Part of the Financial Procedures state that the Principal Investigator (PI) and the Departmental Administrator (DA) monitor spending against budget on a monthly basis and need to provide evidence of this to ensure that there is regularity of expenditure (i.e. money is spent on allowable items) and that the project is operating to plan. Any budget variations should be investigated and may need to be cleared with sponsors.
How can PIs view financial data for their award?
The PI is the Key Member for the award, and can view data for the award at any time with Grant Investigator status. The Key Member can also ask for other users to be given access to view reports for their grants. To do this the PI needs to ask their Research Support Advisor (RSA) to add each individual to the grant as an ‘administrator’. Research Grant Administrators (RGA) can also view grant reports with Grant Administrator status
PIs can also access their grants via the Research Grant Expenditure Application. This is a system managed by University Information Services.
What information is available?
DAs have access to several useful reports that can assist with monitoring expenditure, for example CUFS, COGNOS and PI Expediture. For any advice on running reports or monitoring expenditure, please contact us or consult the UFS Research Grants.
The PI / DA / RGA can generate an Award Status Report or Project Status Report for the award. The report produces the following real-time financial information for a particular award:
- remaining amount available to be spent
Contact the relevant Research Support Advisor (RSA) at the Research Office for more information about the status of any research grant.
If you require funds to be re-allocated (vired) to another expenditure heading, please contact us to check that this is permitted within the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions.
Spending awarded funds
Awarded funds are managed using the Grants, Purchasing and Accounts Payables modules within the UFS. Although UFS is accessed through a web browser, you may need to install a compatible browser and supporting software called JInitiator. If so, please contact the UFS Helpdesk for further help and advice.
How do you spend the funds?
The PI or the DA in the department where the award is held raises purchase orders, which are approved by the Head of Department where appropriate. The PI or DA then verifies that the goods are received and authorises the payment of invoices. In some instances, the University’s policies may require a bidding process before a supplier can be selected and a purchase order raised. For detailed advice, please refer to the Procurement Services, whose role is to help departments maximise value for money.
When can funds be spent?
Purchase orders can only be raised in UFS between the sponsor’s start date and the sponsor’s end date and within the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions. Invoices associated with purchase orders can be paid until the project’s close date, which is typically two months after the sponsor’s end date.
What happens when funds are spent?
Direct costs such as equipment and travel are posted to the award as a result of an order being raised and the associated invoices being posted to the award. Staff costs are generated by the University’s Payroll Section and posted automatically to the award. Non Direct costs, such as PI time, Estates, Indirect costs, Overheads and Pooled labour, are generated and charged automatically to the appropriate awards.
Attention to detail is important when producing purchase orders, invoices and posting to UFS to ensure that the paper trail of direct and non-direct costs are accurate, completed fully and on time.
Training and documentation for the UFS client and UFS procedures are available from the University’s Finance Division.
Cross spending on grants
Please note that cross spending on grants is a breach of the sponsor’s Terms and Conditions and must be avoided. However, please contact the sponsor in advance for their permission to spend funds in any manner that is different to the award letter or terms and conditions.