and dissemination of policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of the University and funding agencies. PI/PD must approve all grant expenditures before submitting to Sponsored Programs Accounting. Questions the PI/PD may have regarding the financial management of their sponsored projects (e.g., fund set-up and balances, cost allowability, invoicing, etc.) should be addressed directly to the Sponsored Programs Accounting. 

Your proposal has now been awarded and considered a Sponsored Project, and the following is a "how-to" navigation of the institutional policies, processes, and procedures that govern sponsored post-award management at Pacific.  Many of the questions on the routine day-to-day transactions that will take place during the course of a sponsored project will be answered here. As always, if you have any  questions on your award and award management, contact Sponsored Programs Accounting

Day-to-Day Management of a Sponsored Project

I. Processing Requests for Faculty Payroll, Undergraduate and Graduate Students and Temp/Causal Staff (non-student) Payroll on Sponsored Projects:
Refer to Pacific's Human Resources for information and contact them directly with questions:
       a. Sponsored Project requests for individuals that are not currently employed at Pacific * Information Resource Here 
       b. Sponsored Project requests for individuals who are currently employed at Pacific use the guide to EPAF's and the Grant Position additional handout *, **:  Resource Here 

      • *Appointing a Graduate Assistant: To appoint a Graduate Assistant on a sponsored project, the PI/PD must verify with Financial Aid Office regarding scholarships and graduate assistantships to ensure that all eligibility requirements are met. Contact Financial Aid
      • ** Release Time: If the awarded budget includes academic year or course release time for faculty, Sponsored Programs Accounting works with the PI and the PI's department to charge the grant the appropriate release time for that time period. 

I. Processing Expenditures (non-travel)

a. Supplies

i Lab Material and Supplies:  All material and supplies (under $5,000) on sponsored projects can be purchased by using the university business policies and procedures Procard section or through an reimbursement basis.

b. Equipment: The purchase of a single item of equipment $5,000 or greater, or the purchase of services is governed by using the university business policies and procedures Procurement section. Subawards are the exception to services in this section.  

      • Equipment over $5,000 this is considered a Capital Expenditures for the university. The purchase thresholds and procedures for quote requirements and processes here.

c. Consulting or Contractor Services - If a consultant or contractor is included in your budget, refer to "Vendor Set Up" and select "A guide to Engaging a Vendor for Services" In the university policies and procedures here.

II. Processing Travel Expenses: Review the sponsored award terms and budget to ensure that travel is approved by the sponsor and the budget includes travel funds.

    • Before any travel can take place on a sponsored project, it will be necessary to review Pacific's Business Policy and Procedures, which can be found on the Business and Finance and webpage 
    • Fly America Act: The Fly America Act requires the use of a U.S. flag air carrier service in economy class for all air travel, including travel on grants and contracts funded by the U.S. Federal Government. There are certain exceptions to this rule (e.g., no domestic air carrier travels to your intended destination). Please contact Sponsored Programs Accounting for more information.

Please note that entertainment expenses and alcohol expenses are prohibited under OMB guidance.  Therefore, expenditures for these types of expenses will not be reimbursed from program funds.

Working with Sponsored Programs Accounting on Post-Award Management

As noted in this chapter's introduction, Sponsored Programs Accounting work closely together  with Pacific faculty and staff in carrying out their sponsored project's "day-to-day" activities, ensuring compliance with applicable University policies and federal, state, and local rules and regulations. As a general rule, the PI/PD of a sponsored project will work directly with Sponsored Programs Accounting on the financial aspects of their projects, to include the receipt, review, and approval of:  project expenses; determinations of cost-allowability; cost-transfers; cost-share and/or match reporting; effort reporting; billing and collections/accounts receivable; financial reporting; and award close-out

I.  Cost Transfers: Pacific is required to carefully monitor these transfers for compliance with federal regulations and policies, and federal cost principles that underlie all fiscal activities of sponsored projects. It is also required to maintain documentation of cost transfers and to make these documents available for audit or other review.

a. Scope: A cost transfer is an after-the-fact reallocation of costs associated with a transaction from one account to another account.  Costs should be charged to the proper account for the benefitting sponsored project when first incurred.  However, at times it may be necessary to transfer a cost to a sponsored project subsequent to the initial recording of that cost.

b. Procedure: Cost transfers to sponsored projects which represent corrections of clerical or bookkeeping errors should be accomplished within 90 days of the original entry, or fewer days if the original entry is closer to the closing date of a grant or contract or fiscal year end. Cost transfers should never take place more than 60 days past the project end date.

All cost transfer requests must be supported by documentation that fully explains how the error occurred and approved for correctness by Sponsored Programs Accounting. An explanation merely stating that the transfer was made "to correct an error" or "to transfer to a correct project" is not sufficient. Transfers of costs from one project to another or from one competitive segment to the next solely to cover cost overruns are not allowable.

Transfers and their accompanying justifications must be reasonable, equitable, and in realistic proportion to the benefit provided. Cost transfers should be made within 90 days of the original transaction or less if applicable.  Any transfer made after this period raises serious questions regarding the propriety of the transfer.

