Successful Stewardship: The Effective Management of Sponsored Projects. Closeout of a Sponsored Project Presented by Tim Patterson February 23, 2004

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1 Huron Consulting Group. All rights reserved. Successful Stewardship: The Effective Management of Sponsored Projects Closeout of a Sponsored Project Presented by Tim Patterson February 23, 2004 Experience.Redefined. BOSTON CHARLOTTE CHICAGO HOUSTON LOS ANGELES MIAMI NEW YORK PALO ALTO SAN FRANCISCO WASHINGTON D.C.

2 Agenda Introduction Life Cycle Closeouts Defined Barriers to Closing Awards Risks of not Closing Awards Requirements to Close Recommended Practices Roles and Responsibilities Questions 2 w/template

3 Program Description Closeout of Sponsored Awards - Is it over yet? When is it really over? Just because the award s end date has been reached, doesn t mean you are through managing the award and it s not enough to move the award folder from the active file cabinet to the closed file cabinet. So what else is there? This session will focus on the various requirements to close a sponsored award, discuss industry best practices and identify the responsibilities that should be assigned to each individual involved in managing that award. This includes the institution s Sponsored Research Office, the department, and the Principal Investigator - yes, the Principal Investigator has a role too. 3 w/template

4 Sponsored Projects Life Cycle High Level Numbered Process Steps 1. Identification of the Funding Opportunity 2. Proposal Drafted 3. Preaward Review and Sign-Off 4. Award is Issued by the Sponsor 5. Preaward/ Postaward Reviews and Signs Off 6. A Unique Project Number is Assigned 4 w/template

5 Sponsored Projects Life Cycle High Level Numbered Process Steps (continued) 7. Expenditures are Incurred as Work is Performed 8. Monthly, Quarterly, Scheduled Invoicing and/ or Financial Reporting Complete 9. Cash is Collected 10. Program Objectives are Completed 11. Final Progress/ Technical Reports Submitted to Sponsor 12. The Award is Closed 5 w/template

6 Closeouts Defined What does closing an award mean? What exactly are we talking about? - It means that expenditures can no longer be charged to a particular project number the unique number assigned to the award by the institution. How does this happen? - The department and PI cease using the project number to pay vendors, apply salary costs, reimburse travel, etc. - Transactions are no longer approved by units outside of the department (SPA, A/P, Purchasing, Travel, Payroll, etc). - The financial system blocks expenditures from posting to this project number. The would-be charges error out or default to a suspense account. This control is in place at some, but not all institutions. 6 w/template

7 What are Common Barriers to Closing Awards? The institution s growth rate in awards/dollars has been rising faster than it s staffing levels or policy and procedure development The institution does not have effective procedures in place for closing awards Management lacks performance measures, thus staff has low expectations as compared to completing financial reports or invoices Time management There are too many other things that take precedence over closing awards; the last task to be performed in the life cycle generally gets skipped 7 w/template

8 Barriers Continued System limitations and/or conversion issues i.e. System idiosyncrasies - There may be problems stemming from a GL conversion or upgrade from an older system - Account balances remain that cannot be cleared - Rounding problems The institution does not understand the implications of failing to close awards in a timely and effective manner 8 w/template

9 What Risks Exist if Awards are not Closed? Unallowable expenditures may have posted to the project that should be removed. Debits or credits may have posted that were not captured on the financial report or final invoice. - The total expenditures reported do not match the expenditures currently reflected on the project. Sponsors may withhold incremental funding or final payments until they receive outstanding reports. - Financial report - Progress or technical reports Failure to close out an award, not issued under FDP or Expanded Authorities could result in a loss of carryover funds. - Awards not issued under FDP or EA require a carryover request if the Principal Investigator wishes to have use of the funds in the next funding period. 9 w/template

10 Risks Continued Expenditures may continue to post to the award once funding has been deobligated. - Risk: Overspending the award IDC may not be calculated correctly, thus the institution is not recovering as much of its costs as it could. This could be caused by: - Incorrect base - Incorrect rate - Erroneous adjustments made during the lifetime of the award 10 w/template

