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 required for 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 the amount of 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.

Effort reporting schedule

  • Effort reports for January through June academic contract period effort are generated around the third week of July.
  • Effort reports for July through December academic contract period effort are generated around the third week of January.
  • Effort reports for Summer Overload (non-contract) effort are generated in early October.
  • Effort reports for combined Winter/Spring Break Overload (non-contract) effort are generated in early May.

Payroll accounting adjustments 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 and be included in the effort report.

If the need for a payroll accounting adjustment is identified less than a week prior to effort report generation, or after an effort report has been generated, the payroll accounting adjustment should be initiated through the effort certification review process in Workday.

All payroll accounting adjustments that transfer an expense to a sponsored project account must include a Cost Transfer Justification form (SP-6) as an attachment. This form can be downloaded from the Sponsored Projects forms page.

Personnel expenses used as cost share/match

Cost sharing shows the value of work that was done on a sponsored project but paid by a different source. When personnel expenses are used to meet a cost share/match requirement, they must be expensed to a non-sponsored account that includes a cost share worktag. Cost shared effort must be certified either in Workday or on a manual effort report (see below).

Manual effort reports

There may be circumstances when Workday cannot be used for effort reporting, such as recording grant-to-grant cost share. When Workday cannot generate an accurate effort report, effort must be certified on a manual effort report. There are two different manual effort reports:

Manual effort reports only show the amount of salary expenses being cost shared, they do not include the associated fringe benefits or F&A expenses. Therefore, when submitting a manual effort report with cost share, attach a Workday detailed personnel expense report from Budget to Actuals that documents the dollar amount of salary and fringe benefits being cost shared. Sponsored Projects will calculate the amount of F&A expenses to be cost shared.

Once certified, please save the manual effort report as a pdf and email the form and any back-up attachments to Sponsored Projects at spadmin@unr.edu .

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 she or he was working on. A person other than the employee may certify an effort report if that person 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.

Effort reports have deadlines

Effort reports are considered late if they are not certified within 28 days of initial generation. An effort report becomes delinquent if not certified within 14 days following the late date. Payroll expenses that have not been certified by the delinquent date are unallowable on sponsored project accounts and must be moved to a non-sponsored account.

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