Effort Administrator is an internet-based time and effort certification and reporting technology for colleges, universities, independent research institutes, and research hospitals. Designed like an on-line banking system for ease of use, it interfaces with existing pre-award, accounting, and payroll systems to create a powerful and comprehensive effort certification and reporting solution. It allows faculty and/or research staff to review and certify their own effort as well as the effort of their research team; and enables institution administrators to oversee the certification process and generate reports as needed for federal and local effort reporting requirements. Primary benefits include:
- Meeting Federal Reporting Requirements
- Increasing Faculty and Staff Participation
- Monitoring Cost Sharing
- Comparing Actual and Committed Time
Effort Administrator can be implemented as an independent system or integrated with other IT Works software modules. It can be hosted on either client or IT Works controlled servers.
Web Enabled, User Friendly Interface
Effort Administrator allows administrative and research staff to quickly access, review and certify time and effort records. Its user friendly interface operates over the internet and incorporates familiar concepts such as folder systems and filters for organizing and locating records, dashboards and email alerts for overseeing the certification process, and easy to interpret display screens for reviewing time and effort records by employee and project. The display screens are easily configured according to individual institutional needs and user roles. Information is organized in rows and columns that allow the amounts and percentages paid, cost shared, committed, and worked by employee and funding source to be viewed (or hidden) for easy comparison. Warnings alert users when column values differ or are out of range, or when column values do not total correctly.
Sample Screen Shots
Folder System and Display: The left side of the screen outlined yellow shows an expanded folder system organizing employee records by organizational unit. The right side of the screen shows uncertified time for one employee. Sponsored Research records are at the top and University Funds (hard money) are listed below. In this example, a four component account structure has been implemented and five columns displaying the percent paid by the award, cost shared, total paid and cost shared, committed, and actually worked.
Dashboard: The dashboard outlined in yellow in the upper right corner of the screen shows the status of the certification process for the entire organization. This example highlights information for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. There are 783 total employees. 692 have successfully completed their certifications. 91 have not yet certified their records. 39 of the 91 have certification rule violations.
Certification Statement and Digital Signature: After reviewing time and effort records, employees agree to an attestation statement and a digital signature is recorded as part of the system’s audit trail.
Configurable to Meet Local Policy and System Requirements
Effort Administrator can be easily configured to meet unique certification policy and procedural requirements such as:
- Certification periods (by pay period, month, quarter, semester, year, etc.)
- Attestation / signature statement language
- Display form labels, naming conventions, and terminology
- Color schemes and logos
- Organizational hierarchy
- Account structures for sponsored projects and hard money
- Multi-level approval and signature requirements
- Certified effort report formats
Effort Administrator is also designed to integrate with other systems at your institution to automate the certification process. Multiple interfaces allow information to be imported from to existing grant management, human resources, payroll, and accounting systems.
Multi-tiered Security, Approval, and Notification Systems
Multi-tiered security and approval systems control who can view, modify and / or certify employee effort records. Records are organized hierarchically by employee (such as provost, dean, department chair, and then investigator) or organizational unit (such as college, department, and then division) and the approval system can be configured to require multiple signatures if needed. Email and dashboard alerts notify users when they have certification statements ready for review.
The overall certification process involves data loading, review and modification (if necessary), and then certification. Data loading is either controlled by an interface that imports payroll records or is performed manually by an administrator who enters (or copies previously entered) employee effort records into the system. Effort Administrator automatically combines this information with previously defined cost sharing rules and committed effort allocations in preparation for review and certification. An internal security system controls who can review records and routing and approval systems control the number of and order in which signatures are applied. Email notifications can be triggered after completion of a stage in the certification process to prompt for the appropriate action and may be sent to individual or groups of employees and their supervisors.
Review Effort by Employee or Project
Time and effort records maybe organized and reviewed by employee or project. Records organized by employee provide:
- Verification that an employee’s effort totals to 100%
- Review of effort supported by sponsored research and hard money
- Tracking of salary cap and voluntary cost sharing
- Inspections of institutional effort thresholds
- Comparisons between paid, cost shared, actual and committed effort
- Review of information by certification cycle, pay cycle, or month
Records organized by project provide:
- Analysis of effort by project team
- Management of mandatory and voluntary cost sharing
- Review of actual and committed effort
- Assessment of effort by budget period, project period, or month
A comprehensive reporting system provides information needed for internal management and compliance with federal reporting mandates. It allows users to select and filter data sets by:
- Certification status (certified, uncertified, or both)
- Employees groups defined by organizational unit, investigator research team, etc.
- Funding source
- Funding groups defined by organizational unit, investigator, type (sponsored projects vs. hard money), sponsor, and sponsor type (federal, state, private, etc.)
- Fiscal year, certification period, budget period, pay period, or other user defined time periods
- Record type (payroll, cost shared adjustment, retroactive adjustment, etc.)
The selected data sets can be displayed in numerous formats for quick review or detailed analysis. Formats sort and group information by employee, funding source, date range, etc. and provide:
- Comparisons of percent paid to actual and committed effort
- Monitoring of cost sharing
- Reconciliation with internal systems
- Notification of potential policy violations
- Materials for auditors
- Analysis by organizational unit, research team, funding agency, etc.
Effort Administrator Implementation
Effort Administrator supports multiple implementation methods including after the fact certifications that utilize imported payroll data [link to payroll import section of EA implementation page] or manually entered time records [link to salary distribution section of EA implementation page] in either percentages or hours. It allows additional employee and account or project information to be imported if needed to reduce manual maintenance and facilitate day to day operations. Retroactive salary distribution adjustments may be made from within Effort Administrator or imported from a general ledger system. IT Works project management and implementation specialists work with your internal management team to configure Effort Administrator according to your institution’s effort certification policy. The configuration process includes defining certification calendars, terminology, color schemes, and display screen layouts. We use standard project management methods and guidelines to ensure a successful installation.
Contact us for more information.