What is effort reporting?
Effort reporting is the process of certifying that salaries and wages charged to sponsored project accounts are reasonable in relation to the actual work performed. It assures a sponsor that 1) the sponsor only paid for the amount of effort that directly benefited the project and 2) the employee met his or her effort commitment to the project. Effort reporting is also the method for recording and certifying personnel expenses that are being used to meet a match/cost share requirement.
When an effort report is first generated, it is only a report of payroll distribution. It must be reviewed to see if pay distribution was a reasonable reflection of the work that was actually done. If actual activity differed more than 5% from the employee's payroll distribution, the department must initiate a payroll cost transfer to move expenses to the correct accounts. Only then will payroll distribution match actual effort and the report can be certified. Effort reports should not be certified until they are correct.
The University of Nevada, Reno utilizes a web-based program, Effort Reporting System (ERS), to review and certify effort. Employees who charge any part their salaries or wages to a sponsored project, or who have committed cost shared effort to a sponsored project, must certify their effort through effort reporting.
Payroll cost transfers and effort reporting.
Payroll cost transfers involving sponsored projects are usually initiated by submitting a PR-45 form to Sponsored Projects. If submitted at least two weeks before effort reports are generated, the cost transfer is likely to post in payroll and be included in the effort report.
If the need for a payroll cost transfer is identified less than two weeks prior to effort report generation, or after an effort report has been generated, the cost transfer should not be initiated by a PR-45 form; the payroll cost transfer needs to be initiated through ERS. Please scroll down to access training videos that demonstrate how to pre-review, record cost shared effort, and initiate payroll cost transfers in ERS.
If the original expense posted more than 90 days prior to the cost transfer, or if the sponsored account involved will close within the next 45 days (or has already closed), a Cost Transfer Justification (OSP-6 form) must also be submitted before Sponsored Projects will approve the cost transfer. Please submit the PR-45 (or page from ERS) and the OSP-6 together.
Reporting personnel expenses used as cost share/match.
When personnel expenses are used to meet a cost share/match requirement, they must be recorded and certified in the Effort Reporting System. Cost sharing does not move the expense from one account to another, it only shows the value of the effort that was paid from one account for work done on a sponsored project. Please scroll down to access training videos that demonstrate how to pre-review, record cost shared effort, and initiate a payroll cost transfer in ERS.
Early cost share reporting
When a sponsored project with a cost share/match commitment closes prior to a regular effort reporting period, the department may need to report the cost shared effort early in order to close out the project. To do this, report the cost shared effort on a Early Cost Share Effort Report form and submit it to Sponsored Projects either at email@example.com or to Ross Hall 204/MS 325.
Be sure to include the account number(s) the effort is being cost shared to, as well as the account number(s) the effort is being cost shared from. Include the dollar amount of the cost shared effort.
Important: the cost shared effort must also be reported in the Effort Reporting System when effort reports are generated. Including the dollar value of the cost share on the Early Cost Share Effort Report helps ensure that the same amount of cost share will be recorded in ERS.
Click here to access the Early Cost Share Effort Report form.
Paper Effort Reports
There may be circumstances when ERS cannot be used for effort reporting. When ERS cannot generate an accurate effort report, a Paper Effort Report can be used. Include all accounts from which the employee was paid during the reporting period and ask the employee to estimate and certify the percentage of effort spent on each sponsored account. Paper Effort Reports should be submitted to Sponsored Projects either at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Ross Hall 204/MS 325.
Click here to access the Paper Effort Report form.
Who can certify an effort report?
The default certifier for effort reports is the employee. There may be circumstances when the employee is not available to certify effort, or may not know which projects s/he was working on. A person other than the employee may certify an effort report if s/he has first-hand knowledge of the employee's effort during the reporting period. The certifier may be the Principal Investigator of the project or the employee's supervisor.
Click here for detailed instructions on certifying effort in ERS.
Effort reports have deadlines
Effort reports are considered late if they are not certified within 28 days of generation. The Effort Reporting System will send late notifications to pre-reviewers, certifiers and department coordinators. An effort report becomes delinquent if not certified within 14 days following the late date. Project accounts with delinquent effort reports may be put on administrative hold until the effort reports are certified.
Can an effort report be changed after it is certified?
Effort reports are considered final once they have been certified. Therefore, they should not be certified until they are correct. If unusual circumstances require an effort report to be changed after certification, please contact Michele Dondanville at email@example.com or 775-784-6360.
What if an effort report cannot be certified before the deadline?
There may be times when an effort report cannot be certified before the 28-day deadline. This can happen if a department is waiting for an account to be set up before it can initiate a cost transfer to make the effort report accurate, a certifier is on leave, or other situations. To avoid penalties for a late effort report, please contact Michele Dondanville at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-784-6360 to explain the situation.
For more information:
The Sponsored Projects offers monthly effort reporting training sessions as well as individual trainings.
If you have questions about effort reporting or would like training, please contact:
Research Compliance Program Manager
Please use the links below to get more information on effort reporting (including a video tutorial series), using the Effort Reporting System, important dates, and detailed instructions using screen shots from ERS.
- Link to the Effort Reporting System (ERS)
- Effort Reporting Training Schedule
- Effort Reporting System screenshots and instructions
- Payroll cost transfers on sponsored projects
- Principal Investigator Responsibilities for Effort Reporting
- Important Dates and Deadlines for Effort Reporting
- Working with salary caps
- UNR Effort Reporting Policy
- Effort Reporting Video Tutorial Series
- Early Cost Share Effort Report Form
- Paper Effort Report Form
- Cost Transfer Justification Form (OSP-6)