Award Verification FAQs

If you have additional questions, email [email protected].

Roles and Access

How frequently are users updated in the Award Verification Tool?

Award PI and Project PI role assignments are updated with the monthly data feed. Role assignments for Program Managers, Multiple PIs, RSAs, and viewers are refreshed nightly.

Can PIs and Program Managers see awards other than their own?

Yes. All authorized users will be able to view all data in the Award Verification Tool. PIs, Program Managers, and RSAs can only take action (for example, PIs can verify sponsored awards and Program Managers can review projects) on their assigned sponsored awards and projects.

I am a Co-Principal Investigator on a sponsored award that has a different Award PI owner. Why can't I verify this award?

Only the Award PI owner can verify a sponsored award. Co-PIs (Multiple PIs) can view their designated sponsored awards in the Sponsored Awards (as Multiple PI) section of the dashboard. Although Multi-PIs cannot verify, they can add comments on their sponsored awards to inform the Award PI of actions they have taken.

Can the Program Manager or RSA verify sponsored awards for the PI?

No. The Award PI (Award Owner) is responsible for verifying sponsored awards at least quarterly. This responsibility cannot be delegated.

If the RSA can view all data does that mean they can review the project and the award?

Award and project information can be viewed by all users granted access to the Award Verification Tool. In the Award Verification Tool, the term "review" refers to the action PIs and Program Managers can take to record their completion of the formal review step. RSAs do not have the ability to record a formal review, however they can add a comment stating that their analysis has been completed for the PI and other members of the research team, if desired. Refer to Using the Award Verification Tool for additional details.

Who will be granted the Viewer role in the Award Verification Tool?

All MyReports users who are granted the Financial role will have access to view all data in the Award Verification Tool. Read more on the About Award Verification page.

I am a Program Manager. Why don't I have access to the Award Verification Tool?

You have probably not been established as the Program Manager for the sponsored award in RAS. Once you have been added in RAS, you should have access the following day. See the job aid, Adding a Program Manager to an Award in the Research Administration System (RAS) for more information.

Are we able to assign Program Managers by Dept ID instead of by project?

Program Managers can only be assigned in RAS at the award level. See the job aid, Adding a Program Manager to an Award in the Research Administration System (RAS).

Can you have more than one Program Manager for a project or award?

Yes, you can assign one or more Program Managers in RAS. Program Managers can only be assigned at the award level. See the job aid, Adding a Program Manager to an Award in the Research Administration System (RAS).

Will Effort Reporting Coordinators be given the Viewer role in the Award Verification Tool?

Employees assigned the Effort Reporting Coordinator role for the previous Effort Reporting System will only have access to the Award Verification Tool if they have one of the following:

  • Assignments in the Research Administration System (RAS): Award PI, Project PI, Multi-PI, Program Manager or RSA
  • MyReports Financial role

Read more on the About Award Verification page.

How do I access the Award Verification Tool when connecting remotely/outside of campus?

Log into MyAccess to access the Award Verification Tool. When connecting to the Award Verification Tool from outside the UCSF network, you must first connect to UCFS’s Pulse Secure VPN. The UCSF VPN web portal does not provide access to the Award Verification Tool. If prompted, follow the on-screen steps to complete DUO multi-factor authentication.

What web browsers are supported?

Refer to UCSF Web Browser Standards on IT's website to view current standards and determine whether your browser is supported.

Award Verification Procedure and Timing

Will I be notified when it is time to complete award verification?

PIs, Program Managers, and RSAs will receive an email each month with new data is available in the Award Verification Tool. Each research team should decide in collaboration with department, division, and Control Point procedures, whether they will verify all awards in the same month each quarter or spread out verification activities by verifying a subset of awards each month. The minimum requirement is that each sponsored award is verified at least quarterly (every three months). As a best practice, a research team member (generally the Program Manager or RSA) should coordinate the award verification process and notify the team members when action is necessary.

Do we only need to use the Award Verification tool quarterly and not monthly?

Research teams may decide to verify all awards in the same month each quarter or to spread out verification activities by verifying a subset of awards each month. The minimum requirement is that each sponsored award is verified at least quarterly (every three months).

Will the Tool select certain awards each quarter that need verification or do we need to verify each award each quarter?

