To track how much you spend on salary and wages, use our Budget Tracker form. This simple salary encumbrance workbook will allow you to track salary by individual employee or by speedkey.
Spending Award Funds
Depending on what was in your budget and what the sponsor approved, you may use your award funds to pay student workers, graduate assistants, full-time employees, participants, or fellows.
|Student Workers||Fill out the Student Employment Appointment Form and contact the Office of Financial Aid.|
|Graduate Assistants (GAs)||GAs are paid through salary. Submit a 101 Personnel Action Form and a tuition exemption form. Contact the Graduate School.|
|Full-Time Employees||Submit a 101 Personnel Action Form and contact Human Resource Management.|
|Fellows||Fill out the Fellowship Award Request Form. If you have any questions about this form, contact Liz Sigler in the Office of Research.|
|Participants (by type)||UNO Students
Fill out an award request form and contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Current Louisiana Teachers
Enter into a Teacher's Participation Support Agreement with the teacher's school, and contact the Office of Financial Services.
Other Participants (e.g. high school students)
Fill out a stipend check request form and contact Accounts Payable.
Principal investigators must monitor all expenditures for the projects. Every three months, the Office of Research will provide the principal investigator with a list of expenditures logged in the system. Someone with the knowledge of the proper expenditures for the project must review the charges.
Since the PI is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the project, the PI will provide a certification regarding the validity of the expenditures. The certification must be signed within 30 days of notification. The appropriate grant administrator for the project will also sign the certification.
All federal sponsors must apply the provisions of the Uniform Grant Guidelines in determining the allowability of costs incurred for work—so UNO PIs on federal grants must document 100% of the activity for which employees working on sponsored agreements with federal funding are compensated.
PIs must submit Personnel Activity Reports (PARs) that reflect the workload percent distribution during the reporting period derived from personnel action forms. PARs are generated by the Office of Research at the end of each six-month period. Failure to complete and certify PARs correctly could result in audit findings and/or loss of funds to the university.
At the proposal stage, an estimated budget is determined based on the expected expenses to complete the project. As work on the project progresses, changes in the budget distribution may be necessary due to increased cost for items or changes in what is needed to complete the project.
A budget adjustment will need to be requested.
The process is different for fixed price and cost reimbursable awards; also, some awards may need prior written approval from the sponsor. Submitting a budget adjustment does not add funds to the overall award amount; if this is necessary, a supplemental request would need to be submitted to the sponsor through the Office of Research research administrator.
- Cost reimbursable award: UNO invoices the sponsor based on the actual expenses charged to the award by the PI. UNO will only receive the full award amount if allowable expenses are posted equaling the full award.
- Fixed price award: UNO receives the full award amount if the specific terms of the award are met. UNO will retain any funds not spent in the course of the project.
Cost Reimbursable Awards Procedure
Cost reimbursable award documents generally specify a detailed budget to follow. The award document will also reference the procedure for allowing budget adjustments.
Some awards require prior sponsor approval for all budget adjustments; others allow certain adjustments to be done without prior approval; and some do not require any prior approval. For all cost reimbursable awards, the budget adjustment form in SharePoint must be completed.
Contact your post-award grant administrator for assistance filling out the form.
A budget adjustment form will also need to be completed for cost share accounts related to the cost reimbursable award.
There are some situations in which the financial system budget was not entered in the budget category in which the expense actually appears. For example, for federal awards, equipment purchases between $1,000 and $5,000 are classified as supplies. But in the UNO system, these purchases are classified as equipment. If the budget was entered as supplies when the award was finalized, an error will occur when the piece of equipment is purchased.
In this situation, a budget adjustment form can be completed with the justification that the financial system budget needs to correspond with the approved expense—or, the adjustment may be handled through an email. The email or the form must be kept with the award file.
Examples of Prior Approval Situations
Refer to your award document for specific requirements. However, prior sponsor approval is generally necessary in the following situations as adapted from 2 CFR Part 200:
- Paying additional compensation when it was not mentioned in the proposal or award document
- Reducing support for students
- Reducing funds for participants
- Purchasing additional or different equipment
- Adding international travel
- Adding a subcontractor
- Changing key personnel mentioned by name in the proposal or approved budget
- Changing a subcontractor mentioned by name in the proposal or approved budget
- PI not working on the project for more than 3 months or has a 25% reduction in time devoted to the project
- Changing the scope of the project
Obtaining Sponsor Approval
Sponsor approval should be obtained prior to spending the funds or changing the scope of the project; it should not be done after an item has been purchased or after an individual has been hired.
The procedure for obtaining the approval will be different for every sponsor. Some require a formal request, such as a memo signed by the PI and the Office of Research, while others will accept an informal email from the PI. Some submissions will be handled through the sponsor's online system while others will be done through email. The research administrator can provide assistance.
Generally, the request should include a justification for the change and the proposed new budget. The sponsor may not approve the budget change. The grant administrator will not process a budget adjustment if sponsor approval is needed and the sponsor does not approve.
Budget adjustment requests sent to the sponsor will be kept on file along with the sponsor's response.
Fixed Price Awards Procedure
Fixed price award documents—contracts, typically—do not specify a budget breakdown. Instead, the documents specify a fixed amount that will be paid to UNO based on the completion of tasks or deliverables.
However, a detailed budget is necessary in order to facilitate spending the funds in UNO's financial system. The research administrator (RA) will request that the principal investigator (PI) prepare a budget.
Since the budget is not normally given to the sponsor for approval and is not part of the executed contract, the budget can be adjusted as necessary during the life of the project without sponsor approval. The contract must be reviewed to ensure there are no clauses that address budget adjustments.
When an expense transaction is failing the budget check because of insufficient budgeted funds, the Office of Research grant administrator will examine the project report and determine if there are enough funds in another budget category that can be used for the amount needed. The grant administrator will email the PI a copy of the report and ask the PI to approve a reduction in an appropriate category. The PI can suggest a different category if desired. The grant administrator will make the adjustment in the financial system based on the email responses. The email should be kept with the file in case there are questions during the project about the adjustment.
On occasion, a cost will be applied to one grant that needs to be applied to a different grant. For example, a paperwork error may result in a charge being applied to the wrong speedkey.