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Cash Awards

How do we process cash awards paid by a sponsored project to employees and non-employees?

The recognition and training Procedural Statement applies to this situation and for employees a formal recognition program must be approved by HR and the appropriate officer. While the Recognition Reporting (RR) form is technically not needed for employees (because those are processed through HRMS), we recommend completing the RR form and having it signed off by CCO since these awards are being paid by a sponsored project. This will serve as documentation to keep in the project files to show CCO's approval.

For non-employees, use a payment voucher in CU Marketplace. Non-employees also need to complete a W-9 form if they are not already in the system. The recognition program approved for employees will suffice for non-employees provided it also addresses non-employees.

Cost Sharing

What is cost share?

Cost share is additional dollars above the sponsor’s dollars which are needed to complete the SOW (scope of work).

Does the Uniform Guidance say no cost share?

No. Uniform Guidance says that cost share beyond the mandatory cost share will not be considered during the review of the proposal.

Why does CU discourage cost share?

Cost share obligates university resources so they cannot be used on other projects. Furthermore, cost share dollars are included in the equation/calculation of the university’s federal F&A rate application. The higher amount of cost share dollars, the lower the F&A rate.

What are the types of cost share?

Committed cost share is pledged in the proposal budget, budget justification, or proposal narrative whenever a specific dollar amount is stated or can be calculated from information provided in the proposal. Committed cost share can be mandatory (required as a condition of the award), or voluntary (offered by the recipient when not specifically required by the award). Uncommitted voluntary cost share is incidental support that is over and above what was proposed and agreed upon for the project. Uncommitted voluntary cost share is not included or quantified in the proposal budget or the narrative, and generally is not auditable or reported to the sponsor.

Other types of cost share include:

  • Cash cost share can come from within CU, or from an outside entity.
  • In-kind cost share is provided by a 3rd party entity.
  • Forfeited F&A is the difference between the approved federal F&A rate and the negotiated sponsor approved rate.
Who sets up the cost share SpeedTypes?

The CCO cost share accountant (CSA) sets up the cost share SpeedTypes for internal cost share. 3rd party cash cost share is tracked through a separate sponsored award, so CCO project set up sets up these SpeedTypes.

I received notice for my project SpeedType(s). When can I expect my cost share SpeedType?

Cost share SpeedTypes are processed after the Project SpeedType has been set up.

  • CSA receives notice an award with cost share through the inter-routing process
  • CSA gathers all the information and reviews the commitments
  • CSA decides the best way to track the cost share
  • If one or more SpeedType(s) are required, the CSA will request the set-up (2-5 working days)
  • The CSA will notify the department and PI with the SpeedType details
  • In-kind cost share: the CSA will include with the SpeedType notification any details about what is required for certification when the in-kind commitment has been completed
Why does my cost share have several different SpeedTypes?

Cost share can be funded from several different sources. The SpeedTypes are set up to match the funding source:

For a CU internal funding source:

  • Fund 10= cost share fund 12
  • Fund 2x= cost share fund 22
  • Fund 34= cost share fund 32
  • Fund 72= cost share fund 70

For a 3rd party cash cost share (outside dollars) funding source, the resulting cost share SpeedType will be either:

  • Fund 30= sponsored cost share
  • Fund 31= state-sponsored cost share
How do I fund the cost share SpeedType?

CU-funded cost share SpeedTypes are funded through a cash transfer.

Who is responsible for obtaining the In-Kind Certification form?

The PI is responsible for obtaining the signed In-Kind Certification form when the 3rd party entity has completed the work. This is based on the concept that the PI is aware that the work has been completed and can therefore verify what the 3rd party entity has certified.

How do we know the accuracy of the items that are on an In-Kind Certification form?

As part of the agreement with 3rd party entities, they are subject to audit and may be asked to produce all supporting documentation for the dollar amount which they certify.

What is the difference between mandatory and voluntary cost share?

Mandatory cost share is cost share required by the sponsor as part of the award. Voluntary cost share is cost share not required by the sponsor but is needed to complete the scope of work (SOW). Both are a commitment that is a liability to the university and must be fulfilled whether the sponsoring agency requires reporting of the cost share or not.

What is uncommitted voluntary cost share?

Uncommitted voluntary cost share is incidental support that is over and above what was proposed and agreed upon for the project; it is not included or quantified in the proposal budget or the narrative. Generally, uncommitted cost sharing is not auditable or reported to the sponsor. This does and can occur, but should be kept to a minimum, as it is not in the best interest of the university.

What if I don’t meet the cost share commitment?

Not meeting the cost share commitment puts the university at risk because it is a binding commitment. If we do not fulfill our obligation, a sponsor may refuse to pay all or part of what is owed to the university. This is why monitoring your cost share is very important. If you estimate that you will not be able to meet your cost share commitment, discuss with the PI and cost share accountant immediately. It is possible OCG and the sponsor will need to be contacted with justification on why the cost share commitment cannot be met. The explanation needs to include the extent to which you are able to complete the SOW without the cost share dollars.

Is there ever cost share with a sub-contract or sub-award?

Yes. Sub-contract cost share is required to be reported in a clearly stated manner on any invoices they present to the university. On rare occasions, this cost share may be documented by a signed In-Kind Certification form. The university is responsible for and therefore liable for the sub-contractor’s cost share.

