Grants Accounting

Frequently Asked Questions

  
  1.   Once the award is received, how are the funds accessed?

  2.   Can funds be spent from the grant FOP before GVSU receives the funding
        from the sponsor?

  3.   Does the PI have to monitor their sponsored project?

  4.   What’s the best way for a PI to monitor his/her sponsored project?

  5.   Does cost share have to be documented?

  6.   What’s the process for hiring grant personnel?

  7.   Who is responsible for collecting cost sharing documentation?

  8.   What are the restrictions on purchasing grant equipment?

  9.   What is Time and Effort Reporting?

10.   How are grant supplies purchased?

11.   Who prepares the financial reports?

12.   How do grant travel expenses get reimbursed?

13.   What is the Fly America Act? Are there specific considerations that 
        have to be made when traveling to a foreign country?

14.   What is Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)?

15.   Is sponsor approval needed to revise the project budget?

16.   If more time is needed to finish the grant activities, does the sponsor have
        to approve an extension request?


 
 
 
 
 
1.  Once the award is received, how are the funds
     accessed?


Once the award documentation is received, the Grants Accounting Office
assigns a unique FOP (Fund, Org, Program - i.e. grant) number. The FOP
number should be used when requesting on- campus services, completing
travel and expense vouchers, placing orders, etc. Your responsible grant
accountant will contact you and setup an initial meeting to assist with imple-
mentation.  Back to the top
  
 

2.  Can funds be spent from the grant FOP before
     GVSU receives the funding from the sponsor?


Yes. Once the FOP is established, spending can begin. The Grants Accounting
Office will bill the sponsor according to the terms and conditions of the award. 
Back to the top

 
 

 3.  Does the PI have to monitor their sponsored project?

 
Yes. Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that only allowable
costs  related to the project are charged to the sponsored agreement. Forward
any questions about cost allowability to your grant accountant.  Back to the top


 
 4.  What’s the best way for a PI to monitor his/her sponsored
      project?


 
A PI has a couple of options for monitoring their project. The grant FOP can be
accessed by using the on-line Banner Finance system. Banner grants training
is  available upon request. The PI can also utilize their grant accountant for
assistance  in monitoring their project. Contact your grant accountant for more
information.  Back to the top

 
  
5.  Does cost share have to be documented?
 
Yes. If cost sharing is included in the sponsor-approved budget, it must be accounted
for. A separate FOP is established to assist with tracking cash match. Cost
sharing  is that portion of the project costs that are funded by sources other than
the sponsor,  and are categorized as follows: Cash outlays by the university,
University in-kind contributions or third party in-kind contributions. All cost sharing
resources must meet these  general criteria defined in 2 CFR 215 in order
to qualify:
    • Are verifiable from university records;
    • Are not included as contributions for another federal project;
    • Are necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient accomplishment
      of project objectives;
    • Are allowable under the applicable cost principles (2 CFR 220);
    • Are not paid under another federal award;
    • Are provided for in the approved budget;
    • Conform to other administrative provisions of 2 CFR 215.  Back to the top
       

6.   What’s the process for hiring grant personnel?

When hiring personnel to work on grants, the same hiring process is used as would
be used to hire any other University employee. This process is initiated in the Principal
Investigator’s department and is finalized in the Human Resources office. 
 
Note:  Grant employees are University employees. Their positions must have a
termination that does not exceed the termination date of the sponsored project.

For additional information on the University’s hiring policies, visit Human Resources.

Back to the top
 
 
 

 
7.  Who is responsible for collecting cost sharing documentation?

 
The Principal Investigator is responsible for making sure cost sharing is documented
and reported as committed in the award document. The PI should work with his/her
grant accountant to ensure that all cost sharing has been accounted for before the end
of the project period.  Back to the top


 
 
8.  What are the restrictions on purchasing grant equipment?
 
GVSU defines equipment as items purchased over $5,000. Sponsored equipment
purchases should be made at the beginning of the project. At the latest, the process
should be initiated no later than 90 days prior to the end of the project. GVSU procure-
ment policies must be followed for all equipment purchases. Equipment purchases
over $5,000 must be tagged.  Purchasing procedures can be found in the GVSU
Procedures Manual.   Back to the top

 
 
9.  What is Time and Effort Reporting?
 
Time and effort expended on federally-funded sponsored projects must be verified in
order to comply with 2 CFR 220, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions.   The University utilizes an after-the-fact, Banner- based effort reporting system to account for the effort of all faculty and staff (professorial, exempt and non-exempt staff) at Grand Valley State University that expend effort on federally sponsored grants and contracts. See Time and Effort Reporting for further
information.  Back to the top

 
 
10.  How are grant supplies purchased?
 
The PI can purchase supplies using the purchasing procedures set forth by GVSU.
If the amount of budgeted supplies is significant, it is recommended that the PI initiate
a request for a purchasing card. A purchasing card enables the PI to purchase supplies
and charge them directly to the grant FOP. For the purchasing card policies and
procedures visit the Procurement Services website.   Back to the top

 
 
11.  Who prepares the financial reports?

The Grants Accounting office will prepare all financial reports according to the terms
and conditions set forth in the sponsored agreement. Most, if not all financial reports
require the signature of the University’s Controller.   Back to the top

 
 
12.  How do grant travel expenses get reimbursed?

Travel expenses must be incurred and documented according to the grant terms and
conditions.  GVSU travel and expense policy must be followed for grant travel. After the
travel is completed, a travel and expense form is prepared and submitted to the
Accounts Payable office for payment. University travel policy and expense forms can be
found on the Business and Finance website.   Back to the top

 
 
13.  What is the Fly America Act? Are there specific considerations
       that have to be made when traveling to a foreign country?

 
Air travel funded with federal funds must be booked on a U.S. flag air carrier, see
Fly America Act. If you choose to fly a non U.S. flag carrier, a Fly America Act Waiver
Checklist must be filled out and submitted to the Grants Accounting office for further
consideration. Your grant accountant will help determine if the situation meets the
extremely restrictive exceptions in the Act and assist in obtaining sponsoring agency
approval.  Back to the top

 
 
14.  What is Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A)?
 
Facilities and Administrative costs are cost that are incurred for common or joint
objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with a particular
sponsored project. The University negotiates an F&A rate with the federal government
and this rate is the basis for recovering F&A costs, see Facilities and Administrative
Costs for more information
.  Back to the top


 
15.  Is sponsor approval needed to revise the project budget?
 
Maybe. Most sponsors allow budget revisions up to a certain percentage and/or dollar
amount to be handled internally. During the initial grant meeting with your grant accountant,
the thresholds will be discussed and should be referred to when considering
rebudgeting. Budget revisions that do not fall within the discussed parameters must be
approved by the grantor. Contact your grant accountant if rebudgeting is needed. 
Back to the top

 
 
16.  If more time is needed to finish the grant activities, does the
       sponsor have to approve an extension request?


Yes. Depending on the sponsor, the request for an extension may or may not be a formal
process. If more time is needed to complete the project, contact your grant accountant no
later than 90 days prior to the end of the project.   Back to the top

 

Page last modified February 10, 2014