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Effort Reporting

Welcome to Research Accounting Services' Effort Reporting webpage. This webpage and its related links are designed to educate and facilitate compliance with the Federal, as well as the University’s requirements, policies and procedures related to Effort Reporting on sponsored projects.

The purpose of effort reporting is to provide a reasonable basis for distributing salary charges among direct activities (e.g., sponsored projects (including Clinical Trials) and non-sponsored activities such as instruction, administration, and clinical activity).  The University has released an Effort Reporting Policy which became effective on April 1, 2016.  This policy ensures that effort is appropriately documented, that salaries and wages charged to sponsored agreements reasonably reflect the effort expended on those projects, that effort is certified by authorized personnel in a timely manner, and that effort certifications comply with sponsor requirements and Federal regulations.

  1. Effort reporting is a method for documenting activity expended in support of all sponsored projects. Effort reports for periods prior to January 1, 2016 were created in the Maximus Effort Reporting System (ERS) and were completed in six month increments.  Labor adjustments impacting salaries earned prior to January 1, 2016 require an updated effort report in the Maximus ERS.
  2. Effort reports issued after January 1, 2016 are generated on a quarterly basis in the Banner Effort Reporting System.  This change was made to allow for better active live management of awards and to ensure timeliness of close-outs.  The Banner Effort Reporting System is accessible through the Drexel One portal in the "Payroll Channel" of the "Employee" tab and is accessible by clicking the "More BannerWeb Employee Services" link.  You will then land at the "Employee Main Menu" and can click on "Effort Reporting and Labor Redistributions" link.  The Banner Effort Reporting System works in tandem with the Self-Service Banner Labor Redistribution module and provides for system integration. 
  3. Uniform Guidance Subpart E Section 200.430 contains the Federal regulatory requirements for acceptable methods of certifying time worked on all Federally sponsored projects.  The University has adopted an "after-the-Fact" certification process requiring certification by the named individual on the effort report or and/or a responsible individual with "suitable means of verification that the work was performed".  Per the Uniform Guidance the method for documenting effort must:    
    1. Be supported by a system of internal control which provides reasonable assurance that the charges are accurate, allowable, and properly allocated;
    2. Be incorporated into the official records of the University;
    3. Reasonably reflect the total activity for which the employee is compensated by the University, not exceeding 100% of compensated activities.
    4. Encompass both federally assisted and all other activities compensated by the University.
    5. Comply with established accounting policies and practices of the University.
    6. Support the distribution of the employee's salary among specific activities or cost objectives.

If you have questions regarding how to access your effort report in order to pre-review or certify it for the current or any prior period in either the Maximus ERS or Banner Effort Reporting systems, please contact ras@drexel.edu for assistance.  Training sessions for pre-reviewers and certifiers are offered quarterly and you can register for sessions through Career Pathway in the Drexel One portal.

Effort Reporting FAQs

What is meant by the term “Effort”?

Effort is defined as the total of all professional activities which are performed as part of an individual’s employment obligation associated with an individual’s institutional base salary. The “full workload” or “total professional effort” is defined as 100% effort.

What is Effort Reporting?

Effort Reporting is a method for documenting activity expended in support of all sponsored projects.

What is the difference between labor distribution and Effort Reporting?

Labor (payroll) distributions and effort reports are related but not the same thing.  Labor distribution reflects the activities to which salary is charged in the payroll system while an effort reports describes the allocation of an individual’s actual time spent on the project whether or not reimbursed by the sponsor.  Thus effort reporting is separate from and can be independent of salary charges.

Who is subject to Effort Reporting/Effort Certification?

Faculty, staff and graduate students will complete effort certification reports if they perform work on any sponsored project, funded directly or by a federal pass-through organization as well as any work related to activities to fulfill their individual employment obligation to the University, whether the effort is paid or unpaid. Non-exempt employees, undergraduates and/or college work study students who complete auditable time sheets and pre/post-doctoral students, supported only by fellowships are not subject to effort reporting procedures.

What is meant by the term “Effort Certification”?

Effort reporting is the mandated method of certifying to the granting agency that the effort charged or cost shared has actually taken place. Effort Certification is the process for ensuring compliance with the payroll distribution requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance, which addresses "principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions." The policies, provisions, and cost accounting standards in the Uniform Guidance are mandatory for institutions which directly or indirectly receive federal funds. Essentially, this process ensures that direct labor charges to sponsored projects are reasonable and reflect actual work performed.

Who should certify effort?

Effort of faculty, staff and graduate students should be certified either by the employee or by an individual having suitable means of verifying the effort distribution (e.g., the principal investigator, department administrator or designee having oversight and firsthand knowledge of the employee’s effort). The department administrator will ensure that all certifications are completed accurately and timely.

When is Effort certified?

Effort is now certified quarterly per fiscal year.  Effort reports for quarters after December 31, 2015 need to be pre-reviewed and certified in the Banner Effort Reporting System via DrexelOne. Effort reports for periods prior to December 31, 2015 were completed biannually, and must be pre-reviewed and certified in the Maximus Effort Reporting System.

Why do I need to re-certify effort because I put through a salary reallocation?

Effort certification is the process for ensuring compliance with the payroll distribution requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance, which addresses "principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions." The policies, provisions, and cost accounting standards in the Uniform Guidance are mandatory for institutions which directly or indirectly receive federal funds. Essentially, this process ensures that direct labor charges to sponsored projects are reasonable and reflect actual work performed.  A salary reallocation records a change to university records so if a salary reallocation is requested and processed, a revised effort report will be generated and will need to be re-certified.

