Record Retention for Sponsored Projects
Procedure Date: September 2021
Last Review: September 2022
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Retention of sponsored project expense documentation is important, especially in the event of an audit. If a sponsored project is audited and supporting expense documentation cannot be provided to the auditors, then the expenses for which there is no documentation will automatically be deemed unallowable. Unallowable sponsored project expenses must then be transferred off the sponsored project account. Such unallowable cost pitfalls can be avoided, though, by adhering to the following guidance.
NSHE procedures and guidelines for record retention
- In determining sponsored project expense document retention requirements, Sponsored Projects defers to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Procedures and Guidelines Manual, Chapter 15 - Records Retention and Disposition Schedule, page 28, which discusses records for grants and agreements with higher education.
- Per the NSHE retention schedule, records for grants and agreements with higher education must adhere to the following retention period: "FY submission of final expenditure report + 7 years, unless otherwise provided in the terms of grant or contract."
- If the terms of the grant or contract dictate a longer retention period than that of the NSHE retention schedule, then the terms and conditions of the grant or contract shall trump the NSHE retention schedule.
Sponsored projects guidance on sponsored project expense documentation retention
- Pre-Workday payroll timesheets for hourly employees paid from sponsored project accounts: The timesheets used by employees to record and track hours worked must be retained at the department level in accordance with the above retention schedule.
- All other sponsored project expense documentation (travel, PCard receipts, etc.): It is highly recommended that departments retain copies of all other expense documentation in accordance with the above retention schedule. Regardless of the funding source, University offices such as the controller and human resources follow their own record retention schedules in the NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual, and that schedule may not coincide with the record retention schedule for sponsored project expense documentation.
- Confirmation of sponsored project expense document retention requirements: Sponsor specific retention policies can be found in the award terms and conditions, often in the section regarding audit policies and procedures. The assigned Sponsored Projects post-award grant accountant can also provide information on sponsor and award specific record retention requirements.
Record storage and retrieval
Retained records do not need to be in the form of hard copies and may be scanned and stored electronically.
For further information on storing records within InfoEd, please contact your assigned Sponsored Projects post-award grant accountant.