Each active sponsored award must be verified at least quarterly (every three months). Awards that have ended will be flagged for verification if expense activity is posted to the award since the last time verification was completed. The Quarterly Award Verification Due and Final Verification Pending sections at the top of the Award Verification dashboard will alert you to all sponsored awards where verification is due.

Why are so many sponsored awards due for verification at go-live?

More sponsored awards than normal will be due for verification at go-live including awards that ended prior to April go-live. This is necessary to "catch-up" compliance activities from the final UCSF effort reporting certification cycle which covered the period from January 1 to May 2, 2020.

As a PI, I already receive financial reports from my RSA. Can I use these reports to verify my sponsored award?

Award verification should be integrated into current department procedures. If your department uses other reports for financial analysis, you can continue to use these reports to prepare to verify your sponsored awards in the Award Verification Tool. Before verifying, you or your RSA should confirm that financial information in your reports matches the information in the Award Verification Tool and that any discrepancies have been investigated and understood. 

As a PI, I already review and sign-off on financial reports provided by my RSA. Can I skip award verification?

Verification of sponsored awards using the Award Verification Tool is required by UCSF policy beginning in April 2021 and use of the General Ledger Online Tool to document General Ledger verification became mandatory in March 2021. These changes may overlap current local department procedures such as PI acknowledgement of monthly financial reports and signature on the SAS-115 Checklist. PIs cannot skip award verification, but departments can consider eliminating additional PI documentation requirements depending on their local needs and policies.  

Can I verify a sponsored award if there are financial transactions such as cost transfers or corrections outstanding?

Yes. The Award PI can verify a sponsored award with outstanding financial transactions. During verification, the Award PI will certify that identified discrepancies will be corrected, and all adjustments will be properly justified, supported, and documented as required. As a best practice, the outstanding financial transactions should be noted in a comment for the award. If there are a large number of outstanding transactions, you can attach a spreadsheet or other document to the comment that details the transactions needed. 

After the PI conducts their analysis, is there an option to verify multiple awards at once rather than needing to verify each award separately?

Yes. Award PIs can verify multiple sponsored awards or all sponsored awards at once from the Award Verification dashboard. Consult the Using the Award Verification Tool user guide for Principal Investigators for more information.

I am the Award PI on a large sponsored award with many projects assigned to other PIs. How can I be sure that the other PIs have analyzed their projects?

In this situation, you should adopt use of the optional review by Project PIs. You clarify that Project PIs are expected to analyze their projects and mark their projects as reviewed in the Award Verification Tool. You can then verify your award after your analysis including review of the Project PI Review Completed section. 

For PIs with sponsored awards in two different departments that are managed by two RSAs, will the Award Verification Tool allow an RSA to view a PI's portfolio by department or by the RSA assigned to the awards?

When an RSA selects a PI in the Award Verification dashboard, they will see all sponsored awards in the portfolio across all departments and assigned to all RSAs. To view only the awards and projects to which they are assigned, the RSA should use the Verification Status Report. RSAs can drill to sponsored award or project details to conduct their analysis and enter comments from the report results.

I am a Project PI. Why can't I enter a comment for my sponsored project on the dashboard?

The Comments section on the dashboard displays comments for sponsored awards for which the PI is the Award PI (award owner) or Multiple PI (co-PI). To enter a comment for a sponsored project as a Project PI, click on the blue sponsored project ID to drill to the Sponsored Project Detail view. You can add your comment in using the Add Comment button at the bottom of this view.

Will PIs with privately funded awards (and no federal awards) also use the new Award Verification Tool?

Yes. All PIs designated as the Award Owner (Award PI) of any sponsored award (not just federal awards) will be required to verify their awards at least quarterly.

Some people are saying that the Award Verification Tool will not be useful for non-sponsored projects. Why?

The main purpose of the Award Verification tool is for Award PIs to verify sponsored awards. While there is no system requirement to take action, non-sponsored data is provided so a PI can evaluate their entire portfolio of funds. PIs have the option to formally record their review of each non-sponsored project using the Review feature. Note that only non-sponsored projects that have a designated PI are loaded into the Award Verification Tool; department owned non-sponsored projects that do not have a PI owner are not loaded in the Award Verification Tool. 

Will ZSFG Affiliation Agreements under fund 4200 required to be verified using the Award Verification Tool?

