Effort Certification & Reporting Technology (ecrt)
Effort reporting is a mechanism for confirming salary & wage charges to sponsored agreements. It confirms that salary charged is related to work performed. It is expressed as a percent of total effort.
For an expanded explanation, view the 5 KEY POINTS FOR TIME AND EFFORT REPORTING at CSU
CSU uses the Huron ecrt application for Project Statement Certification, on a fiscal quarter basis. More information about the system and CSU policies is available in the FAQs below and using the links in the right sidebars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any PPDA that impacts a 53 account (regardless of time period) must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs.
When Sponsored Programs approval is required, the PPDA form should be submitted to the OSP PPDA mailbox either by emailing the .pdf directly or routing it through an electronic signature workflow (DocuSign, eSign, etc.).
To ensure the PPDA submission is logged and directed to the appropriate subfolder, the subject line of the email (and/or name of the document if routed through DocuSign) must contain the following information:
- (OSP Acct Tech Last Name) – PPDA (Name of person the PPDA is for)
- Example: Batman – PPDA John Smith
- The Account Tech’s name will display in the RPS Contacts section, “Sponsored Programs Acct Tech” field
Once received, OSP Post Award staff will review/approve the PPDA as quickly as possible. When approved, the OSP Account Tech sends the PPDA via email to HR (with cc: to the person who submitted the PPDA to OSP).
A certification report is the primary basis for documenting reimbursement of salaries applied to sponsored research, sponsored instruction, other sponsored activities.
Principal Investigators certify for all employees with salary directly charged or cost-shared on each sponsored project, including faculty, state classified personnel, graduate assistants and administrative professionals.
First hand knowledge by person performing the effort, the supervisor (e.g. PI) of the person performing the effort. It must be sufficient to support a reasonable estimate of effort expended such as calendars, logbooks, and timesheets.
For faculty and exempt Administrative Professionals, it represents all effort among all of the duties for which you are compensated. Institutional Base Salary (IBS) is the compensation paid by the university for your appointment. It excludes income you are permitted to earn outside your university duties. It is not based on a defined number of hours (such as 40 hours per week). For example, if one employee completes their responsibilities in 40 hours in one week, and another takes 50 hours to complete their responsibilities, both have contributed 100% effort.
ECRT is live as of January 1, 2018, with online pre-review beginning January 16, 2018, and certification beginning February 15, 2018. During the initial certification period, PIs will certify project statements for both the 1st and 2nd quarters of FY 2018 (July-September 2017 and October-December 2017). Going forward, certification will be done quarterly, based on fiscal year quarters.
- Effort reports are audit-able documents
- Salary & wage expenses typically represent 70% of all direct costs for sponsored projects
- Effort reports and the effort reporting process are regularly audited
- Risks of non-compliance are high
- False Claims Act liability
- Direct cost refunds to sponsor
- Jeopardizing future funding
- Jeopardizing CSU’s status as a low-risk auditee
- Possible personal criminal charges
Effort reporting is a federal compliance requirement. As long as the University accepts federal funding, effort reporting (another term might be ‘payroll verification’) will be necessary.
- Understand their own as well as their staff members’ (non-faculty personnel) levels of effort committed, charged and reported on all applicable awards
- Review, initiate corrections if necessary, and electronically certify their Quarterly Project Effort Certification(s)
- Communicate significant effort changes to the department effort coordinators
- Review salary charges on awards on a routine basis with grant managers and identify any effort-related changes and communicate with administrators to post corrections if needed
- Recertify and electronically sign if effort changes are made after a statement has been certified