Certifying Effort Reports
It is the policy of the University to maintain records that accurately reflect the effort contributed by personnel to sponsored projects. UTHealth utilizes the After-the-Fact Activity Records method of accounting for effort under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21.
These requirements apply to all employees whose salaries are charged directly, in whole or part, to Sponsored Project Accounts or are used to meet cost-sharing or matching requirements on Sponsored Project Accounts.
Faculty with joint appointments (i.e., with the University and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center) will account for their activity only with the UTHealth.
Sponsored Project Accounts
Sponsored Project Accounts are those accounts involving sponsored projects, and include grants, contracts, gifts, and endowments.
Effort Reports are generated semi-annually for all personnel except those classified as casual employees.
There are established timeframes for certification completion. The timeframes can be found on the University's certification calendar.
Effort: Effort is the reasonable estimate of work performed by the employee on a sponsored project during the period covered by the Effort Report. Effort worked during the period must support any amount compensated. To ensure this, effort worked must be greater than or equal to funding during the period. If effort is greater than funding, cost sharing may need to be reported.
Percent of Effort: By definition, “100 percent effort” is the total effort expended by an individual for the institution in relation to the amount of time he or she is employed. In all cases, effort for any individual must always total 100 percent, even if his or her FTE status is less than 100 percent. Thus a half-time employee (.5 FTE) must always report 100 percent effort.
Certifying Effort Reports: The process of reviewing Effort Reports for accuracy, making any appropriate changes to reflect effort accurately, and electronically signing the Effort report to certify its accuracy.
A responsible party with suitable means of verification must certify Effort Reports. University departments and PIs are responsible for ensuring all Effort Reports comply with this policy. The deans of the individual schools, together with operating unit heads, are ultimately responsible for timely and accurate reporting of effort.
Effort reporting is a process mandated by the federal government to verify that direct labor charges to, or cost shared on, sponsored projects are accurate, timely, and reflect the actual level of work performed.
Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) is the web-based system used to meet the federal mandate. ECRT integrates financial, payroll, and research administrative functions and is designed to enhance compliance management, improve financial information for academic units through comprehensive reporting.
PIs are required to certify their sponsored effort and that of their support staff who work on their project(s) twice per year. This is accomplished by logging into ECRT with the appropriate network login, viewing the semi-annual Effort Reports for accuracy and certifying that the salary charges are commensurate with the level of effort that they and their support staff expended on the sponsored and non-sponsored activities, as well as any commitments related to the sponsored projects.
All faculty members are required to certify Effort Reports in a timely manner.
Failure to satisfy this requirement will be subject to the University's escalation schedule and corrective action plan.
For detailed information on the institutional effort reporting system, visit the University's Effort Reporting website.
For more information, see how to certify effort with the Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) program.