Get Ready for Award Verification

Beginning on April 12, 2021, UCSF implemented a new award verification procedure to support Principal Investigators in meeting the requirements of Uniform Guidance for federal awards. Here's what you can do now to get ready to use the Award Verification Tool beginning in April. 

Department Responsibilities

Award verification is part of a set of controls and practices intended to ensure proper stewardship of the University's resources. Local procedures established by departments, divisions, and Control Points play a key role in all financial practices including award verification. Use of the Award Verification Tool should be integrated into your current procedures.

Each department is responsible for:

  • Ensuring all financial transactions are in accordance with all relevant policies, regulations, and sponsor terms and conditions.
    • Correcting financial transactions, including award/project expenses, as needed.
  • Developing local procedures to address key controls including General Ledger verification and award verification.
  • Assigning responsibility to specific employees for steps in key control activities and financial management.

Award Verification Related Responsibilities

Key tasks and responsibilities related to award verification:

  Key Tasks and Responsibilities
Category/Task Award PI Project PI Multiple-PI Program Manager RSA Financial Analyst Dept or higher Manager
Sponsored awards Verify at least quarterly (cannot be delegated) View View View View View View
Sponsored projects Review (optional) Review (optional) View Review (optional) View View View
Non-sponsored projects n/a Review (optional) n/a View View View View
Comments Add as needed Add as needed Add as needed Add as needed Add as needed View View
General Ledger Verification  View verifications status n/a View verifications status View verifications status May verify transactions May verify transactions May verify transactions and approve completion
Financial corrections Identify Identify Identify Identify Identify and may initiate or approve May identify, initiate, or approve May identify, initiate, or approve

Minimum requirement for award verification:

Using the Award Verification Tool, Award Principal Investigators (Award Owners) are required to verify at least quarterly that payroll and other expenses for each sponsored award (including sponsored awards funded by non-federal sources) are allowable, allocable, and reasonable. 

Steps to Integrate Award Verification into Current Department Procedures

Start with your current procedure and consider the following actions:

Current process considerations Common options Action to integrate Award Verification Tool
Does your department, division, or Control Point have established procedures for financial analysis or sponsored award/project reviews that must be followed?
  • Yes
  • Confirm with administrative leadership how award verification will change these established procedures.
  • Clarify whether any current procedures will be eliminated and whether any responsibilities will be reassigned.
Who completes General Ledger (GL) verification?
  • RSA
  • Department financial analyst
  • Complete GL verification timely or early for awards that require verification.
  • Establish deadline for completion of monthly GL verification to ensure timely completion of award verification.
Who works with the Award Principal Investigator (PI) on financial analysis?
  • RSA
  • Program Manager
  • RSA checks Award Verification Tool monthly to determine which awards require verification and informs PI.
  • RSA and Program Manager determine who will take the lead in initial identification and analysis of award data.
What financial information is provided to the PI?
  • Budget Status Report (BSR)
  • Copies of MyReports
  • Conduct high-level check against data in the Award Verification Tool and follow up on discrepancies.
  • Consider eliminating copies that duplicate information easily available in the Award Verification Tool.
How is this information provided to the PI?
  • Meeting
  • Email
  • Work with PI to verify sponsored awards due and overdue in the Award Verification Tool during meeting.
  • Notify PI when to use the Award Verification Tool to verify sponsored awards due or overdue.
How large and complex is the PI's sponsored award portfolio?
  • A large number of awards or highly complex awards with multiple projects
  • A reasonable number of awards generally without multiple projects
  • Apply verification timing flexibility to best meet the needs of the PI's sponsored awards portfolio.
    • Consider verifying a subset of awards each month to avoid conducting a large number of verifications in one month.
    • Consider verifying all awards in one month each quarter.
  • Determine whether establishing Project Nicknames would make it easier for the PI and others to identify their projects. If yes, follow the instructions in the job aid, Updating RAS Project Details.

Does the Award PI rely on others (in addition to the RSA) to determine whether financial transactions are correct?
  • Project PIs
  • Program Managers
  • Co-PIs
  • Consider integrating optional sponsored project reviews prior to award verification step by Award PI.
Who makes financial corrections?
  • RSA
  • Department financial analyst
  • Determine whether requests for corrections will be documented in the Award Verification Tool comments.
  • Confirm how those making corrections will receive instructions.
  • Confirm who is responsible for ensuring corrections are completed.

Review a Checklist or Dig Deeper into Specific Considerations

Review an award verification preparation checklist.

Read about steps RSAs and Department Managers may want to take to confirm their portfolio of research awards/projects.

Learn more about the detailed procedures and considerations and view example workflow process diagrams.

View the recorded webinar: Considerations for Adapting the Award Verification Tool to Local Business Practices (UCSF login required).

Review guidelines for award verification.

After Go-Live in April

Consider adjusting your procedures after you have completed several award verifications. Once you have some experience with the Award Verification Tool, you may find revisiting the detailed procedures and considerations more meaningful. You may also want to consider adopting different procedures for specific sponsored awards. Not all awards and projects within a PI's portfolio need to follow the same process; apply the process that best fits the specific situation.