Sound financial management of sponsored awards involves regular review and reconciliation of project expenditures to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the award, the OMB Circular A-21 Cost Principles, and University Guidelines for Federal Sponsored Expenditures.
The financial activity of an award should be monitored from the day the account is active and until it is terminated. CREW (Common Reporting Environment for the Warehouse) is Harvard’s web-based tool for generating financial and sponsored management reports. The Detail Listing Report, Period Expense Report, Salary Certifications and Sponsored Invalid Code Combinations are the four CREW reports that form the foundation for conducting an effective review.
When reviewing these reports, think about the following:
- Are the expenses on the Detailing Listing (DL) what you expect?
- Are expenses in line with the budget on the Period Expense Report (PER)?
- Are there any transactions on the Sponsored Invalid Code Combination that need to be removed?
- Are expenses directly beneficial to the award?
- Is the expenditure rate consistent with the project schedule?
- Are expenses incurred between the start and end date of the award?
- Are expenses allowable, reasonable, allocable and consistently treated?
- Are expenses in line with University Guidelines for Federal Sponsored Expenditures ?
- Are expenses in line with the terms and conditions of the award?
- Is the effort for the PI and other key personnel consistent with those identified in the Notice of Award?
- Are the personnel charged to the project accurately reflected on the Salary and Effort Certification Report?
This type of monthly review and reconciliations will help to identify corrections/changes/errors that need to be made early and minimize the need for Cost Transfers.
CREW: Report Descriptions
- Detail Listing Report: The Detail Listing Report is run to see individual transactions that have been recorded in the General Ledger. By looking at individual transaction lines, an end user can determine if all charges are accurate and appropriate. Also, miscodings (i.e. wrong activity/subactivity/object code) can be easily identified using this report.
- Period Expenses Report: The Period Expenses Report (PER) is run to obtain a summary of your award on an object code level. The budgets are also listed on the report to make for easy comparison between budgeted and actual expenditures. This is the best way to view the fund balance, as it includes all income and adjustments that have posted to the award in a concise and easy to read manner.
- Monthly Effort Certification: The Monthly Effort Certification report is used to certify direct non-faculty salary/effort on federal projects. It is the unit administrator’s responsibility to generate, distribute, track, and file the signed forms monthly. This report confirms that all salaries are reported correctly.
Reports to Run for Effective Grants Management:
- Sponsored Invalid Code Combinations: The Sponsored Invalid Code Combinations identifies transactions posted to an invalid activity/subactivity/fund combination. These transactions do not appear on the PER, or in GMAS, and are not included in invoices or financial reports to sponsors. If not corrected promptly, the department may need to post them to unrestricted accounts as they cannot be reported to or reimbursed from the sponsor.