Effort Reporting

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 accounting adjustment 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 the web-based program Workday to review and certify effort. Employees who have been paid any portion of their salaries or wages from 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 accounting adjustments are submitted in Workday. If submitted at least a week before effort reports are generated, the accounting adjustment 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 a week prior to effort report generation, or after an effort report has been generated, the cost transfer should be initiated through the effort certification review process in Workday.

All payroll accounting adjustments initiated during the effort certification review process must include responses to Questions 1 & 2 on the Workday "Questions" tab.

If the original expense posted more than 90 days prior to the accounting adjustment, or if the sponsored account involved will close within the next 45 days (or has already closed), Questions 3, 4, 5 & 6 must be reviewed and responded to as required.

Reporting personnel expenses used as cost share/match.

When personnel expenses are used to meet a cost share/match requirement, they must be expensed to a cost share worktag (account) and certified in Workday.  Cost sharing shows the value of the effort that was paid from a non-sponsored account for work done on a sponsored project.

Paper Effort Reports

There may be circumstances when Workday cannot be used for effort reporting. When Workday cannot generate an accurate effort report, a Paper Effort Report can be used.  Include all worktags 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 project. Paper Effort Reports should be submitted to Sponsored Projects either at ospadmin@unr.edu 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. Note:  currently, Workday only routes the effort report to the employee for certification.

Effort reports have deadlines

Effort reports are considered late if they are not certified within 28 days of generation.  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 mdondanville@unr.edu 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 payroll accounting adjustment 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 mdondanville@unr.edu or 775-784-6360 to explain the situation.

For more information:

If you have questions about effort reporting or would like training, please contact:
Michele Dondanville
Research Compliance Program Manager
(775) 784-6360

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.