Time and Effort Reporting

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What is effort?

Effort is defined as the amount of time spent on a particular project or activity.  This includes the time spent working on the project and directly charged to the project as well as the time contributed to the project (cost shared effort).

What is effort reporting?

Effort reporting is the federally mandated method used to certify to the funding agencies the effort charged or contributed to a sponsored project.

What is contributed or cost shared effort?

Cost sharing represents the portion of the total project costs of a sponsored project that are not borne by the sponsor of the project. These costs are borne by the University or other non-federal third parties, rather than by the sponsor. The fulfillment of cost shared effort (salary) is demonstrated through the effort reporting system. Any commitment of effort referenced in the project proposal or the award document must be honored, reported, and captured in an effort reporting system.

How does the University certify effort?

The University certifies effort after the pay period has ended and any salary dollars have posted.    The method to certify effort depends on whether the salary costs are 1) directly charged to the sponsored project or 2) cost shared to the project.

1.  Salary Costs Direct Charged to Sponsored Projects

The actual salary paid for monthly and semi-monthly payrolls is based on the FTE percentage that is entered on the employee’s original appointment paperwork.  This FTE represents the estimated amount of effort an employee expects to spend on grant activities based on the Principal Investigator’s budget.  The appointment is entered on the payroll paperwork as a percentage of total wages.  During each payroll period the fiscal officer of the grant budget purpose is provided a Fiscal Officer Certification Report by the Payroll Office.  The account fiscal officer is expected to review this certification report and then attest on this report, that the individuals paid are due the amounts indicated.  If the amount paid is not correct (percentage of effort has changed or the budget purpose being charged is incorrect) the fiscal officer should immediately process a Retroactive Account Adjustment (RAA) to change the costing of the individual’s salary.

The actual salary paid for bi-weekly and student workers is based on actual hours reported by the budget purpose fiscal officer during a payroll period.  These hours are allocated to individual budget purposes based on work performed during that period.  During each payroll period the fiscal officer of the grant budget purpose is provided a Fiscal Officer Certification by the Payroll Office.  The account fiscal officer is expected to review the certification report and then attest on this report, that the individuals paid are due the amounts indicated.  If the amount is not correct (hours allocated are incorrect or the budget purpose being charged is incorrect) the fiscal officer should immediately process a Retroactive Account Adjustment (RAA) to change the costing of the individual’s salary.

Please note that the individual signing the Fiscal Officer Certification forms should have firsthand knowledge of the actual work being performed on the grant or contract.  If the fiscal officer lacks this knowledge, an individual working closely with the project (PI) should also sign the Fiscal Officer Certification.

2.  Salary Cost Share to the Project

When salary cost share is determined to be a requirement on a grant or contract the Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) office will begin the monthly process of accumulating this information.  On each budget purpose for which salary cost share is a requirement GCA will send the fiscal officer (via e-mail) the Certification of Time Record for Grants and Contracts form.  This form will arrive prefilled with information including the reporting period, Budget Purpose number, Budget Purpose title, Fiscal Officer name, and the Unit Name.  A blank version of this form (along with instructions) can be found at http://eforms.siu.edu/siuforms/info/acs0309.html .  Note that this form is to be used only for accumulating cost share information; salaries directly charged to the grant or contract should not be included on this form.