Monitoring Your Account
Monitoring account transactions in Advantage or Financial Data Warehouse on a regular basis will help you to manage your projects to ensure that expenditures and revenues are within appropriate limits and guidelines. Regular monitoring of your sponsored accounts helps:
- Ensure revenues have been received.
- Confirm the availability of project funds.
- Ensure that costs are consistent with the budget and incurred during the period of performance.
- Discover any errors in your budget, encumbrances, or expenditures.
- Avoid overspending.
- Ensure compliance with the sponsor's spending terms and conditions.
- Verify that cost transfers and corrections are made in a timely manner.
- Maintain a clear audit trail for the future.
If you identify a problem, do not wait until the project has terminated before addressing the issue. The longer an error remains uncorrected, the harder it is to fix and support corrective action in an audit.
During the life of a project, it may become necessary to modify certain aspects of the original project. Such changes may involve rebudgeting of funds among expense classes or adjusting the length of a project period. In order to minimize the administrative burden associated with revised budget requests, many sponsors allow some flexibility to adapt award spending patterns to match the changing circumstances of the sponsored project. However, even when a sponsor does not require an official request to rebudget, OSP must review budget revisions to ensure compliance.
In general, a formal revised budget approval request to the sponsor is required in the following circumstances:
- Budget revision restrictions are imposed in the terms and conditions: These restrictions may range from a prior approval requirement for any budget revisions to a requirement for line-item or total budget revisions up to a certain threshold. (i.e.: rebudget flexibility up to 10 percent of proposed line items).
- Budget revisions are due to a significant change in the scope of work (SOW): SOW changes may require a considerable amount of funds to be shifted between expense categories. However, even if significant changes are not anticipated, all rebudgeting requests based on a change in the SOW must be submitted and approved by the sponsor.
Budget revisions to reflect new financial realities, such as salary increases, new employees on the project, adjusted fringe benefit rates, etc., generally do not require sponsor approval. However, PIs should contact their assigned senior research accountants for guidance and/or clarification of budget revision requirements.
UNLV collects money from federal and nonfederal sponsors using one of three methods:
- Drawing from an established line of credit (LOC draw)
- Submitting an invoice
- Advances and scheduled payments
The type of billing is established based on the sponsor requirements documented in the award terms and conditions. Regardless of the billing type, OSP is responsible for the billing for all sponsored projects.
On a monthly basis, the PI and account managers with delegation authority should review their accounts through Advantage and/or Financial Data Warehouse to:
- Ensure that financial information accurately reflects the organization’s activity.
- Identify possible inaccuracies through a comparison of actual expenditures with the approved budget.
- Verify payments have been received from the sponsor.
Nonpayment of sponsored programs is a liability that can pose considerable financial risk to academic units. Invoices for sponsored work can remain unpaid for many different reasons. Regardless of the reason we do not receive payment, costs must be covered from other university sources and overhead distributions have to be reversed. While OSP has implemented procedures to minimize the risk of nonpayment, it is ultimately the college, department, and PI’s responsibility to cover nonpayments when the university is unable to collect payment.