Yes, every sponsored award will require at a minimum award verification at least quarterly (every 3 months).

Will award verification be required for Graduate Student or Post Doc extramural fellowship awards where they are the named Award PI?

Yes. Anyone designated as the Award Owner (Award PI) of any sponsored award within the Research Administration System (RAS) will be required to verify their awards at least quarterly. This includes fellows of all levels who are considered the recipient of a sponsored award and were subsequently identified as the PI.

Will June closing data be available in time for July verification, or will the verification deadline be extended if an award is on a quarterly cycle ending in June?

Further information about verification timing during year-end activities will be provided closer to fiscal year-end.

Why don't I see a Verify, Review or Add Comments button?

Access to these buttons is based on award assignments in RAS:

  • The Verify button is only available to the Award PI assigned to the sponsored award.
  • The Review button is only available to Award PIs, Project PIs and Program Managers assigned to the project.
  • The Add Comment button is available to Award PIs, Project PIs, Multiple PIs, Program Managers, and RSAs assigned to the sponsored award or sponsored project.

Why does the Award Verification Tool use a straight-line projection in the graphs instead of real projections?

Because UCSF does not currently have a standardized projections tool that is used across all departments, there is no single source for projections data. If a standardized projections tool is established in the future, we can investigate incorporating "real" projections into the Award Verification Tool.

The Award Verification Tool correctly displays a "Balance Without Liens" of $0, but the "Direct Balance Without Liens" for my award is showing a non-zero balance. Why?

Balance information displayed in the Award Verification Tool is calculated by subtracting expense actuals from budgets. It is possible for the direct cost and indirect cost balances to be non-zero and net to a total balance of zero. You can confirm the breakout of indirect and direct budgets, expenses, and resulting balances by running the MyReports Award/Parent Summary Report.

A reallocation using a source code 135 budget adjustment journal between direct and indirect budget will clear the “Direct Balance Without Liens”. This reallocation should be completed at the project level as needed. For more information review the Award Modifications and Budget Adjustments how-to guide.

The entire budget on my award was allocated to the primary project. As a result, balances for additional projects are negative. How can I address this so that the correct budget amounts are recorded for each project within the award?

Complete a reallocation using a source code 135 budget adjustment journal between projects. For more information review the Award Modifications and Budget Adjustments how-to guide.

How can I correct an incorrect Start Date and End Date for my non-sponsored award?

The Award Verification Tool displays current fiscal year information for non-sponsored projects. The Begin date is always the first day of the current fiscal year (July 1), and the End date is always the last day of the year (June 30). These dates may not reflect the Project Start and Project End dates recorded in UCSF's PeopleSoft financial system. To confirm Project dates, use the Project Chartfield Search available on the Controller's Office website (network or vpn connection required).

How can we confirm that salary expenses in the Award Verification Tool match effort?

The Award Verification Tool displays expenditure data using Account Level B of UCSF's chart of accounts. Launch the MyReports Transaction Detail Report or Payroll Detail by Month Report from within the Tool to analyze salary expense activity in greater detail. In addition to expense actuals, both reports display percent effort for employees paid monthly. You can also run the Distribution of Payroll Expense by Account Report directly from MyReports to filter transactions by additional filters, including pay period and employee.

Will users receive an email notifying them what sponsored award verifications are outstanding?

PIs, Program Managers, and RSAs who are assigned to sponsored awards and projects in the Research Administration System (RAS) will receive an email announcing when each monthly data load is complete. Once notified, research teams should log into the Award Verification Tool to identify sponsored awards currently due or past due for quarterly verification. To view the verification status for sponsored awards by Department, Award, PI, RSA or Program Manager, use the Verification Status Report within the Award Verification Tool.

Each department is responsible for establishing a business process to verify awards in a timely manner, in order to comply with University and Federal guidelines and policies. Contracts & Grants Accounting will provide escalation notifications for those awards that are out of compliance with Federal regulations and University policy. Review details on the About Award Verification page.

Why do I sometimes see the Project Nickname and in other cases I see the Project Description? I find it easier to identify Projects by their Nicknames.

Project nicknames are displayed when they have been established in the UCSF PeopleSoft Financial System. If no nickname has been established, the project description is displayed. Ask your RSA to establish a sponsored project nickname with your desired nickname following the instructions in the job aid, Updating RAS Project Details.

