Sponsored Programs Topics from 12/16/10 Finance & Sponsored Programs Forum

Sponsored Programs Topics from 12/16/10 Finance & Sponsored Programs Forum

Jan 19, 2011

Research topics from the December 16, 2010 Finance & Sponsored Programs Forum are summarized below.

Topics covered: Update on Recent A-133 Audit; Auditors’ Statements on Documentation; Cost Transfers Audit; Controlled Substances Program and Policy; Multi-Year Encumbrances; Digital Measures/Faculty Activity Reports; Suzanne’s Retirement and Transition; Banner On-Line Effort Reporting; Changes to Subaward Process; OSR Blog/RSS Feed; Research Administration Reorganization; Other Business


Update on Recent A-133 Audit; Auditors’ Statements on Documentation (David Browning)

  • The FY10 A-133 audit is in the final stages of review.
  • David expressed appreciation to all those who participated in the audit.
  • UNH will likely be cited for one or more late financial reports.  This is a common finding.
  • Documentation guidelines in the form of a table will be made available.
    • Federal Circular A-21 establishes the requirement that expenditures provide direct benefit to the project to which they are charged.  Auditors require documentation of this.
    • Note that airfares must be the fare offered at the lowest reasonable rate.

 Cost Transfers Audit (David Browning)

  • USNH Internal Audit has undertaken an audit of cost transfers, which represent a significant area of risk. 
  • USNH has a policy on federal cost transfers.  Specific approvals are required for such items as foreign travel and equipment purchases.
  • Labor redistributions that occur 90 days or more after the charges post are a risk area.  Initial recording of labor costs as an expense in undistributed salaries starts the clock for required approvals for cost transfers over 90 days.  This interpretation of the use of undistributed salaries may be a change for some.  Internal Audit is likely to clarify this in their report.  The Financial Management Group (FMG) of Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) review labor redistributions.
  • JZRO type journal entries should be used for nonpayroll cost transfers. The Controller's office does a monthly review of JZRO type entries and determines if SPA has approved when required for transfers over 90 days.

 Controlled Substances Program and Policy (Julie Simpson)

  • The new program and policy cover all uses of controlled substances on campus (not only research uses).
  • The Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research (OSVPR) is responsible for the program and policy.
  • BSC and department staff should be aware of the program and policy.
  • The substances are regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the State of NH.
  • There are 5 schedules of substances, with schedule 1 representing the most highly controlled (including barbiturates and amphetamines).
  • The draft policy has been approved by President’s Cabinet and will be circulated to all appropriate committees and governing bodies.
  • The plan has been approved and a kick-off meeting was held with responsible parties (OSVPR, Animal Resources Office, Environmental Health & Safety, UNH Police).
  • Communications and outreach will commence to educate PIs and students.
  • Dean Elder, UNH Veterinarian, holds UNH’s DEA license and is the only individual who can order and receive these substances.  Dean also approves, trains, and tracks the users.  There are only 9 or 10 individuals on campus who use any kind of controlled substances.
  • UNH Health Services has its own license and does not come under the OSVPR program and policy.
  • Any questions, contact Julie.

 Multi-Year Encumbrances (Suzanne Huard)

  • Banner 8 offers the ability to encumber across fiscal years.
  • During testing, an issue arose with this that involved the data in the ledgers, so the ability was not rolled out. 
  • Accommodation or modification will be required before this can be used, so Suzanne queried the BSC directors as to whether we should pursue it, and they responded, yes. 
  • It’s now a task on the list for FAST and FIS Steering.

 Digital Measures/Faculty Activity Reports (Suzanne Huard)

  • The Provost’s Office is spearheading a project to develop one consistent system for faculty annual reports. 
  • The projects has a website:  http://unh.edu/provost/far.
  • The OSVPR is very interested in the project because of its potential to foster collaboration.  The system will incorporate data on faculty members’ research, publications, awards and honors, etc.
  • Because Suzanne is retiring, the OSVPR representative to the FAR project will now be Rob Anderson. 

 Suzanne’s Retirement and Transition (Suzanne Huard)

  • Suzanne expressed her appreciation for all the good people she’s worked with over the years.
  • Patrick Messer, Director of Research Computing and Instrumentation, will continue her work with FIS and HRS Steering.  Rob Anderson has joined the SPA management team and will serve on the FAR project.  He will also chair the steering committee for the InfoEd Proposal Development module, which will allow proposals to be developed and routed electronically.

 Banner On-Line Effort Reporting (Suzanne Huard and David Browning)

  • Banner 8 also allows for on-line effort certification.
  • The project is moving forward and is expected to be up and running for the next certification cycle this coming summer.
  • Those paid from sponsored projects will certify their effort through WISE.   Training will be provided.
  • David noted that the work to address the recommendations of the Huron Consulting Group is coming to an end, although more implementation tasks remain.

 Changes to Subaward Process (Victor Sosa)

  • The federal government has made changes to requirements around subagreements, including the need to provide additional reports, similar to those put in place around ARRA funding.  The new regs, known as FFATA, are now in effect and impact subagreements that are more than $25K.  The requirements move from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the various agencies, where they are turned into regulations that are passed on to universities such as ours. 
  • Each sub now needs a DUNS number and a business process to provide such is underway.
  • Reports will be uploaded on a federal site in the same way ARRA reports were filed.  UNH has registered to enable this. 
  • If the related award does not represent 80% of UNH’s total funding, we will not be required to reveal the salary rates of UNH’s highest paid employees.
  • There is no interaction between FFATA and the A-133 audit.
  • More information will be coming soon.

 Reminder:  Blog/RSS Feed (Victor Sosa)

  • Just a reminder to take a look at the OSR blog frequently.  Items about regulation changes, etc. are posted on the blog.
  • One can also subscribe to the RSS feed so that notice of new posted items arrives via email.
  • If you have difficulty with the RSS feed, contact the Help Desk or Victor.

 Research Administration Reorganization (Victor Sosa)

  • Karen Jensen has been appointed Manager of Research Administration.
  • The GCA I positions will be reviewed.  One of these positions will become subaward coordinator.  Another GCA 1 will handle State of NH agreements.  The remaining GCA 1’s will support the GCA III’s.
  • A general rebalancing of workloads will be undertaken, and Victor will consult with the faculty clients and the sponsored programs community.

 Other Business

F&A Encumbering:  Suzanne asked if folks remain interested in encumbering F&A.  SunGard is planning to bring another university’s modification to enable this into the baseline product.  The sponsored programs community should continue to request this facility and advocate for it.

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