University of Vermont

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 is available here. 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 UVM compensated 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?

Certified effort forms 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.  UVM's 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. For example, Principal Investigators typically certify for graduate students.

How often do I need to certify my effort?

  • For semi-monthly paid employees, effort must be certified in the University's effort reporting system (ERS).  Typically, the certification of effort occurs during the August/September time period subsequent to the end of each fiscal year. Typically, the effort forms must be certified by the mid-October. For guidance on using the ERS system, click here.
  • 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 the payroll effort percentages are not reasonable on the effort form in relation to work performed on sponsored agreements, contact your designated departmental/unit administrator to initiate the changes.   Per the University’s cost transfer policy, thorough and documented justification is required for any cost transfer request.

What happens if someone does not certify 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.

After the University deadline, notifications from Cost Accounting Services will occur to the assigned certifiers and department administrators.  to complete the certification process in ERS.  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 and when can I access my effort form?

Effort forms may be accessed in the University's effort reporting system (ERS). Typically, the effort forms are available for pre-review by early August. Upon completion of the pre-review step by departmental/unit administrators, certifiers will have access to their forms to review/certify

Last modified September 23 2014 08:26 AM