All employees who are paid in full or in part with federal funds must document the amount of time spent working on grant activities. Principal Investigators (PIs) have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that project costs are appropriate and timely, including time and effort paid from research sponsors. As a reminder, effort certification is distributed for review and certification three times per year, in order to confirm effort expended to granting agencies.
PIs certify effort for themselves and their postdocs, students and biweekly employees. Co-investigators and other professional staff certify their own reports. Signees are certifying that the payroll distribution reasonably reflects the time spent on the activities for which the employee was compensated during the reporting period.
To ensure efficient project management, a certified effort report should not be changed after the fact. Certifiers should not certify an incorrect report. Instead, they should immediately notify the individual responsible for appointment changes in their area so timely payroll accounting adjustments can be submitted and an accurate report can be generated.
Other helpful reminders for Effort Certification:
- Employees should be appointed to awards as soon as they start working on the project and in the correct proportion.
- Salary cost transfers should be prepared prior to issuance of effort certification documents or corrected during the certification process.
- PIs should reconcile awards on a monthly basis. Any required salary cost transfers or corrections should be completed within three months following the month in which the cost was incurred.