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Frequently Asked Grant Accounting Questions

Answers to common grant accounting questions.

The SAP Grant number - is a 6-digit Alpha-Numeric character. For example:

Federal = F6XXXX

State = S6XXXX

Private = P6XXXX

Grant number is used for the following purposes:

To display your grant general information (such as sponsor name, grant period, grant amount, etc). The procedure to display your grant information can be found on the Grant Accounting webpage.

The SAP WBS number - This is a 6-digit numeric character. For example:

External WBS = 6XXXX1

Internal WBS = 6XXXX2 (match accounts)

A WBS number is used along with the SAP Grant number for the following purposes:

To incur expenses on a grant or contract.

To review your grant account on SAP (for example, actual costs incurred to date, balance remaining, expense details, etc).

The SAP cost center number - is a 5 digit numeric number. For example:

Federal = 61XXX, 91XXX

State = 62XXX, 92XXX

Private = 63XXX

PRIF/REF/FIT = 65XXX

Grants that were created before November 1, 2005 in the old system are called Cost Centers and are used for the following purposes:

To incur expenses on your grant or contract.

Sponsored classes/Sponsored Groups are groups of pre-determined General Ledger (GL) accounts. Since expense postings to a grant are based on the sponsored authorized allowable budget and reporting requirements, your grant is set up in SAP with the budgeted categories that closely resemble that of the sponsor's budget. Expenses are posted to individual GL's in SAP which are grouped into classes. For example:

Supplies and Materials - G211000 (this is a group number)

Postage and Delivery 640200 (this is a GL number)

Telephone 645200

Printing 665200-666400 (range of GL numbers)

Travel - G220000

Travel 740200-741100

Incorrect use of the GLs will generate inaccurate reports. Therefore, care should be taken to use the appropriate GL for charging expenses to a grant.

Use Sponsored Class/Group - when comparing SAP generated report with the sponsored authorized allowable budget.

Use GL account - when reviewing detailed SAP expenditure report.

Use SAP - The best way to find out who to call is to use SAP. Type GMGRANTD in the transaction code box and press enter. Type the grant number in the grant field (include the alpha character) and press enter. Click on the Responsibilities tab and the grant accountant will be listed. This is the person you should call.

There are several ways to obtain grant training. Such as:

Attend the Project Director (PI) Meeting - The meeting will involve the PI, Office of Research and Sponsored Program (ORSP) and Grant Accountant. The Grant Accountant will give the training at this meeting or a separate meeting will be set up for the training.

Schedule an Individual Training Session - Call the grant accountant who handles your grant. The grant accountant will go over the training information that is contained in the grant training manual.

Review the Grant Accounting website - There are several procedures available to help you on this page.

Regardless of the sponsor or contracting authority, the University's procedure must be followed.

To help you understand these various procedures, the GAO has developed the following policies and guidelines:

For policies and guidelines, see the Grant Accounting Policies webpage.

For internal controls, see the Grant Accounting Internal Controls webpage.

When preparing for these guidelines, GAO reviews Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

For more specific policies and guidelines issued by the federal department and agencies access the Office of Research and Graduate Studies agency-specific guidelines.

Additional guidelines (such as contract authority search, independent contractors, gifts versus grants and contracts -CMU policy, etc) can also be viewed or accessed on the Office of Research and Graduate Studies website in the Grants Management policies section.

The sponsored project manual is intended to serve Principal Investigators (PI) as a reference guide for information and assistance with the post-award grant and contract activities. The manual is divided into 5 sections. This manual can also be located on the Grant Accounting webpage.

Overview - provides glossary of terms used.

The Grant Accounting Office (GAO) - provides a guide to how the GAO can help you with the post-award administration functions and important contact information.

Getting Started - included in this section are the roles and responsibilities of a PI.

During the Life of the Project - this section provides useful information on time and effort reporting, indirect costs, cost sharing, re-budgeting of funds, overdrafts, subcontracts, unallowable costs, interim reporting requirements, no cost extensions, etc.

Closing Process - policies on final reporting requirements, closing a grant, record retention, audits, etc are provided in this section.

View the cost transfer policy for grants and contracts.

Park a journal entry to move the charge to the correct cost center or grant.

If the check is for a grant, it needs to be given to the grant accountant as soon as possible. Note: You may want to make a copy of the check to keep with your records.

Whenever possible, checks should be hand delivered to Grant Accounting in WA304 or WA307.

In the future, please request that all checks for grants be sent directly to Grant Accounting. Checks should not be mailed directly to any department except Grant Accounting.

Look at the grant to make sure that it is not in a deficit - if so, transfer funds to cover the deficit or move expenses to another cost center -- See Cost Transfer Policy.

Look at the grant to see if there are still funds to spend - at this time you may need to request a no-cost extension to the project if needed.

Change payroll forms to reflect the new cost center for charges after the grant end date. Contact Faculty Personnel Services for Faculty and Graduate Assistant changes. Contact Human Resources for all other Staff changes.

Change the default allocation for the credit card assigned to the grant.

Prepare final narrative and or financial reports as necessary. 

Prepare the file for storage - Departments are required to keep their files for three years unless specified differently in the grant.