NSF launches new payment system 4/1/13

February 13, 2013

From: Bev Baran, Sponsored Projects Accounting
To: Department Administrators Responsible for NSF Grants

Hi All,

Sorry for the length. Hope this gets the general idea across (even if you don’t understand all the specifics).

NSF is implementing a new grant closeout process. NSF uses this process to determine that:

  • all administrative actions (includes expense postings) are complete, and
  • all required work or the grant has been completed.

Currently, NSF uses the Federal Financial Report (FFR) which is filed quarterly by CU. Under this method:

  • NSF kept projects opened a minimum of 3 months after the end date. But in many cases it was six months.
  • CU draws for reimbursements by a pool of expenses. NSF does not know which specific awards CU is requesting payment for.

Award Cash Management $ervice (ACM$) will be implemented by NSF on April 1, 2013.

  • Under ACM$, CU will draw by individual project. At any given time, NSF will know exactly how much has been requested for each award.


December 31, 2012 – Second to last FFR was filed.

March 31, 2013Last chance to get it right!

NSF will deem these figures to be correct as of March 31, 2013. NSF will pay CU up to the amount recorded on this final FFR for all awards. Any remaining budget that has not been paid will be transferred to the new ACM$ system. In essence, it is like you are starting each project anew from this point forward.

  • Projects older than three months will be not transferred to the new system.
  • All projects need to be correct in PeopleSoft Finance on March 31.
  • SPA will need to submit this last FFR as soon as possible after the March close is complete. CU will not be able to draw for expenses until NSF has set up CU on the new system.

Sutha Thanikasalam and I will be working furiously to close as many projects as possible before the March 31 deadline. Sutha has previously worked in SPA as the grant accountant for NSF.

How you can help:

  • Please review all projects past the end date projects:
    • Remove all unallowable costs.
    • Justify or remove any questionable expenses
      • Fed Ex
      • Postage
      • Office Supplies
      • Books / Subscriptions
      • Memberships / Dues
      • (you know what we will, or normally do, question) 
  • Participant Costs & other Supplements seem to be a particular problem to most. Remember:
    • They cannot be used for any other purpose than what is specified in the award contract.
    • Review the contract, the budget, and budget justification.
    • Normally, employee expenses are not allowed—even if they are supervising the participant(s) 
  • When you receive emails requesting information or justification(s), please respond promptly and address everything that is asked for. Doing it piecemeal is very time consuming for us.

 April 1, 2013 — Award Cash Management $ervice (ACM$) will be implemented.

  • Again, CU will draw by individual project. At any given time, NSF will know exactly how much has been requested for each award.
  • SPA will be doing cash reimbursements requests 4 or 5 times throughout the month.

There are currently more than 1,300 NSF projects. SPA is depending on you to keep your projects correct at all times. Since you will be doing an audit of all your projects for the March 31 close, it should be easier to keep them correct.

It's a mistake to think, “Oh, it’s NSF; they don’t really care!” They do care. Congress, OMB, and other stakeholders are requiring more up-to-date information on how tax dollars are being spent. NSF must comply with new standardized financial reporting requirements.

Thanks for your co-operation.


Beverly Baran
Sponsored Projects Accounting
574 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0574
Phone: (303) 735-4760
Fax: (303) 735-0323