Award Verification Guidelines

Guidelines for Using the Award Verification Tool

Before You Verify a Sponsored Award

What am I verifying?

  • Principal Investigators (PIs) and departments are responsible for the financial, scientific, and compliance aspects of sponsored awards. Financial management includes but is not limited to:
    • Ensuring expenditures incurred are within the authorized budget and period
    • Complying with Cost Accounting Standards Guidelines
    • Maintaining sufficient records to support transactions
    • Ensuring that records are available for audit and demonstrate compliance with contract terms, UC policy, accounting guidance, and federal and sponsor regulations
  • Refer to Post Award Responsibilities for more information about responsibilities and related policies. 
  • By marking a sponsored award as verified in the Award Verification Tool, the Award PI attests:

I verify that I have first-hand knowledge of the underlying activity and that the expenses reflected in this report are in accordance with University policy and agreements set forth in the fund sources involved. All charges are allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs. I also verify that any identified discrepancies with these reports will be corrected timely, and all adjustments will be properly justified, supported, and documented as required to support Federal contracts and grants reporting requirements.

What should I do before I mark a sponsored award as verified? 

  • Confirm that financial transactions charged to the sponsored award are accurate, timely and allowable.
    • Evaluate financial information displayed in the Award Verification Tool, or
    • Understand how Award Verification Tool information differs from other reports provided by RSA and department.
  • Review General Ledger Verification Completed section in the Award Verification Tool. 
    • Follow up when General Ledger Verification for the sponsored award is not 100%. 
  • Read all current Comments for the award. 
    • Follow up on any Comments that are unclear or require a response.
  • Confirm Project PI and Program Manager Reviews have been completed if you are using this optional functionality.
    • If an employee has both the Project PI and Program Manager role, their review will be reflected only in the Project PI Review Completed section (not in the Program Manager Review Completed section). 
  • If verification is required for an award due to activity after the award end date has passed, carefully evaluate the financial activity to ensure it is appropriate and necessary.
    • Late financial activity increases audit risk. 
  • Add Comments, where necessary, for questions and items that require follow-up or correction.

Using Comments

Comments are an important part of the auditable verification record and can provide justification for sponsored award expenses and corrections. Use of comments in the Award Verification Tool creates an easily accessible archive.

  • If you choose to document justification for expenses and corrections outside of the Award Verification Tool, the department assumes responsibility for maintaining this archive and for making the information available during an audit.

Recommended use of comments

  • To document and inform the research team about the need for a financial adjustment.
  • To document the Review of a sponsored project-activity period shared between a Project PI and Program Manager.
    • Each project-activity period can be marked as reviewed only once per month.
    • If a project has a Project PI and a Program Manager, reviewers must coordinate their reviews outside of the Award Verification Tool.
    • As a best practice, it is recommended that initial reviews be documented in Comments , with the final reviewer using the Review and Save buttons for the project-activity period.
  • To document or confirm activity that requires close monitoring. See the Select Cost Categories Requiring Additional Oversight section below.
  • To document mandatory or voluntary committed cost sharing. See the Recording Cost Sharing and Matching Funds section below. 
  • To notify a member of the research team that you have completed your step in the award verification process and that they can take the next step.
  • To attach documentation needed as justification for an expense or financial adjustment. 
  • To request that the RSA investigate a specific expense or provide additional information. And for the RSA to provide the additional information. 
  • File attachments should be used to:
    • Provide supporting documentation for an identified adjustment
    • Document the completion of an identified adjustment
    • Archive documents that support the verification including the Transaction Detail Report (TDR), agency approval, or PI approval
  • Comments should be included in the History PDF file to:
    • Document when a specific adjustment was identified and confirmed
    • Confirm processing of an adjustment
    • Document a correction that may be important if audited
    • Confirm cost share or K award commitments. See the Recording Cost Sharing and Matching Funds section below.
  • Comments should be flagged as critical if:
    • Time sensitive for the verification timeline or the end of the award
    • Necessary to ensure that everyone understands an impact to verification
    • An ongoing issue is resolved

Using Award Verification Tool Reports

  • The Award PI can verify a sponsored award based on the summary information in the Award Verification Tool following the guidance on this page.
  • Other reports may be provided to the PI outside of the Award Verification Tool that support verification.
    • Additional reports are most commonly provided to include projections of anticipated expense for planning purposes.
    • The PI's support team should confirm that these reports (except for MyReports) align with the information in the Award Verification Tool and address any discrepancies. 
  • There is no requirement to run additional reports before verification if the summary information is adequate to support attestation.

Reviewing Non-Sponsored Projects

  • The primary function of the Award Verification Tool is for Award PIs to verify expenses on each sponsored award at least quarterly. The Award Verification Tool also allows PIs to view financial activity for non-sponsored fund sources, including start-up and gift funds, to gain a more complete picture of their entire portfolio.
  • As an optional step, PIs can record the completion of reviews of financial activity by marking non-sponsored projects as reviewed.
  • Non-sponsored project funds used for cost-sharing or matching should be analyzed and reviewed in the Award Verification Tool. 
    • Errors should be identified and corrected timely.
    • Comments should be entered for the corresponding sponsored award, identifying the non-sponsored project, expense, and month of the item. Appropriate documentation should be attached to the comment

​Guidance for Selected Circumstances and Cost Categories

Actions During Award Lifecycle

Initial award set-up

  • Review and ensure all information for the award is correct in the Research Administration System (RAS).
    • Ensure PI (Award, Project, Multiple), Program Manager, and RSA information is current in RAS Award Profile. 
    • The RSA can update the assigned RSA, add a Project Nickname, and designate a Program Manager.
      • PIs and others may find it easier to identify specific projects if a Project Nickname is established.
      • If a Project Nickname is not established, the Project Description will be displayed in the Award Verification Tool.
    • Notify CGA of any other set-up details that require correction.
  • Understand award terms and conditions, restrictions, and reporting requirements.
    • Note any unusual award requirements and determine what actions will be necessary during award verification.
  • Request additional projects as needed and ensure Project PIs and RSAs are assigned accurately to enable review and commenting in the Award Verification Tool. 