General Ledger Verification

Will the new award verification procedure replace General Ledger verification?

No. General Ledger verification and award verification are separate key controls that complement each other. The General Ledger Verification Tool takes a risk-based approach to identify individual transactions for verification based on defined business rules. General Ledger verification should be completed prior to award verification by the Award PI. PIs can confirm the results of General Ledger verification in the Award Verification Tool prior to completing award verification.

Should General Ledger verification be completed prior to completing award verification?

Although an Award PI has the ability to verify an award even if General Ledger (GL) verification has not been completed, as a best practice for sponsored awards, GL verification should be completed prior to verifying awards in the Award Verification Tool. GL verification is required by policy and an integral step in award verification. GL verification selects transaction lines, including "high risk" transactions with significant policy and/or sponsor or donor sensitivity. Review of these transactions is an important step in meeting University and federal requirements and should be conducted as part of the analysis prior to award verification.

Is it possible to select specific projects in the General Ledger Verification Tool when verifying transactions?

Yes. The General Ledger Verification Tool provides a separate tab to view transactions by Award, Project, or PI. See the job aid, Using the General Ledger (GL) Verification Tool for Verifiers, for details.

Reports

Can the Award Verification system be used to view detailed transactions instead of running the Transaction Detail report in MyReports?

The Award Verification Tool includes the ability to launch the MyReports Transaction Detail Report with simplified parameters to make it easy for users to analyze transaction details. Users can also launch the Payroll Detail by Month Report. Reports will run in a separate browser tab/window. In order to run a report, users must also have access to MyReports.

Is there a plan to create a report that one can run by an RSA’s portfolio?

The Award Verification dashboard is designed to be viewed for a single PI or Program Manager. RSAs can run the Verification Status Report to see the verification status for all awards within their assigned PIs' portfolios. The report expands to display all projects under each award. By clicking an award or project name, you can access additional details for further analysis.

Is there a way to review all sponsored awards for the department to make sure the proper RSA is assigned prior to go-live?

Refer to the Confirm Your Research Portfolio section of the Detailed Procedures and Considerations page for a list of reports you can run in the Research Administration System (RAS) to verify sponsored awards and project assignments. You can also run the Verification Status Report for a Department ID. If you run this report using only a Dept ID, you must select the Download Excel button to view results. 

To prepare for go-live, is there a report that departments can run that lists all active awards, related PIs, RSAs and Program Managers?

The Research Administration System (RAS) offers several reports and queries to identify awards and projects. Read more in the Confirm Your Research Portfolio section of the Detailed Procedures and Considerations page.

Can a Program Manager run the Payroll Summary Report if they do not have MyReports access?

Yes. The Payroll Summary Report is part of the Award Verification Tool. All users with access to the Tool can run this report.

Additional Resources

How can I access training for the Award Verification Tool?

Go to Using the Award Verification Tool to access online training. You can view details, steps, demonstrations, or try an action in an interactive guide.  Guides are available for Principal Investigators, Program Managers, and RSA and Administrators. In addition, there are guides on Tool Basics and Reports.

You can also view an introductory video and recorded webinars on Compensation Compliance under Uniform Guidance and Adapting Award Verification Tool to Local Business Practices, or read more About Award Verification.

Is there a webinar or additional resources specifically for PIs?

The award verification webinar series is appropriate for all audiences, including Principal Investigators. This series is designed to help with the transition to the new procedure and to complement training on the use of the Award Verification Tool. As PIs schedules may not permit joining the live webinars, session recordings are available on the Award Verification page of the Controller's Office website. Also available are training materials tailored for PIs Using the Award Verification Tool.

Will Program Managers and PIs receive training on this tool?

PIs, Program Managers and RSAs received an email on February 25 with a link to training materials. This was also announced in the March Controller's Office Newsletter. Training is self-paced and available online at Using the Award Verification Tool. Training is provided for PIs, Program Managers, and RSAs & Administrators. 

What support options will be available during go-live?

The Contracts and Grants Accounting unit will support the new award verification procedure and use of the Award Verification Tool. Questions directed to [email protected] will generate a ServiceNow ticket for support. Further support options will be shared at go-live.