Duke Auditors, Federal agencies, Department Chairs, Deans and other oversight units utilize these reports for a variety of reasons - planning, assessment, etc. Most specifically, auditors review these documents/records to determine if Duke University is billing grants and contracts according to prescribed rule s and regulations. Effort reporting is a requirement of OMB Circular A-2l, which is the defining Federal principle for grant management. Since we accept Federal funds, we are required to have an effort certification system. Certification records are audited on a routine basis by internal and external auditors.
The report is a certification of how you actually spent your time within a reasonable degree of accuracy. The term "reasonable" is used in Federal regulations but is not defined by OMB; but in any case the certification should reflect what you did over the certification period. It is not just identifying how you were funded. Your funding sources should align very closely with your activities but due to cost-sharing and other issues, they don't always align exactly. Basically the reports should verify that you spent the time allocated to specific awards working on those projects, and also verify what activities you pursued on non-funded activities. In no instance should the result be over 100%.
Although effort certification is a good tool for understanding how faculty are funded, its more critical purpose is to protect Duke University from serious audit risk. Many of our peers (Hopkins, Harvard, Cornell, Northwestern, Penn) have had effort audits that have been very resource consuming. We hope this system supports compliant reporting and provides improved functionality to reduce or mitigate risk.
This activity is often funded via the university allocation/funding source which is often in a cost object that begins with a 1xx or a 4xx. Your Business Manager or designated Effort Coordinator can help in understanding the report.
Our previous system was all paper based and was run from a mainframe; there were significant limitations due to both of these issues. The new system significantly improves the reporting process and provides a more streamlined functionality that will both save time and be more efficient.
Yes, there is a possibility that someone will want to better understand your effort. In recent audits,auditors have reviewed Blackberries, appointment books, etc. to check the reasonableness of the effort allocation. RCC has developed a list of questions that are asked of faculty during audit processes at other universities. These tend to be fairly invasive in their tone and objective. With regard to liability, there is rarely ever any "personal liability" if an effort statement was certified unintentionally incorrect; however there have been instances where institutions and faculty were held accountable for intentional misrepresentations as these can be considered a false claims against the Federal government.
Most likely, you have been set up as "Proxy" for another Certifier, who did not complete his or her Effort Card. Check the Effort Lifecycle Wheel to see if you have the "Complete Proxy Certification" link at the bottom of the wheel.
ECRT will allow you a variance of .9% and still not require a payroll form. Thus, you can certify from 99.1% through 100.9% and not require an iForm. The reason for the differences in percentages between iForms and ECRT is that iForms are submitted to the payroll using percentages (100%). The data loaded to ECRT is in payroll dollars. ECRT then converts the dollars to percentages.
Before the Certify button appears, ECRT requires that a Primary Effort Coordinator be assigned to the BFR/department. If you encounter this problem, please send an email to ECRT-Support with your DUID number and BFR number, if you know it.
Before ECRT will allow you to certify your effort, you must be assigned the role of Certifier. If you encounter this problem, please send an email to ECRT-Support with your DUID number.
If you answer yes to any one of the four questions below, you must certify your effort through ECRT.
  1. Is the effort charged to a Restricted Cost Object (a seven-digit Cost Object beginning with 3xx or 2xx)? Note: This question does NOT include or apply to Restricted Cost Objects beginning with 391 or 399.
  2. Is the effort charged to 600200 G/L Accounts (for effort supporting Duke Health System)?
  3. Are the second and third positions of the seven-digit Cost Object different for all the Cost Objects to which the base salary effort was charged (i.e., NOT the same for all Cost Objects to which the base salary effort was charged)? Note: This question does not include or apply to Cost Objects beginning with 8xx.
  4. Is Tuition Remission paid to the person?
You must be a current Duke employee to access ECRT. Please send an email to ECRT-Support with your DUID number. The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) will contact the appropriate Primary Effort Coordinator so that a Proxy can be assigned to certify your effort.
No. As soon as the Certifier finishes certifying his or her effort, ECRT immediately sends the Effort Card(s) to the Manage Task of the Primary Effort Coordinator for processing. After the Manage Task has been assigned, ECRT will NOT reassign it to another Effort Coordinator.