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Basics of Effort Reporting

Basics of Effort Reporting

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Basics of Effort Reporting

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  1. Basics of Effort Reporting Updated: 04/30/2009 Questions? Contact Jennifer Wei at Jennifer-wei@northwestern.edu 7-2473

  2. Why Effort Reporting ? • As a recipient of significant external funding, the University must assure Federal and other sponsors that the assignment of time and associated salary and fringe benefit costs to the projects they sponsor is fair, consistent, and timely. The University fulfills this responsibility through Effort Reporting. It is the method by which institutions ensure salary costs, generally the largest cost component of any grant, are charged appropriately. Effort reporting is required of nearly all exempt faculty and staff in departments with sponsored funding. • Effort Reporting is certified by the faculty members/certifier on a quarterly basis. • Effort Reporting Is Verification That: • Appropriate salary and wage expenses were charged to sponsored programs • Labor represents ~ 75% of direct research costs • Cost Sharing (Mandatory and Voluntary Committed) was performed as promised

  3. Effort Certification Not everybody needs an effort report. Who should have an effort report?Any person paid (or with a commitment) on a sponsored award must certify that the salary paid (or the commitment) is reasonable in relation to the effort (activity) devoted to the award. Non-exempt employees, who are paid hourly, do not have effort reports as submitting timesheets is an acceptable method of verifying their grant charges per A-21. Who should be the certifier? Effort report may not be certified by the employee him/herself. Per A-21: “Reports will reasonably reflect the activities for which employees are compensated by the institution. To confirm that the work performed by the employee during the period, the reports will be signed by the employee, principal investigator, or responsible official(s) using suitable means of verification that the work was performed.”NU Effort Policy #9:Faculty are required to certify (sign) their own effort reports, and also are required to certify the effort reports of the research staff working on their sponsored projects (graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and other similar persons)

  4. Risk of Non-compliance…

  5. Northwestern – Audit Finding in 2003 Agency - NIH Institutional Base Salary and Effort Reporting NIH Position: Clinical practice effort must be included and accounted for on university effort report Clinical practice effort/compensation must be included and accounted for on university appointment form and paid through university Adequate compliance mechanisms to reconcile proposed salary and effort commitment with actual experience K award Typically, 75% commitment is required (a minimum of 75% full-time professional effort must be spent conducting research and research career development)

  6. Key Principle

  7. Key Topics 100% Effort ≠ 40 ≠ 60 ≠ 80 hours per week No fixed work week 100% Effort = Estimated total number of hours worked on University compensated activities Full Workload/Institutional Base Salary (IBS) IBS is the annual compensation paid by an organization for an employee’s appointments, whether that individual’s time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Base salary excludes any income that an individual is permitted to earn outside of duties for the applicant/grantee organization (NIH Grants Policy Statement, December 2003) Effort Includes teaching, research and administration, and NMFF activity, if applicable appointments as chair, dean, and/or center director (e.g. object code 0060) Effort Excludes outside consulting activities, activities associated with affiliated entities other than NMFF VA compensated effort Faculty must certify their own effort certifications, in addition to those of their research staff; inappropriate for BAs/RAs to certify effort for the department Salary cap for NIH awards If actual salary is higher than the NIH salary cap for a NIH award, the difference must be funded by a non-sponsored account, usually a department account

  8. Key Topics Commitment and salary charges on sponsored accounts Most faculty responsibilities would preclude one being paid 100% from sponsored projects Competitive proposal writing (new or renewal) and regular administrative duties cannot be charged to sponsored awards Non-competitive, continuation award proposals (progress reports) – can be included as part of sponsored projects effort Special care in determining if research faculty can be charged 100%; If the research faculty member writes competitive proposals, his/her salary cannot be 100% charged to sponsored projects. Faculty members and senior researchers (key personnel) must commit some effort to the sponsored project within the fiscal year unless specifically exempted by the sponsor (e.g., equipment grants)

  9. Key Topics Summer effort (9-month faculty only) Certification will most likely only be for sponsored activities related to summer salary received from sponsors Agency prior approvals are required if: 25% reduction in time devoted to the project per budget period Example: 35% charged and 5% committed cost share (CCS) effort Reduction to 30% effort requires agency approval: (5% CCS and 25% charged effort) Absence of 3 months or more Change in key personnel should be communicated to the agency and OSR Consistency of reporting effort: Progress reports, current pending & support pages, effort reports and financial status reports

  10. Effort Reporting System (ERS) ERS is the system NU utilizes for Effort Reporting Web address (case sensitive): https://ersweb.itcs.northwestern.edu/GenericERS Effort reports are generated 4 times a year (on a quarterly basis) ERS sends automatic emails to the faculty members once the effort report is reviewed by the department administrator and ready for certification.

  11. Effort Certification Process in ERS • Central Administrator(CA) • Initializes new Effort Reports quarterly • Sends notification to Departments for pre review • Pre Reviewer (Business Administrator) • Pre Reviews commitment and payroll distribution; makes adjustments (CT or CS) as needed • When complete, automatic e-mail notification is sent to Certifier via bulk e-mail Certification • Certifier (Faculty) • Certifies actual effort by award in terms of percentages of total effort expended • If percentages were updated, an automatic e-mail is sent to the Post Reviewer • Post Reviewer (Business Administrator) • Administrator Post Reviews the effort forms if the Certifier made changes to the effort percentages reflected in Pre Review 11 3

  12. Example: Certifying an Effort Form Faculty member enters effort % for certification. See Certification screen-by-screen guide for details Total % = Payroll % (paid effort) + Cost shared effort entered by the Pre Reviewer

  13. Example: Certified Effort Report

  14. Effort Reporting System Support & Project Contact NetID and password support 1-4357 (NUIT) NetID and Password Security: http://www.it.northwestern.edu/netid/security.html Effort Reporting Operational Support Jennifer Wei (Oversees Effort Reporting, 7-2473) Kathleen Doherty (Chicago, 3-0857) Tina Mete (Evanston, 1-6755)

  15. References ERS System Tutorials (screen-by-screen guides) https://ersweb.itcs.northwestern.edu/GenericERS/tutorial/Tutorial_Certification.html Effort Reporting Homepage (Effort policies and procedures): http://www.northwestern.edu/asrsp/effort.html 90-Day Memo Form and Instruction http://www.northwestern.edu/finsys/ps/forms ORI Training Materials (including Effort Reporting 101) Download: http://www.research.northwestern.edu/guide/training Click on Research Administration Training Seminar Materials Effort Reporting System (ERS) Logon Page: https://ersweb.itcs.northwestern.edu/GenericERS *Note: URLs are case-sensitive