Grant milestone reporting can vary depending on how the milestone is measured, how the recipient institution tracks and monitors the milestones, and based on what the sponsor requires. When grant reporting & invoicing is dependent on time rather than milestones, such as a six month period, the process is direct and simple. Alternatively, when reporting is based off of milestones it becomes more challenging. As such, the National Council for Research Administrators hosted a presentation addressing this issue. Tracey Fraser, Director, Office of Sponsored Projects, Smithsonian Institute and Glenda Bullock, Director of Research and Business Administration, Divisions of Hematology, Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology, Washington University in St. Louis recap their solutions for the problem. Their thoughts are presented below.
Grant Management Reporting Challenges:
The challenge in grant milestone reporting occurs when the post-award office does not know when the milestone has been reached. When invoicing is time based, administrators simply must track the deadline and hit “submit” when appropriate. However, if funding is based on milestones the challenge is in insuring everyone knows when a technical milestone will be completed. Having a system and process in place across the institution that communicates their expectations and progress is necessary. The faculty and the research offices understand how much funding is necessary to achieve a particular milestone. During the pre-award process all relevant parties should discuss whether an advance in funding will be needed from the sponsor or if they will be able to reimburse after the invoice is sent.
Installing a grant management software system will expedite project management among all stakeholders. Depending on the software solution selected this tool should be able to generate alerts for relevant parties to be aware of deadlines and budgetary needs. Grant milestone reporting requires personnel from a variety of departments, whether central or research. As such it is important that a system be in place for all to gain access to the information.
Grant Management Reporting Solution:
If funds are tied to milestones, rather than a specific time frame, it’s important to involve faculty and/or team members in discussions regarding the completion of each milestone. As discussed above, the ones implementing the grant project will know when the milestones are completed. This is often tied to their contribution of effort on the project. Information associated with the milestones can be documented in a report provided to the central office which explains the who, what, when, why, and the cost of their sponsored project. The central office will then have documentation from the research team which can be used to complete the invoicing process. It is usually a best practice to send the reports to the sponsor when submitting required invoices. The right software will streamline the creation of user friendly reports. IT Works clients have found tremendous value in utilizing our comprehensive software that encompasses all of these best practice. To learn more about how we can customize our grant milestone reporting tools to best fit your office contact the IT Works team today.