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Office of Sponsored Programs Accounting

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:   How is a new Department number (deptid #) for a sponsored program initiated?

A:   Receipt of the "Announcement of Grant Award" from the Office of Sponsored Programs initiates creation of a new department number by Sponsored Programs Accounting. An Award Binder, with signature card instructions, budget information, access request forms, and financial procedures is then mailed to the Principal Investigator via campus mail. Upon receipt of the binder, the PI is encouraged to set up an "orientation" appointment with Sponsored Programs Accounting to discuss the financial management of the award.

Q:   Whose money is it?

A:   All sponsored program awards are made to James Madison University. They are accepted and administered by the University in compliance with federal, state, and funding agency policies and regulations. Individual faculty and staff are not authorized by the University to accept/receive/modify sponsored program awards.  All funds awarded are to be expended in accordance with the award budget.

Q:   How long does the approval process for transactions take?

A:   The average turn-around time for documents processed by Sponsored Programs Accounting is less than one business day (including internal approval of proposals, PAR forms, accounting invoices & vouchers, and eVA approvals.)

Q:   What should I do if I need assistance or information related to managing the financial aspects of my award?

A:   As University expenditure forms and procedures are the same for Sponsored Projects as they are for JMU Departmental funds, Administrative Assistants in the department could likely answer your questions.  However, the Sponsored Programs Accounting staff may always be contacted with your questions.  That contact information is available on the Staff page.

Q:   What is cost sharing?

A:   Cost sharing (also called “Matching”) is the amount of monies or resources JMU has dedicated to a specific award per the award terms.  All cost sharing offered toward support of the award must be provided and documented in the award files maintained by the PI and by Sponsored Program Accounting.

Q:   What is F&A?

A:   Facilities and Administrative costs (sometimes called indirect costs or overhead.) are ‘real’ costs to the University for administering your award that cannot be directly applied to the award.  Examples include: electricity for lights and equipment; cleaning services and trash removal; heat/cooling; cost to process Vendor payments or Payroll payments.

Q:   What is effort reporting?

A:   ”Effort” is the amount of time expended on any activity paid by JMU.  Effort Reporting is required by Federal OMB Circular A-21 as a means to document that JMU employees were only paid from Sponsored Projects for the amount of Effort applied to those projects.  For example, if a PI receives pay from a grant equal to 10% of their salary, they must document that 10% of their time (effort) was dedicated to that grant work.   JMU has an Effort Reporting System (ERS) that allows electronic calculation of the effort based on salary expenditures for each semester.  Each employee that is paid from a sponsored project should expect to receive and email with instructions on how to complete effort reporting.

Q:   What happens if my sponsored program work will not be complete by the end date?

A:   Anticipated changes in project scope or schedule should be shared as soon as possible with the Office of Sponsored Programs. Requests for extensions should be coordinated with the Office of Sponsored Programs no less than one month prior to the expiration date or as required per the terms of the original award agreement. The Sponsored Programs Accounting Office assigns award beginning/ending dates based on original award and addendums and will suspend expenditures from projects that have passed the ending date.

Q:   What are legitimate expenses for indirect cost recovery budgets?

A:   All indirect cost recovery funds belong to the university and are addressed under Section 4-2.03c of the state Appropriation Act. JMU's allocation procedure is as follows: 30% of recoveries is a state required transfer to Educational and General revenues of the university, 40% of recoveries to deans & department heads, 10% to the Provost and 20% to the operation of Sponsored Programs Accounting Office. The 40% allocated to deans and department heads is to be used to support activities which may result in additional external funding for sponsored programs. This would include computers purchased to allow faculty members to conduct research or travel to present papers to possible funding agency representatives.