Monitoring Budgets and Expenses
It is the principal investigator's/project manager's responsibility to ensure that the funding he or she has received is expended for charges that are "allowable" for the project in question. Under federal guidance, for an expense to be considered allowable to be direct-charged to an award, it must first satisfy four conditions:
- Reasonable - If the nature and amount of the expenditure reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the same circumstances.
- Allocable - Chargeable or assignable in that is it either incurred solely to advance the project work or has a reasonable basis for proportional assignment. Note that items generally covered by indirect costs (e.g. office supplies, administrative personnel, facilities costs) should not be assigned as direct costs to sponsored projects. For more information, please refer to APM 45.06.
- Consistently treated - Through application of generally accepted accounting principles, like expenses must be treated in the same way.
- Conforming to any limitations or exclusions either specific to the sponsor or to federal regulations.
Questions regarding the allowability of costs should be directed to the Cost Accounting Unit of the Office of Sponsored Programs. You may also choose to view the PowerPoint file under Instructional Resources.
No. Due to the risk associated with incorrectly charging items to sponsored projects, these budgets may not be selected as default purchasing card budgets. For more information on purchasing cards, see the Purchasing Card section of the Controller's Office website.
There are a number of Banner reports available that your departmental grant administrator can run and provide to you. The Office of Sponsored Programs makes these reports directly available to principal investigators on a monthly basis via VandalWeb.
The reports you will most likely use are as follows, along with a link to download the Banner Forms and Reports manual:
- Itemization of Expenses by Period (FWRITEM): This report can be run for any time period by budget number and provides either expenses by expense code (e.g., Lab Supplies) in its summary form, or expenses by invoice in its detailed form. It allows you to see all expenses that posted to a given budget, including time charged by employee. Note that items still in processing will not be included; work with your departmental grant administrator to determine any pending expenses.
- Grant Inception to Date Summary (FWRSUMR): This report is a one-page summary by primary expense code (e.g., travel) of the budget, the expenses, the encumbrances, the balances by category and in total, and the percent of time and percent of funding remaining for a given award. It is a good snapshot of your rate of spending versus time remaining.
- Banner Forms and Reports Manual.
The Office of Sponsored Programs makes an effort to add budgetary restriction information to the information contained in your Notice of Award (routing memo) that you will receive at award setup. It is important to review those restrictions and also take time to review the award document and any agency guidelines for more specific information.
If there are no budgetary restrictions on your award, then generally you may move up to 25 percent of budgeted line items to other categories. Request the transfer from your departmental grant administrator along with a brief explanation of the need for the transfer to be provided for audit purposes.
Any budgetary changes that fall into the restricted category (over 25 percent or other sponsor limitation) must have prior approval from an authorized official of the sponsor. Please complete a prior approval request in VERAS for review and Authorized Organizational Representative signature.