Effort Reporting Policy

Policy - UAccess Financials


Effort reporting is a process by which the salary charged to a sponsored project is certified as being reasonable in relation to the effort expended on that project. “Effort” is the proportion of time spent on any activity, expressed as a percentage of an individual’s Total University Effort.

As a recipient of federal funding, the University of Arizona is required to comply with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements, as well as other federal requirements, for certifying effort expended on sponsored awards.

The University of Arizona utilizes an electronic after-the-fact activity report to certify effort on a semi-annual reporting cycle.  This report is called the Effort Certification Report and meets the requirement outlined in OMB Uniform Guidance Subpart E §200.430 - Compensation - Personal Services.  Effort reporting is required for all employees who have been paid fully or partially from federal/sub-federal sources, or have cost shared time on federal/sub-federal sources. The Effort Certification Report must be certified by the principal investigator of each federal sponsored project that the employee is paid or cost shared on. If the principal investigator does not have specific knowledge of the work performed by an employee, then the report should be certified by a direct supervisor who has the knowledge of work performed. The report certifications are due within thirty (30) days of the document create date in UAccess Financials.


  • Institutional Base Salary (IBS) includes salaries and wages paid to an employee from any University source as payment for services provided under their employment agreement.  IBS does not include cash awards or supplemental compensation.  Supplemental compensation is not included in the institutional base salary, but will also be certified during the effort reporting process.  Since supplemental compensation is in addition to an employee’s regular workload, the payments will be certified on a separate Effort Certification Report.
  • Total University Effort includes all professional activity for which an individual is compensated by the University of Arizona: sponsored activities, teaching, University administrative duties, clinical activities, and other activities. Total University Effort includes all of these activities, regardless of when (daytime, evening, weekends) or where (on campus, at home, while traveling, etc.) the activities take place.  Please see the Table of University Activities and Effort for guidance on how to treat common university activities.
  • Significant change.  Charges for payroll to sponsored agreements, whether direct charged or cost shared, will be made on the basis of estimates made before the services are performed.  Significant changes in the corresponding work activity must be identified and entered into the UAccess Employee payroll system. The University of Arizona defines a significant change as five percent (5%) or more of an employee’s total University compensated effort. The Federal regulations specifically acknowledge that short term fluctuations (such as one or two months) need not be considered as long as the distribution is reasonable over the longer term, such as a six month cycle. 
  • Level of precision.  Federal regulations clearly acknowledge that precise determinations are not expected, and that reasonable estimates are acceptable. OMB Uniform Guidance Subpart E §200.430(c) states "It is recognized that teaching, research, service, and administration are often inextricably intermingled in an academic setting. When recording salaries and wages charged to Federal awards for IHEs, a precise assessment of factors that contribute to costs is therefore not always feasible, nor is it expected." The University of Arizona defines this “degree of tolerance” as five percent (5%) of an employee’s total university compensated effort.

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