11 Items to Review Prior to Closing the Award Ensure IDC and fringe have been applied correctly. This should be checked by using a standardized reconciliation sheet. - Verify the following: IDC base and rate on the award Appropriate exclusions from MTDC Applicable fringe rates applied to salaries/wages Ensure expenditures are valid Verify cash has been received and applied to the account Ensure that all associated projects and subprojects have been reviewed and are ready to close Ensure that all projects from prior years are also closed with zero balances 11 w/template

12 Closeout Requirements Project End Date = Budget End Date < Today s Date (generally) - Early term: Objectives are met sooner than what was planned. Expenses = Revenue = Receipts - Be sure to confirm the LOC amount authorized vs. what was actually drawn down. Open Commitments or Obligations (Encumbrances) = $ All PO s liquidated - All salary lines Financial reporting complete, if required 12 w/template

13 Closeout Requirements Continued Final invoicing complete, if required Final invention/patent reporting is complete All terms and conditions have been met - Work is complete - PI report filed PI and/or Department concurrence has been received 13 w/template

14 Recommended Practices These are recommended practices that will improve the closeout process and reduce the risk of an error Institution should establish an internal closeout procedure that is routinely followed, regardless of award type (Federal, non-federal) - More institutions have detailed award set-up instructions than have detailed closeout instructions. - Benefits of detailed closeout instructions Training Standardization Increase sponsor/auditor confidence Notifications: Letters to the PI/Departments should be issued 60 or 90 days in advance of the award closing (see attached) - These may be issued automatically through the system or manually through Sponsored Projects. 14 w/template

15 Oregon Health & Science University s 90 Day Letter View PDF file attachment 15 w/template

16 Recommended Practices Continued Frequent review of expenditures - Not all institutions have expenditure or budget controls in place. Approval thresholds vary as do the number of reviewers and approvers in the process. Timely final invoicing and reporting - Due dates change from project to project. Make sure you read the notice of grant award carefully! PI and/or department agreement or concurrence of final expenditures - Cumulative amount, as well as, type or class of expenditures. Maintain a terminated accounts list This should be reviewed on a monthly basis. Can be housed within your operating system, MS Access, MS Excel, or in a 3-ring binder at your desk. 16 w/template

17 Recommended Practices Continued Aged accounts receivable - Follow up on delinquent payments to ensure all funds are collected prior to closing the account. - Frequent review of this list and following up with the sponsor should decrease the number of days an invoice is outstanding and allow you to close the award in a more timely manner. Develop a closeout checklist Documentation should be filed in the file folder - Signed copy of the checklist noting the date closed. - Screen prints or GL report printouts showing final expenditures, cash receipts, revenue and unliquidated obligations. - PI and/or department agreement or concurrence of final expenditures. Record retention - Closed files should be kept for an appropriate number of years in accordance with federal and university guidelines. - Closed or archived files should be easily accessible 17 w/template

18 Oregon Health & Science University s Closeout Checklist: View PDF file attachment Site: w/template

19 Recommended Practices Continued Training Training Training Training 19 w/template

20 Roles and Responsibilities Matrix Role Expenditures Project Changes Financial Reporting & Invoicing Technical Reporting Principal Investigator Clearly state destination of expenses to department personnel (especially in case of multiple awards) Ensure expenses are allowable per sponsor and institution regulations/guidelines Communicate changes in project scope or timelines - No cost extension request - Continuations - Rebudgeting Provide final review/approval of costs being invoiced and reported Complete all project objectives stated in award document - Progress reports - Final Deliverable Department PI s Supporting Unit Ensure expenses are allowable per sponsor and institution regulations/guidelines Ensure expenses are charged/posted to appropriate project Assist PI in making project changes Communicate progress towards project objectives within stated timeline Assist PI in review of invoices/financial reports and notify of any incorrect charges Assist PI in completion and submission of technical reports Ensure PI compliance with technical reporting requirements Sponsored Research Office Timely approval/review of expenses requiring authorization Ensure expenses are allowable per sponsor and institution regulations/ guidelines Assist PI in making changes to project scope timelines -Submit NCE/ continuation requests - Make appropriate changes to dates/ budgets in financial system Prepare and submit accurate invoices/financial reports based upon schedule in award document Ensure PI compliance with technical reporting requirements Submit deliverables for PI, if applicable 20 w/template

21 Closing: Questions? Tim Patterson Manager, Higher Education/Healthcare (312) w/template

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