The last few weeks of a grant period are an important time in the life cycle of an award. Expenses must be reviewed for allowability, final accrued expenses must be posted, any deficits must be cleared and a number of reports must be filed.
Arriving at a “final figure”
The total amount of funds spent on an award must typically be reported to the sponsor within 30-90 days after the award has ended. Towards the end of the grant period, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) begins communicating with the principal investigator (PI) and the departmental grant administrator (DGA) to ensure timely and accurate closeout of the award.
- A 90-day financial projection is sent to the PI approximately three months before the end date for the PI to use as a starting point in assessing how the final balance of funding will be used and whether a time extension will need to be requested through OSP;
- reports are sent to DGAs monthly indicating awards expiring in 30, 60 and 90 days so that EPAFs can be completed and any automatic expenses can be moved to other funding sources;
- a termination notice is sent to DGAs upon the expiration of an award;
- DGAs work with the PI and the OSP Financial Unit to ensure all allowable expenses have posted and any unallowable expense or deficits have been removed; and
- a notice of PI/departmental responsibilities is sent out after an award has been fully closed.
Completion of cost-sharing
All expenses being used as cost share must fall within the award beginning and ending dates and all documentation of cost share must be provided to OSP prior to the due date for final reporting (typically 30 to 90 days).
Final financial reporting
Once the budget is settled to the department's satisfaction, OSP will submit the final financial report, which is typically due 30 (nonfederal) to 90 (federal) days after the close of the grant. This reporting tells the sponsor exactly how much money was spent on the award, and commits the university to releasing any unused funding back to the sponsoring agency or, if funds have been received in advance, to sending a refund to the sponsor. External auditors look carefully at a sample of final financial reports each year, examining each for accuracy and timeliness. Since this is a criterion used to “grade” the university on its grants management, it is important that final expenditures (see above) be provided to OSP well before the deadline. The final financial report will be filed by OSP within the award deadlines.
Final technical, subject inventions and property reports
Most sponsors require a final technical report, which is to be filed within 90 days of the end date of the grant, or earlier, if so specified by the award terms. The particular format required by the sponsor is usually set forth in the terms and conditions of the award. Submission of the final technical report is the responsibility of the PI and should be retained in the departmental files until records retention deadlines have passed (three years after termination, unless additional time is specified in the award terms).
In addition to a final technical report, many federal sponsors also require a final patent or inventions report. The form will typically ask for a list of any patentable or protectable discoveries that came out of the work conducted under the grant. These forms are submitted to the sponsor by OSP after consultation with the PI and with the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT).
Certain sponsors, including BEA/INL, DOE, NASA and USDA-ARS, also require a final property/equipment report. In some cases, the equipment or property acquired with project funds vests with the sponsor, and a determination must be made as to the disposition of these items upon completion of the work. OSP will work with the PI to complete any required reports and with the PI and sponsor to request a determination for the final disposition of any items belonging to the sponsoring agency.
Once a budget is inactivated, Banner will reject any transaction posted to it. OSP will not completely inactivate a budget until all of the following criteria have been satisfied:
- The account has expired, and no further expenditures are pending
- All reports (financial, technical, patent, property and cost-sharing) have been filed
- The final expenditures reported to the sponsor matches total expenditures posted to Banner
- Final payment has been received
Until a budget has been inactivated, it will continue to roll into future fiscal years.