13. Monitoring
     Project
     Spending

From Start   
to Finish   

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Stanford Policy

* Fiscal Responsibilities
of PIs

 

* RESEARCH POLICY
HANDBOOK

 

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* Audit Survival Guide

* Early Accounts: A Good
Business Practice


Two common situations in which the allocability of an expense will be critically reviewed are those where expenses are incurred before the start of a project period, and those where expenses are incurred just before the end of a project period. During the project period, while the work of the project is being carried out, sponsors may also look closely at the RATE of project expenditures.

When a new award is assured but the funding is delayed, it may be appropriate to open an "early account." "Early
Accounts"
It is NOT appropriate to charge these costs to other sponsored accounts, even if you intend to transfer them later. You should also avoid charging these to non-sponsored accounts and then transferring them later.

By opening an "early account," you will not have to transfer expenses onto a new account when funds arrive, thus avoiding both administrative burden and audit exposure. Opening an "early account" requires the identification of a departmental "guarantee account," in the event the sponsored funds do not arrive.

During the project period, PIs can jeopardize their funding when spending EITHER accelerates at an unanticipated rate OR falls significantly behind project projections. Spending patterns:
Fast or Slow
While there may be very good programmatic reasons for accelerated or deccelerated levels of spending, it is ALWAYS a good idea to keep the sponsor - both the technical and the administrative officers - informed in these situations. In the case of Federal contracts, there are specific requirements for notification when the total cost will be greater or substantially less than the estimated cost, OR at the point when expenditures will exceed 75% of the total project cost.

Finally, it may be necessary and appropriate to purchase equipment, supplies or other expenses late in the project period.

In these cases, it is particularly important to document the allowability -- and particularly the allocability -- of the expense. Allowable
Late-in-Period
Expenses
It is a good idea to get the written approval of the Grant or Contract Officer whenever an expenditure might appear to be questionable.

Expenses incurred after the project period has ended are unallowable, unless the award contained provisions permitting them to be charged. This includes expenses incurred for the production of final project reports. If you have work left to do on a project, but have run out of time, request a no-cost extension. This request must be coordinated through the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), or your School Research Administration Office.

 

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