As the PI, I want to volunteer my time for cost share – Can I?

In general, employees of CU can not do volunteer/In-Kind contributions to the project. The reasoning is that if you have a full-time position, you do not have additional time to volunteer (can’t be over 100%).

Can I use my cost share dollars for anything I want?

Cost share dollars are spent within the financial parameters that are specified on the awarded budget. Always refer to the award document for variances within categories. The cost share accountant can advise on what is allowable and if OCG and the sponsor need to be contacted to ask for an exception.

Who closes the cost share SpeedType?

The cost share accountant is responsible for monitoring and closing the financial cost share file. The cost share accountant works closely with the department. The cost share should be closed before the project can be closed. It is the department’s responsibility to make sure the balance of all cost share SpeedTypes is zero after meeting the commitment. The cost share accountant is the final approval for SpeedType in-activation.

What do I do with leftover money in the cost share SpeedType(s) after it is closed?

It is CU’s policy that you return the money proportionately to the units who contributed funding.

Cost Transfers

How do I process a cost transfer that is more than 90 days old?

Transfers processed between 30 and 90 days after the end of the month in which the transaction appeared on the reporting system statement must include written justification and all relevant back-up documentation. Cost transfers completed more than 90 days beyond the end of the month in which the transaction appeared are considered exceptions and require substantial and reasonable justification.

Header description for JEs

Header descriptions should provide a clear, complete explanation concerning the transfer and must include:

  • The cause of the error (why the receiving FOPPS was not charged originally).
  • Justification that the charge is allowable, allocable and provides direct benefit to the project receiving the charge.
  • Cost transfers after 90 days require not only an adequate explanation of charge but also an explanation of the delay in processing the correction. Late transfers may need additional review by the project’s financial analysts before the JE can be approved.
  • Abbreviations, incomplete sentences and other word reduction techniques are expected in the journal header due to the 254 character limit.
  • Please note that according to federal guidelines, “...an explanation which merely states that the transfer was made ‘to correct error’ or ‘to transfer to correct project’ is not sufficient.”

Currency Exchange Rate

Is there any way to include a variable for reduction in budget due to exchange rate when looking at the available balance on a report?  

If an award is granted in a currency other than USD, OCG will keep a note in its database (FileMaker) and communicate this information to PI and the fiscal manager as a reminder. For example, in this case there was a note in FM “Award is in EUROs so budget may have to be modified if exchange rate is not favorable. Expected: 48,589 Euros = to $78,678K USD”. How to timely and accurately adjust current budget to reflect actual payments received will depend on the payment mechanism in the award agreement, and it is also a joint effort among the department, OCG and CCO. If it is lump sum advance payments or CU receives the installed payments ahead of spending activities, then there will be a good chance to have the budget adjusted timely. But if it is cost reimbursements or if payments depend on deliverables (i.e. the sponsor only makes the final payments after it receives final report), we will not have a clear idea of how much the payments will be while the spending has already incurred. It is always a good practice to keep in mind that payments might be short and spending needs to be closely watched when an award is in foreign currency.

The fluctuation in currency conversion rate can also work to our advantage as it goes both ways – favorable or unfavorable. In Dr. Steinmo’s case, it is a big windfall.

How to hedge the inherent foreign currency exchange rate risk has been an on-going discussion between CCO and OCG. Currently, deficit due to unfavorable currency conversion rate is being solved case by case. In most cases, the deficit is solved by solution from the deptartment/PI.

For Dr. Steinmo’s EUI project #1550057, EUI made two advance installed payments in April 2013 and March 2014. In addition, one year extension is being requested. So, now is the opportunity for the department and OCG to work out an adjusted budget based on the remaining cash balance.

Fiscal Manager

I want to change the fiscal manager role for a sponsored project, but don't want to change fiscal manager for all the projects in our department.

There is a fundamental difference between sponsored projects and non-fund 30/31 programs in the way fiscal roles are treated.

Sponsored projects must abide by the conditions set forth by the sponsor as well as those applicable at the federal, state and university levels. Whereas program fiscal role assignments are generally an internal university (department) decision, the sponsored project principal investigator (PI) is designated as the project fiscal principal in the Finance System and cannot be changed without sponsor approval. CCO enters the PI information into the Finance System when the project is set up. The term “key contact” used to be a valid field in the Finance System but that field and position was eliminated. However, key contact continues its status with CCO and serves as a way for us to disseminate project-related information to departments. There is only one key contact per department (except for a few large orgs with many projects).  

You can add employees to the fiscal staff role by completing the Fiscal Staff Request Form, and sending it to ccoawardsmgmt@colorado.edu. For all other fiscal role questions or concerns, contact your area accountant.

How do I find invoices for my sponsored awards and their payment status?

The Sponsored Project Invoices query allows users to view a list of invoices based on various attributes of an award and related billing, and to allow a drill down to view the actual PDF invoice and supplemental backup data when applicable. The query, found by navigating through either query manager or query viewer, is named “GM_BI_INVOICES”.

The reference guide gives an overview of the functionality and navigation of this highly useful query.

Whistleblower Guidance

What steps do I take to report known or suspected violations of university policies and violations of applicable laws and regulations (including misconduct for sponsor-funded research)?

See the Enhanced Contractor Whistleblower Protection Guidance on the Office of Contracts and Grants site.