As discussed in a previous blog article, reports are key to streamlining effort reporting and effort certification system reconciliation with respect to audits and verifying compliance with federal effort reporting policies. In today’s blog, we examine one report format that is particularly helpful for reconciliation when an effort certification period encompasses multiple pay periods.
Issues with Effort Certification System Reconciliation
There are numerous issues associated with grant management that complicate effort certification system reconciliation. Examples include:
- Effort certification periods that encompass multiple pay periods
- Grant budget periods that don’t align with the effort certification period
- Changes to effort mid certification period
- Retroactive salary distribution modifications
In this blog, our focus is on reports that address the first and second issues listed above. A grant budget period that either starts after the certification period start date or ends before the certification period end date complicates the effort certification reconciliation process. In both cases, the day to day effort on the grant while it was active can be less than the effort on the grant for the overall certification period. At first glance, this difference can cause confusion during the reconciliation process. However, the right report can be used to quickly clarify the confusion. Note: while not covered in the example shown below, the same report can be used to address the third and fourth issues as well.
Reports that Help with Effort Certification System Reconciliation
One of the keys to effort certification system reconciliation is the availability of reports that present information by pay period. To demonstrate the usefulness of this type of report, consider an example of an employee who:
- Certifies his effort quarterly
- Is paid monthly, and
- Has a grant funding distribution changes one month into the quarter.
Figure 1 shows an example of an effort certification report used for the employee’s quarterly certification.
The sample report shown in Figure 1 presents an employee’s overall effort on four funding sources for the first quarter of 2014. The fund numbers are listed in the third column and the total effort on the fund is shown in the fourth column. The rows highlighted in red and green are examples of effort on funds with budget periods that do not span the length of the certification period. While not readily apparent in the certification statement shown in Figure 1, the effort per pay period is actually 30% in both cases and does not span all pay periods of the certification period.
Figure 2 shows an example of a report designed to more easily identify changes in effort that occur mid certification period and simplifies effort certification system reconciliation.
The sample report shown in Figure 2 presents the same employee’s effort by three monthly pay periods on four funding sources for the first quarter of 2014. As in Figure 1, the fund numbers are listed in the third column and the total effort on the fund is shown in the fourth column. The rows highlighted in red and green correspond to the same funds highlighted in Figure 1. Grouping the effort records by pay period allows a reviewer to quickly identify changes in funding sources for effort certification system reconciliation.
Software for Automating Effort Reporting and Certification Processes
At IT Works, we offer two options for generating reports that streamline effort certification system reconciliation. First, Effort AdministratorTM, our effort certification software solution provides both summary views (similar to report layout shown in Figure 1) and more detailed views that display information by month or pay period (similar to the report layout described in Figure 2). Second, Department ManagerTM, College AdministratorTM, and Research AdministratorTM HR Modules include reports similar to the layout shown in Figure 2) that are designed to supplement other effort reporting and certification systems that lack similar functionality. For more on information on these products and other products for improving your effort reporting and certification procedures, contact an IT Works sales representative today.