5a. Fiscal responsibility

  1. Whom do I contact?
  2. What financial principles do I need to know?
  3. What auditing or monitoring occurs?

1.  Whom do I contact?

Contact your departmental or research administrator for your hiring department.  This individual(s) will serve as your primary contract for financial information and guidance, sponsored project proposal preparation and post award management issues.

2.  What financial principles do I need to know?

According to the UI Operations Manual, (Section 5.3.b), as the project director, you are responsible for the sponsored project's overall programmatic and fiscal direction.  In this role, you decide how best to allocate the available financial resources to successfully carry out the project activities while adhering to all University, governmental, and sponsor policies and regulations.  You must also ensure that all costs that are charged directly to a sponsored project are: 

  1. Allowable – A cost is allowable if it is eligible under the terms and conditions of the agreement.  These may vary by funding agency, but major categories of allowable expenses usually include project scientific personnel, supplies, equipment, patient care costs, and related travel expenses.  Expenses that may not be allowed include administrative salaries, local phone charges, or general use office supplies.
  2. Allocable – A cost is considered allocable if it is chargeable to a project based on the proportional benefit to the project.  For example, allocating a percentage of salary in relation to the percentage of effort devoted to the project.  It is not appropriate to use funds from one project for items used in a different project.
  3. Reasonable – A cost is considered reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired or applied and the amount involved reflect that action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made.  

Costs for alcoholic beverages, entertainment, fund raising and lobbying activities are unallowable.  

3.  What auditing or monitoring occurs?

The University is audited on a regular basis.  The three main types of audits that occur are:

  • A-133 Audits -- As required by OMB Circular A-133, the University must annually undergo a single audit.  The scope of this audit includes a review of the annual University Financial Report, internal controls, & compliance requirements. This audit is coordinated by the Grant Accounting Office.  You might be contacted in relation to the A-133 audit to provide information about a specifically questioned cost or other financial issue.  
  • Project Specific Audits: Any sponsoring agency, federal or private, can require an audit of the awards that it has provided.  Sponsoring agencies often request information for an audit by notifying the University Authorizing Official (Vice President for Research), but they also may contact you directly.  If you are contacted by a sponsor, you should notify your departmental or research administrator who in turn will contact the appropriate central office.
  • Internal Audits: The UI Office of Internal Audit regularly monitors University departments and programs for compliance with University, governmental and if applicable sponsor regulations.  

The Grant Accounting Office monitors expenditures for allowability and effort and/cost sharing commitments.  You may be contacted to provide justification for specific charges.