The Principal Investigator (PI) is accountable for project expenditures and must approve all charges processed against the award. The office of Sponsored Programs Finance Administration and Compliance (SPFAC) also monitors the expenditures on an award. This helps to ensure that all charges are recorded accurately and appropriately, and that they comply with federal, state, and University regulations.
Reconciling accounts on a regular basis will help you manage your sponsored ('R') account to ensure that expenditures are within appropriate limits. Regular monitoring helps to:
- Confirm availability of project funds.
- Ensure that costs are consistent with the project schedule and incurred during the project period.
- Discover any errors in your budget.
- Avoid overspending, which will cause a deficit and limit further spending.
Do not wait until the end of the project before reconciling your account. The longer an error remains uncorrected, the harder it is to show that allowability and allocability are in compliance with the University's Cost Transfer Policy.
All PIs should monitor the financial activity of their award from the start date. ULINK is UL Lafayette's web-based tool for monitoring you awards. Your financial reports are available through the ULINK system. If you have any problems accessing your account, contact Sam Bullard in Information Systems at 482-6444.
- Log in to ULINK.
- Select the 'Employee' tab.
- Select 'Statement of Account by Department (Ledger)'.
- At the Department Code bar, enter your account number, replacing the 'R' with a zero '0'. For example, if your account number is R1234, type 01234.
- At the Month box, type in YYYYMM form. (201202 for February 2012)
You can also download your financial ledger into an Excel format.
You may access your account at any time during the month for current activity. The monthly finances are closed by the 10th of the following month, except in June, which may not officially close until the end of July.
You should pay close attention to these ledgers. It is important to verify that all expenses are accurately recorded, and that an expense has not been inappropriately charged to your account or to the wrong line item in your budget. (You can correct any errors by using the Cost Transfer Form). Many PIs find it helpful to set up their own expense tracking spreadsheets that can then be compared against the monthly expense reports.
Actions to Prevent Cost Overruns
- PI should review account on a monthly basis in ULINK.
- SPFAC will review all sponsored program accounts on a monthly basis and as expenditures are submitted for approval before it is charged to an account.
- If an overrun is found, you will be notified by the Grants Coordinator and advised to what action must be taken. It may be required for the expense to be transferred to the Department. It may require an immediate freeze of the account.