Research & Cost Accounting

Award Closeout

Project Completion and Financial Closeout of Sponsored Projects

Sponsored projects have project periods established by the terms and conditions of the award agreements. The project period defines the time for incurring expenditures that will be invoiced and reported. Additionally, the project period defines the time during which the scope of work must be accomplished. These procedures set forth steps for managing awards that are approaching the project end dates, including requesting no-cost extensions, processing invoices and expenditure adjustments and requesting advance spending funds.

Upon award activation Rice University agrees to comply with the conditions established by the awarding sponsor for project closeout of a grant or contract. Reports required at the close of a project vary by the type of sponsored project and by sponsor. Typical closeout requirements include the timely submission of the following reports:

  • Technical/scientific report, submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) with a copy to the Office of Sponsored Research (SPARC);
  • Inventions report submitted by the PI to SPARC;
  • Financial/expenditure report(s), cost sharing report and any needed final invoice, submitted by Research and Cost Accounting (RCA) in coordination with the PI and departmental administrator (DA);
  • Property/equipment report, submitted by Property Accounting in coordination with RCA.

Additional financial forms may also need to be submitted for contracts and subcontracts. These include:

  • Contractor Release Form submitted by RCA after final expenditure coordination with the PI and DA;
  • Assignment of Refunds, Rebates and Other Amounts submitted by RCA after final expenditure coordination with the PI and DA.

Timeliness of reporting is crucial to sound grants/contracts management to ensure compliance with sponsor requirements and reimbursement for costs incurred.

  • For awards from federal agencies, these reports are due within 90 calendar days of the award expiration (project end date);
  • For most federal flow-through projects, the reports are due 45-60 days after the project end date;
  • For state and other awards, the deadlines vary and may be shorter.

Inability or failure to submit reports within the stipulated time frame can result in the suspension of funding, non-payment of incurred costs, a loss of the ability to submit future proposals and/or a delay in the release of future funding for the investigator and/or the University. Internal university guidelines are set to ensure that sponsor requirements are met.

The below procedures address financial reporting, including both expenditure and equipment reports. SPARC should be contacted regarding any questions on non-financial reporting requirements.

Financial Guidelines

The PI is responsible for the management of the award, both scientifically and financially, in accordance with the terms of the award and University policies and procedures. Expenses charged must be allowable, allocable, reasonable and consistently applied. The PI and DA must ensure that all costs are correctly recorded on a timely basis in the ledger (i.e., Banner).

Periodic reviews of costs incurred during the project period will ensure accurate interim invoicing and financial reports. They also minimize the number of costs transfers needed during the closeout period.

In order to comply with reporting deadlines, all expenditures related to the project must be processed:

  • All subaward and other vendor payments posted,
  • Open encumbrances closed,
  • Cost sharing verified, and
  • The fund(s) reviewed for errors or necessary changes, including any refunds or rebates.

Any necessary corrections must post to the fund at least 15 days prior to the report due date.

Closeout Strategy

Identifying projects that are ending

There is a Project End Date report available in WebApps that lists all funds with a project or budget end date within 90 days of the requested query date. (See Budget Summary in Finance queries section).

Additionally, SPARC sends out Award Expiration Notices 30/60/90 days prior to the project end date. The PI should determine whether the scope of work can be completed by the end date or if an extension of the project period is necessary. If additional time is needed, the PI must process a No-Cost Extension (NCE) request through SPARC. If the work can be completed within the current project period, the PI and DA should proceed with closeout.

Processing closeout entries

There is a Projection Template tool available in WebApps to assist with planning closeout transactions. (Contact Administrative Systems for access.) This tool provides a means for planning all transactions needed to proceed with closeout. These include:

  • Identifying continuing funding sources for personnel currently paid on the award
  • Processing needed PCard reallocations
  • Completing travel envelopes
  • Clearing any travel advances
  • Requesting and processing final subcontract invoices
  • Requesting and processing other vendor invoices
  • Assigning any refunds or rebates
  • Cancelling open encumbrances

Additionally, if the award has required cost sharing to be reported, the PI/DA should contact RCA to ensure all cost sharing commitments have been met. (See Policy No. 306, Cost Sharing and related post-award procedures.)

If it is anticipated that new or continuation funding will be needed to support continuing charges, an Advance Spending fund should be requested as soon as possible in the closeout process. This is especially important when a new funding source has been identified but not yet established. (The instructions for requesting an Advance Spending Fund is available on the SPARC website). Use of an Advance Spending Fund will allow for timely moving of payroll and other continuing charges to the expected new funding source.

Stopping Continuing Charges

DAs are expected to process the necessary forms in a timely manner to stop continuing charges from posting after the award/project end date. These include:

  • Payroll expenses
    • Moved to new/continuing funds, or, if needed
    • Termination of employment, including taking benefit time within the project period
  • On-going user charges that default to the closing fund(s)
    • Some continuing charges have default fund numbers associated with the users. The following areas should be contacted and given new default fund numbers for users associated with the ending project.
      • Shared Equipment Authority (SEA)
      • Chemistry Storeroom
      • Telephone costs
      • Copy charges
Final Financial Reports
  1. RCA is responsible for submitting to the sponsor all financial reports and invoices.
  2. After the award/project end date, RCA sends an expenditure recap to the PI and DA that summarizes all allowable costs that have posted to the award, including any accrued expenditures that posted after the project end date but were incurred during the project period.
    1. If the recap identifies that an adjustment is needed for overexpenditures, the department/PI will be asked to write off the direct cost portion of the overexpenditure to a departmental source of funding.
    2. Occasionally, the terms of a multi-year project that is awarded incrementally require a final financial report/invoice for each increment. In these cases, RCA must submit a final report/invoice for that funding period even when additional funding is anticipated but the project period has not yet been extended.
  3. The PI and DA are to advise RCA promptly of any additional adjustments needed for pending transactions and forward copies of support for these amounts.
    1. It is expected that the salary amounts confirmed by the PI and DA will not change and will be so certified on the Effort Reports filed during the next reporting cycle.
  4. RCA will revise the expenditure amounts on the recap as needed based on input from the department.
  5. The recap must be approved at least two weeks before the final report/invoice is due to the sponsor.
  6. RCA will submit the report/invoice to the sponsor.
Equipment Reports

Some sponsors require final equipment reports to be filed at the end of a project. Property Accounting is responsible for preparing and submitting all equipment reports. They are prepared from the posted equipment charges in Banner and reviewed by RCA to ensure the amounts agree with the final equipment charges. Property Accounting forwards the final reports to the sponsor.

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