What is a “Person Month” & How Do I Calculate It?

The following is an excerpt from the National Institutes of Health posting on 3/31/17
A “person month” is the metric for expressing the effort (amount of time) principal investigators (PIs), faculty and other senior personnel devote to a specific project. The effort is based on the type of appointment of the individual with the organization; e.g., calendar year (CY), academic year (AY), and/or summer term (SM); and the organization’s definition of such. For instance, some institutions define the academic year as a 9-month appointment while others define it as a 10-month appointment.
Conversion of percentage of effort to person months is straight-forward. To calculate person months, multiply the percentage of your effort associated with the project times the number of months of your appointment. For example:

  • 25% of a 9 month academic year appointment equals 2.25 (AY) person months (9 x 0.25= 2.25)
  • 10% of a 12 month calendar appointment equals 1.2 (CY) person months (12 x 0.10 = 1.2)
  • 35% of a 3 month summer term appointment equals 1.05 (SM) person months (3 x 0.35= 1.05)
  • 10% of a 0.5 FTE 12 month appointment equals 0.6 (CY) person months (12 x .5 X .1 = 0.6)
  • If the regular pay schedule of an institution is a 9 month academic year and the PI will devote 9 months at 30% time/effort and 3 months summer term at 30% time/effort to the project, then 2.7 academic months and .9 summer months should be listed in the academic and summer term blocks of the application (9 x 30% = 2.7 person months; 3 x 30%= .9)

Banner Effort Reporting Troubleshooting & FAQs

In following directions to access effort reports through Drexel One, when I click "Effort Reporting and Labor Redistributions," I get the following error message "RSL Error 1 of 5." How can I proceed?

This error indicates that the user may have a problem with his/her internet browser.  The current supported browsers are as follows:

Browser Minimum Version
Firefox 3.6
Internet Explorer 6.x or higher
Mozilla 4.0
Safari (Mac OS) 5.0

I am a Principal Investigator. I opened effort certification in DrexelOne and I need to certify reports for myself and my staff. I only see my report under the “Certify My Report” tab. Where are the rest of my reports?

To certify on behalf of another individual, click on the “Review or Certify Reports” tab.  Select "Advanced Search", then "Select Attribute", and "Chart of Account Code." Enter D for employees of Drexel University or S for employees of Academy of Natural Sciences, then click "Go".   A list of all effort reports where you are identified as the alternate certifier should appear, and you can double click on one of them to certify. In the Banner Effort Reporting System, if the report is in a status of “Awaiting Certification”, it is ready for your certification. If the report is in the status of “Certified” or “Complete”, the report is finished. If the report is in a status of “Under Review” or “Awaiting Refresh”, you cannot certify it as your pre-reviewer is working on it.  

If the “Review or Certify” tab does not appear on your screen, please contact Research Accounting Services to obtain access.

In the previous effort reporting system, emails could be sent to the certifier directly through the software. Does Banner ERS offer this option?

Pre-reviewers with any effort reports with a status of “pending” in their queue will receive a follow up email the day following the release of the effort reports each quarter. Additional follow up emails will be generated by the system weekly until all reports in their pre-review queue have the status of “reviewed.” When reports move to the certifier (including alternate and graduate student certifiers), the certifiers will receive an email that there is/are report(s) for certification in his/her queue. The certifier will receive a follow up email weekly until all of the reports in the his/her queue are listed as “complete/locked” in the effort system.

The email notifications on a new report will be focused on only the current effort reporting period. However, each week, a summary reminder email will be sent to anyone who has outstanding effort reports in any state, in any effort reporting period in Banner.

I have a report in at the pre-review stage but I cannot access it to pre-review. What should I do?

There are two possibilities for this result.  

  1. If a salary reallocation was submitted for payroll during the effort reporting period, the reallocation needs to be processed completely through the labor reallocation process before the effort report can be revised.  The effort report will state "Pay events are in process that may affect this effort report" in the "Effort Report Overview" section if a salary reallocation is in process.
  2. If the pre-reviewer accidentally clicked the "Request Changes" button, the effort report will be locked from other users until the changes are cleared or the report is refreshed with the change.

I have submitted a labor reallocation through the labor redistribution system. How do I know whether or not my changes have been processed and my effort report has been refreshed?

Review the status of the effort report.  If the report status is ‘under review’ and the effort report reflects the payroll change, then the redistribution has been completed and you can proceed with reviewing the revised effort report.

There is an effort report in my queue that does not belong there. Why is that and how do can it be routed to the proper person?

Contact Research Accounting Services to resolve this issue.

I have an individual who was paid from sponsored funds but is missing an effort report. What should I do?

There is a possibility that the effort report was not generated for the period or that the effort report was routed incorrectly to another individual. Contact Research Accounting Services to resolve this issue.  

 

Can the pre-reviewer add another or a different pre-reviewer to the routing queue in place of the pre-reviewer that is already there?

The pre-reviewer can add a member to the pre-review queue.  However, the system requires all members of the queue at the pre-review level to pre-review the report. If a complete change is required, please contact Research Accounting Services to request the change.

Can the pre-reviewer add an alternate certifier to the routing queue in place of the alternate certifier that is currently there?

The pre-reviewer can be added as an alternate certifier.  At the certifier level, only one certifier is necessary.  Some schools require the “Graduate Student Certifier.” If this requirement has been made, this person MUST certify the report.  Any other certifier may certify the report in addition to the Graduate Student Certifier.