iForms System Changes: Retroactive Adjustment and Other Edits

Duke University is committed to developing and maintaining a strong program of federal research compliance, including policies, procedures, and other infrastructure that supports the research enterprise and the faculty and staff within it. Personnel costs associated with sponsored programs comprise over 60% of the University's $1B annual spending on research. For this reason, Duke University is developing a new effort reporting system that will significantly enhance our capacity to monitor grant/contract funded personnel expense. We are also updating other systems and processes that play a role in effective personnel cost management

The following provides guidance on edits to the iForms system that will require additional review and approval of untimely/retroactive personnel changes to federally funded grants and contracts. I ask that you carefully review these changes and make every effort to reconcile and correct personnel charges to federal awards within an appropriate timeframe (< 90 days).

In November, a new Effort Reporting policy was conveyed to the research administration community. (You can find the policy at: http://rcc.compliance.duke.edu/policies/policy_RetroEffort.php) Deadlines associated with the submission of retroactive cost adjustments are as follows.

Time frame   Approval
< 90 Days   As defined by the department
90 - 180 Days   Department Business Manager approval required
    (may require cost-sharing)
> 180 Days  

Unallowable cost to federal sponsor - must be charged to institutional funds

or Across Certified Period   (Exceptions require Management Center/Vice Dean/Provost approval)

New edits and workflow approval changes to the iForms Cost Distribution transaction will go into effect on Tuesday, January 13, 2009. With these changes, all retroactive changes to employee's cost distribution with an effective date greater between 90 days and 180 days old using a federal project will be routed to Business Managers for approval with a notification e-mail to the Management Center, in addition to standard departmental approvals.

If the cost distribution transaction has an effective date greater than 180 days old or across a certified period using a federal project, it will be routed to the Business Manager and the Management for approval, in addition to standard departmental approvals. If a change is denied at either level, the charge must be removed from the federal award.

In addition to untimely approvals, two additional edits have also been added. 

  • All cost distribution changes that result in a faculty member being funded greater than 90% on federal projects will require Business Manager approval, in addition to standard departmental approvals.  An email will also be sent to the Management Center informing them of the change.
  • No employee will be permitted to be funded less than 1.0% on any cost object (Cost Center or WBS Element) unless the GL Account on the distribution is for cost sharing (600300, 600400, 603300, or 603400).

As Duke University continues its parallel initiatives to enhance research management and maintain a highly compliant campus culture, your support in process is appreciated.

For questions, please call the Office of Sponsored Programs.