Since the options are various for Cost Transfers, contact Sponsored Programs Accounting for next steps before any action is made.   

II.  Time and Effort Reporting As a recipient of federal funding Pacific is required to comply with the Office of Management and Budget Circular Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards ("Uniform Guidance") as well as other federal requirements for certifying effort expended on sponsored awards.  Pacific requires all individuals who receive federal sponsored funding to comply with University policies and sponsoring agency regulations regarding the proposing, charging, and reporting of effort on those awards.

The Uniform Guidance Subpart E §200.430 contains the federal regulatory requirements for internal controls over certifying time expended on sponsored projects. The University's practice is to utilize an after-the-fact effort reporting system to certify that salaries charged, or cost shared to sponsored awards, are reasonable and consistent with the work performed. The individual's effort is first assigned to specific awards in the payroll system based on anticipated activities.  Actual effort expended on each project is certified by a responsible person with suitable means of verification that the work was performed, generally the principal investigator, at the end of specified reporting periods. The effort certification should be a reasonable estimate of how time was expended.  The Semi-Annual Effort Certifications are the primary means for complying with the federal regulations relating to effort certification.

University faculty and staff are expected to charge their time to sponsored awards commensurate with the committed effort expended on all activities they perform.  Payroll charges to sponsored awards, and cost sharing recorded for faculty and staff, serve as the initial data points for the University's effort reporting system.

a.     Reporting Period and Submission - Sponsored Programs Accounting emails the Time and Effort reports to PIs/PDs on a semi-annual basis - January (for reporting period July through December) and July (for January through June).  The reports must be reviewed and certified by PIs/PDs and department chair/dean and returned to Sponsored Programs Accounting within the required timeline requested.

b.     Allocating Salary via the Electronic Personnel Action Form (EPAF) The salary distribution is set up at the beginning of the hiring stage via EPAF.  The percentage of salary is allocated to each major function, and within each function, to specific project accounts. For example, authorization of a faculty member who devotes one-half time to teaching and one-half time to three sponsored programs might distribute salary charges as follows:

50% to instruction
20% to sponsored program #1
20% to sponsored program #2
10% to sponsored program #3

If the actual distribution of effort differs significantly from this presumed distribution, Pacific policy requires that the EPAF be changed and payroll redistribution to be corrected to reflect the actual distribution.  

Pacific Policy on Distribution of Indirect Costs: Indirect cost funds recovered from all sponsored research programs will be distributed according to the following schedule:         

a. General Fund 30%
b. Academic Unit 40%
c. Office of Research and Sponsored Programs 30%

For more information on how these funds may be used/allocated, see Indirect Cost Policies for  Sponsored Programs and Special Programs.   Specific questions about processes and procedures for indirect cost distribution should be directed to Sponsored Programs Accounting.

Policies ButtonIndirect Cost Policies 

Working with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs  on Non-Financial Post-Award Management

  • Prior Approvals: During the course of a sponsored project, unexpected circumstances may arise that may not have been previously anticipated. As a result, the PI/PD may need to request changes to his/her project.  In some cases, the sponsor's approval may be required.  There may be instances where sponsor approval is not required (see below). The most common examples of when a sponsor's prior approval might be necessary are:
    • No-Cost Extension: The PI/PD may need more time to finish his/her project due to unanticipated circumstances. ORSP will work with the PI/PD and the sponsoring agency to request a no-cost extension.
    • Rebudget: During the performance of the project, a PI/PD may discover that he/she needs to allocate funds approved for one purpose to another purpose. In some cases, this can be done without sponsor approval.
    • Change in Senior/Key Personnel: Changes in key personnel, specific to the PI and Co-PI, almost always require sponsor approval. Each agency has specific requirements for obtaining prior approval. All prior approval requests will be made to the funder via ORSP Pre-Award. If sponsor prior approval is required, the PI will provide ORSP Pre-Award staff with a written explanation and rationale for the request. ORSP is responsible for reviewing the request, editing as appropriate, and officially submitting to the sponsor.

Where federally sponsored projects are concerned, the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost  Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards sets forth standards for maintain consistency and uniformity among federal agencies in the administration of grants to, and agreements with, institutions of higher education. Under "expanded authorities," many federal agencies have transferred the authority to unilaterally approve a number of post-award actions.

Where non-federal awards are concerned, sponsors will typically provide prior approval language in the agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding, or other binding document. PIs should review their award documents to determine when prior approval is necessary and contact ORSP for assistance.
Policies ButtonMore information on Pacific's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) here.

  • Modifications of Subawards and Subcontracts: A subaward/subcontract to another organization or institution may need to be modified during the period of performance.  For example, modifications/amendments may be needed to extend the period of performance, increase or reduce the amount to the subrecipient, revise the scope of work, or modify other terms and conditions.

    To begin the process of modifying an existing subaward/subcontract, the PI will send a written modification request to ORSP Pre-Award (no-cost extension, additional tasks, etc.).  Relevant documentation, such as a revised scope of work or revised budget from the external subcontractor, should be included. ORSP Pre-Award will prepare the subaward modification and obtain the appropriate signatures from both the prime awarding institution and the subrecipients.

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