Cost Accounting Services

Effort Reporting - Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any web based training available on effort certification?


Yes. A web based tutorial covering effort management and reporting topics including effort certification may be found at the following web site. Encourage your departmental faculty and staff to review the information prior to certifying their effort. Certifiers are strongly encouraged to review the materials in the tutorial on an annual basis. It typically takes 15 minutes to review the tutorial contents.

What is effort management and reporting?

  • Effort management is the budgeting, planning and monitoring of someone's effort for a specific period of time such as a budget period. Effective effort management ensures that effort commitments to sponsors within the context of all activities included in someone's 100% effort.

What is committed effort?

Committed effort is that proportion of an individual’s institutional effort that will be devoted to a sponsored activity. Effort proposed for a PI or other key personnel in a grant application, typically in the budget and/or budget narrative, becomes a commitment (or obligation) the university must fulfill unless explicitly modified during award negotiations with the sponsor. The cost associated with committed effort may be borne by the sponsor (charged to the grant or contract) or by the institution (cost-sharing).

What is the significance of certifying an effort report?

Signed effort reports are the equivalent of sworn statements about the correctness and substantial accuracy of your commitment of labor to each project. In recent years, federal funding agencies have greatly increased their scrutiny of these reports.  Our ability to justify these time records could be the source of preventing serious difficulties for both the University and individual researchers.

Who is required to certify effort?

Any University employee who had a portion of their salary charged directly to a sponsored agreement or as cost share during a fiscal year.

May someone certify effort for someone else?

Yes. A Principal Investigator or responsible official may certify for someone. Keep in my that these individuals are required to have first hand knowledge or suitable means of verification to certify for someone else. If the employee is available, the preference is to have the employee certify their effort.

How often do I need to certify my effort?

  • For semi-monthly paid employees, a Peoplesoft report (job-aid) is reviewed, signed and dated once a year. Typically, the certification of effort occurs during the August/September time period subsequent to the end of the fiscal year. Certified effort reports must be submitted to the Cost Accounting Services department by the subsequent September 30 of each fiscal year.
  • For bi-weekly paid employees, the submission of hours process signifies the certification by the employee.

If a change is warranted, what action do I need to take?

If a change is made on an effort report, then a  salary distribution form must be revised, signed by the employee, and forwarded through the proper channels.  Per the University’s cost transfer policy, thorough and documented justification is required for any cost transfer request.

What happens if someone does not sign or approve their effort?

Effort reporting is a federal requirement and is the key source document for salary and benefit charges to a sponsored agreement.  The University of Vermont must be in compliance with the Federal Regulations.  Otherwise, the University may face risks such as audit findings, refunds, fines, and losing future federal funding.  The individual faculty member may face risks such as losing an award, being debarred from receiving federal funding, and possible civil and criminal charges if fraud is involved.

When an effort report is not certified or not certified on time, Cost Accounting Services will email the delinquent effort reports to the appropriate responsible official.  After five business days of the communication, any remaining delinquencies will result in a cost transfer of each person's salaries and benefits from all sponsored agreements to the department/unit general fund chart string.  100% compliance is required.

Where can I access my effort report?

Contact the HR rep or designated effort administrator of your home department. A Peoplesoft report can be generated for by employee or department at any time.

Where do I send the completed effort reports?


Mail to or drop off certified effort reports to:     Cost Accounting Services 221T Waterman Building Attn: Jana Talcott

Is there a new effort system being implemented at UVM?

Yes. The University has purchased a web-based effort management and reporting system (ERS) to further mitigate compliance risk on sponsored agreements. Recent financial settlements involving effort compliance underscores the importance of implementing a robust effort compliance solution. The ERS system will provide an integrated solution for faculty and their respective department administrators to plan, track and certify their effort. Key benefits for faculty and staff will be:

1)  A prospective view of existing and proposed effort commitments on sponsored agreements

2)  Effort compliance alerts and notifications with real time feedback

3)  Effort views which allow easy comparisons of effort commitments with actual effort

4)  Drill down capability to obtain a monthly view of actual effort and related  payroll transactions

The ERS solution from MAXIMUS was selected through an extensive RFP evaluation process by a committee sponsored by the University Business Council. Other Universities currently using ERS are Yale, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins. The projected availability for campus of the ERS system is after January 1, 2013.

Does the new version of the effort management and reporting policy (version affect FY12 certifications?

No. The effective date of the new effort management and reporting policy (version is August 1, 2012. A key difference between  the policy versions is what is included in someone's 100% effort. The FY12 effort reports should reflect a person's effort for all University compensated activities during FY12. For FY12, the certifier should assume that all of their University compensated activities equals 100% of the effort and should ensure that all of the effort is reasonably reflected on their effort report in relation to the work performed on those compensated activities.

The new effort management and reporting policy
(version does not include temporary compensated activities such as continuing education in someone's 100% effort.

Last modified August 28 2012 03:39 PM

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