Effort Reporting System

Top 7 Tips for Effort Reporting

  1. Faculty should not certify effort for other faculty, even individual line certification. Each faculty member must certify his/her own effort.
      1. Professor Smith works on an NSF project for PI Chu. PI Chu may certify the effort reports of the research staff working on the project, but should not certify for Professor Smith. Professor Smith must certify his own effort report.
  2. Total effort always equals 100%. This is true if the employee has a part-time appointment and for those who work 100 hours a week.
      1. PI Cook has a 50% appointment. He spends half his time working on a project for the USDA. His effort report must reflect 50% effort on the USDA project.
      2. PI Siegel has a 9-month full-time faculty appointment. She works more than 60 hours a week and spends half her time on a DOE project. Her effort report must reflect 50% effort on the DOE project.
  3. Effort certifications allow for a level of tolerance of +/-5%. If the payroll percentages are reasonably within 5% of the actual effort expended, certify the report with no changes.
      1. PI Freund charged 50% of her salary to her NIH project. She estimates that she spent approximately 55% of her time during the period on the project. She can certify the effort report without making changes since the actual effort is within the level of tolerance.
  4. Voluntary uncommitted effort should not be tracked or certified.
      1. PI Margeaux heads up an NSF project to which he has committed 25% of his time. While working on the project, the team made a scientific breakthrough and PI Margeaux increased the number of hours he worked on the project by working every weekend for six months. Since the “extra” effort is over and above the 25% commitment, this additional time is voluntary uncommitted effort. Cost sharing should not be tracked for the extra time, nor should the effort report reflect this time.
  5. Only federal and federal flow-through projects are being certified.
      1. Research Assistant Ryan works on two projects, an NIH project for PI Clark and a Pfizer project for PI Lopez. Since the NIH project is federal, PI Clark must certify the effort on that project. The Pfizer project is non-federal, so PI Lopez does not have to certify the report.
  6. Payroll cost transfers made after the report is certified may re-open the report.
      1. All certifiers must re-certify if payroll transfers are made which affect federal funds and the new payroll percentages do not match the certified percentages.
      2. Payroll transfers should NOT be made once a report is on Certified status UNLESS charges are being moved to a non-sponsored account.
      3. Payroll transfers MUST be made for reports on Certified/AdjustReqd status in order to match the payroll to the certification percentages.
  7. Comments are open to audit, so be aware of the additional risk.

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