Contracts and Grants Procedure 8 – Certification of Effort Reporting

Distribution and Signature

The Office of Contracts and Grants distributes Certification of Effort reports to the departments at the first of each quarter for the prior three months payrolls, to be certified and returned within ten (10) days after receipt. It is required that the certification be an original signature of the persons required to sign. The certification signifies that the signer has firsthand knowledge or sufficient verification of the services performed on each funding source. Usually the principal investigator will certify all work performed on his/her contract or grant. The department head or dean should certify the effort of the principal investigator. It is imperative that the principal investigators check the reports closely to verify that the persons listed did, in fact, work on that particular project.

Effecting Changes

Corrections to the Certification of Effort reports should be made on the report before returning them to the Office of Contracts and Grants. The percentages indicated on the Certification of Effort reports are based on the payroll system and reflect the percentage salary charged to each fund. These percentages do not always correctly reflect effort. One example is nine-month employees are paid in 12 installments. During the summer they are not working on the nine-month contract, but are being paid. If they are also being paid for summer research, that effort should be 100% rather than the split based on the payroll charges.

Another example of a correction is when a faculty member is given released time to work on a project. That released time would require a manual adjustment to the Certification of Effort report.

If the payroll charges are incorrect, rather than a correction of effort distribution, changes should be indicated on the Certification of Effort report and formalized through the submission of the appropriate personnel action form(s). Necessary changes are required to be promptly effected, normally within thirty (30) days.

Retroactive Changes

Retroactive changes must give full consideration to previous certifications on file, and must be documented and explained in a manner which unequivocally substantiates the propriety of the adjustment.

Changes of distribution of workload may not normally be made for any prior pay period. In the following exceptional situations, however, retroactive changes may be warranted:

  • When necessary to correct clerical and data entry errors.
  • When subsequent information is received indicating an incorrect original entry.
  • When required to properly charge non-federal funds for costs incurred in connection with an award that fails to materialize.
  • When closely related work is supported by more than one funding source, costs may be transferred from the originally charged fund to another fund, provided the cost is a proper and allowable charge to the receiving account and the inter-relationship between the accounts is fully explained in the request. If an over-expenditure is being transferred to another project, especially strong supporting evidence is required for approval.

Unacceptable Changes

  • When the change is for the purpose of utilizing unexpended funds of a federal award.
  • When the change is for the purpose of circumventing award restrictions.
  • When the change is for the purpose of avoiding a cost overrun by charging another, unrelated federal agreement.
  • When explanation merely states “to correct error”, “to transfer to correct project” or other similar insufficient reasons.
  • When a change unrelated to sponsored agreements applies to a closed fiscal year.