Award/project modification

  • Confirm that any changes in PI or Program Manager are correctly reflected in the RAS Award Profile.
  • Review and ensure all information is correct in RAS including budget revisions, supplemental funding, carryover funding, and sponsor approved no-cost extensions.

Award close

  • Comply with final invoicing and closeout requirements including award verifications in the Award Verification Tool.
  • Confirm all trail out expenses are appropriate and as expected.

Select Cost Categories Requiring Additional Oversight

Certain types of activity will require close monitoring and should be reconfirmed during award verification. The use of comments and attachments is encouraged to document and confirm activity and to make information easily accessible if audited or as questions arise. Some of these unusual situations or cost categories may include:

Allocation methodology

  • Many purchases and services at UCSF benefit multiple projects. Award verification may be used to confirm that the correct allocation methodology has been used and that all projects have been charged accordingly.
  • Specific situations that may require allocation include:
    • Equipment
    • Supplies and materials
    • Laboratory Animal Resource Center (LARC) charges

Equipment

  • Ensure that any equipment purchases are associated with the correct project.
  • Confirm that approval has been provided by the sponsoring agency.

Participant support costs

  • Review information carefully for expenses that were provided to participants.
  • Validate expenses originally posted to other account codes are transferred to Account 57824 - Participant Support Costs.

Program income

  • Confirm that expenses to offset any income generated by the project are posting to the correct RAS project that is flagged for program income tracking. 

Subawards

  • Confirm that all invoice payments reflect the progress of the subrecipient and are as expected.
  • Confirm that final invoices are posted at the end of the subaward.

Recording Cost Sharing and Matching Funds Including K Awards

For a sponsored award with mandatory committed or voluntary committed cost share, confirmation that cost share expenses have been posted and then subsequently swept to the appropriate unrestricted funding sources should be completed with each verification.

  • Once confirmed, the cost share commitment should be captured using Comments in the Award Verification Tool.
    • The Comment should identify the two funding sources and any adjustments that may be necessary. 
    • If the cost share commitments are covered by a non-sponsored project, the Comment is recorded only on the sponsored award.
    • If the commitment is attributed to a sponsored award, reciprocal Comments should be recorded on both awards.
  • For a K award salary commitment, follow the same process.
  • All Comments that confirm a cost share or K award salary commitment should be flagged to be included in the History PDF file.

When the Award Principal Investigator Is Unavailable

Award PI has separated (left UCSF)

Refer to Modifications to an Award on the Office of Sponsored Research's (OSR's) website. The following actions may need to be taken as a result of the PI separating from UCSF.​

  • If the award is being transferred to another institution and a new UCSF Award PI will not be assigned.
    • Whenever possible, prior to departure the Award PI should verify through the most recent data month in the Award Verification Tool.
    • When verification is due and the former Award PI is no longer available, the separated PI's supervisor should view the award information in the Award Verification Tool and email attestation of verification to [email protected].
      • Discussion and confirmation with Program Managers, Project PIs, Multiple PIs, and RSAs may be necessary to complete this step.
      • The email attestation should include the same language as the award verification attestation in the Award Verification Tool:
        I verify that I have first-hand knowledge of the underlying activity and that the expenses reflected in this report are in accordance with University policy and agreements set forth in the fund sources involved. All charges are allowable, allocable, and reasonable costs. I also verify that any identified discrepancies with these reports will be corrected timely, and all adjustments will be properly justified, supported, and documented as required to support Federal contracts and grants reporting requirements.
    • The CGA Compliance Team will complete the verification and attach the attestation to the award in the Award Verification Tool.
  • If the award will remain at UCSF and a new UCSF Award PI will be assigned.
    • Once approved and executed by OSR, an Award Modification is processed and CGA will update the PI in RAS.
      • Information about PIs will be updated with the monthly data load. 
      • After the new information is loaded, the new Award PI can complete the verification process in the Award Verification Tool.

Award PI is temporarily unavailable

  • PIs can complete award verification remotely using the Award Verification Tool. 
  • If the Award PI will be unavailable for an extended period, they should arrange to verify all sponsored awards in the Award Verification Tool prior to leave.
  • If the Award PI will be out for longer than a full quarter, they should follow the steps provided under separated PIs if activity will continue to post during leave.

Recording Financial Adjustments

  • The need for financial adjustments may be discovered at any step of the award verification process or General Ledger verification process. 
  • Financial adjustments inherently pose an audit risk.
  • Refer to Entering Sponsored Research Cost Transfer Journals - Regular (Source Code 545) and Exception (Source Code 547) for more information about making financial adjustments on sponsored awards.
  • All cost transfers must be completed within 90 days and submitted with adequate supporting documentation
    • Timely completion of financial adjustments prior to the next required award verification will make verification easier. 
  • As a best practice for sponsored awards, use Comments in the Award Verification Tool to record the need for a financial adjustment and attach supporting documentation. 

Obtaining Additional Assistance

If you need additional assistance with award verification or using the Award Verification Tool, you can contact:

Contact Methods of Contact Description
Contracts and Grants Accounting (CGA) Compliance Creates a ServiceNow ticket
Your CGA Service Team Find Your CGA Service Team webpage Interactive search by Award ID and Service Team listing by awards and departments