Effort Reporting Procedure

The following electronic documents and status reports will be available via UAccess Financials.

  • Electronic document: Effort Certification Report– an electronic effort report will be created for each employee for which effort reporting is required. Employees with supplemental compensation in additional to their base pay will receive two reports.
  • Electronic status report: Outstanding Certifications by Chart/Org/Report - a listing by chart, organization, or report type of employees who have an outstanding Effort Certification.

A University of Arizona Net ID is required to access the UAccess Financials system. All active faculty and staff members with a UA Net ID have the ability to review, edit, approve, and ad hoc route Effort Certifications.

Designated Campus Colleagues involved in effort reporting will need to request base UAccess Financials access through the Provisioning Tool.

The effort reporting periods for each fiscal year are July-December and January-June. At the end of each six month period, departments will have two pay periods to make final corrections to payroll data for the previous six month period.  After two pay periods have passed, Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services will initiate the effort reporting creation process from within UAccess Financials.  From this process, electronic Effort Certification Reports will be created with effort percentages pre-filled based on labor ledger totals that have been charged to each account. Effort Certifications will be created for all employees paid from federal/sub-federal sources.  Accounts identified as Federal or Federal Pass Through will be used to determine funding.

The reports are due within thirty (30) days of the document create date in UAccess Financials.

Cost sharing effort will be identified on the Effort Certification via dedicated cost share subaccounts that are established in UAccess Financials to track cost share on a per project basis. The certifier is responsible for ensuring that cost shared effort for each project is accurately represented on the effort report. This includes managing HHS Salary Cap cost share on a per project basis. Please see the Cost Sharing and Matching pages for more information about managing HHS Salary Cap cost share.

The Effort Certification requires approval from an individual with first-hand knowledge as a best practice to be in compliance with federal regulations; the following individuals meet the approval requirements:

  1. employee
  2. principal investigator with first-hand knowledge of the work performed
  3. other individual with first-hand knowledge of the work performed (i.e., lab manager or supervisor)
  4. responsible official using suitable means of verification that the work was performed- examples of acceptable documents meeting the “suitable means of verification” include (a) time cards that include effort distribution that have been signed by the employee and/or supervisor, (b) written documents including email messages from the principal investigator confirming the distribution of effort, and (c) department created reports that include effort distribution and are signed by the employee, supervisor, or the principal investigator.  The University of Arizona prefers the effort report be approved by a person with first-hand knowledge (1-3).  Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services must be consulted in situations where a responsible official using suitable means of verification will approve effort reports (4).

The electronic Effort Certification will first route to the fiscal officer for each account listed on the Effort Certification. After the fiscal officers have approved the reports, the Effort Certification will route to the project director for each federal or federal pass through account. If necessary, ad hoc routing can be utilized at any time to route the Effort Certification to the appropriate person who meets the certification requirement, such as the employee.

After the Effort Certification is fully approved, the document is classified as Final in the system and can no longer be revised.

Corrections to effort should be handled as follows:

  • Effort Certification has not been fully approved –
    • Changes can be made to the Effort Certification by either the fiscal officer, project director, or ad hoc reviewer. If the effort is modified at any point during the routing, the routing will restart from the beginning to ensure all the fiscal officers and project directors approve the changes. Adjustments to effort should be entered in the effort column on the Effort Certification, and the salary column for the adjusted accounts must be recalculated based on the adjusted effort.
    • The system will require a note to be added to the Effort Certification explaining the correction. Further justification, such as an error certification, may be requested by the fund accountant.
    • After all the approvals are secured, a Salary Expense Transfer will be automatically generated by the system to move the effort between the adjusted accounts. The Salary Expense Transfer will use the approvals on the effort report as authorization for this automatic transfer. The fiscal officers will receive an acknowledgement notice in their action list notifying them when the automatic transfer occurs.
  • Effort Certification has been fully approved – Effort adjustments and salary expense transfers will not be allowed after an effort report has been approved unless extenuating circumstances exist. These exceptions must be approved by a member of the SPCS financial compliance team. Depending on the nature of the recreated report and salary transfer, SPCS may require additional documentation and departmental training depending on the nature of the recreated report. This documentation includes a corrective action plan with specific steps that will be taken to prevent the future need for recreated reports. Training includes successful completion of the University's online effort reporting module.

Effort Certifications that have not been fully approved within thirty (30) days of the creation date are considered delinquent. Fiscal officers are required to followup on their units' effort reports and ensure they are fully approved. Periodically, SPCS will forward listings of delinquent reports to the fiscal officers and college finance dean or director.

There are certain circumstances when an employee’s pre-filled effort percentages and actual effort will appear to be out of sync.  These unusual discrepancies should be noted on the Effort Certification by adding a note to the document.

Example:  A graduate student has a 0.25 appointment for teaching and a 0.25 appointment for research in two different departments at different rates of pay.  The pre-filled effort percentages print 45% on the teaching account and 55% on the research account.  The student’s actual effort is 50% on each account.  In this case, the certifier should add a note stating the effort was 50% for each account, and approve the report. The note should also state an effort adjustment was not made because the payments and effort are correct due to the dual pay rates.

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