Grants Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 


Grants Accounting General Information

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Creating and Managing Projects in GA

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Creating Awards & Installments & Funding Projects (Budget)

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Transactions

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Reporting from GA Using Project Status Inquiry (PSI)


GA Workflow


Grants Accounting General Information

How do I request key member changes on the award and project forms?
If the number of key member role listings for an individual employee to be updated is less than 40, the individual department or business unit will request the change through their Role Manager or Setup Specialist to manually update the changes. If the employee is listed 40 or more times as any of the below key member roles on any combination of projects and/or awards, the department or business unit may request that ITS-EA auto-update the key member roles. Follow the Key Member Mass Change Instructions to submit request.

Award Key Member Role Data Project Key Member Role Data
Award Manager Project Manager
Principle Investigator (PI) Principle Investigator (PI)
Co-Principle Investigator Co-Principle Investigator
Award Oversight 1 Fiscal Contact
Award Oversight 2 Approver Approver
Limited Setup Specialist Examiner
OSP Invoicing Contact (OSP Requests Only) Fiscal Officer
OSP Reporting Contact (OSP Requests Only) Fiscal Contact

Once a project has been funded from an award, is it necessary to establish a budget for that project in order to spend from it?
Yes, a project must be budgeted in order for Budget Workflow to initiate for the approval process of the project and award combination. The approvers will either approve or reject the project and award linkage. Once approved, the budget will baseline and the PTA will be valid (ready for use).

Is there a list of all the Projects, Tasks, Awards, Expenditure Types, and Organizations?
All the Ps, Ts, As, Es, and Os will be available as a list of values in the Integrated System system.
You can also run the Project Common Attributes report (includes tasks associated with project), Award Common Attributes report, Expenditure Type Lis of Values report, and Organization List of Values report that are located in the GA_Reference Reports workbook in Discoverer.

What is the difference between the Integrated System Grants Accounting (GA) and the Integrated System General Ledger?
The primary difference between the Integrated System Grants Accounting and the General Ledger modules is that revenue is deposited and resides within GL, while expenditures are recorded in GA. End users will always record expenditures for purchasing, labor distribution, and exchange of goods and services between internal service providers and university customers in GA.

The University is using a Project Centric approach to take full advantage of the powerful feature of GA to provide a better management information system. This should enable schools and other units to use the functionality of GA to meet virtually all of their departmental accounting needs. The GL then serves as the institutional book of record for all transactions in the Integrated System and is used primarily by central users.

Who gets to set up a new award or project?
Awards are created centrally (with 2 exceptions) by individuals with the GM Setup Specialist or GM Administrator responsibilities. Projects are created by individuals with the GM Award Manager or GM Project Manager responsibilities, and can also be created by those with the GM Limited Setup Specialist, GM OSP Setup Specialist, GM Setup Specialist, and GM Administrator responsibilities.

What is the difference between an expenditure function code and an expenditure type?
The expenditure function is the overall purpose for which a project exists. It is an attribute assigned to the project when it is created. In their financial statements, public institutions are required to classify expenditures by function. The following functional classifications are derived from the Financial Accounting and Reporting Manual for Higher Education. For a complete list of expenditure function codes, click here.

Expenditure Type is the Integrated System term for the FAS object code. It lives in the Grants Accounting application and is a text value, e.g. equipment, lab supplies, faculty salaries. It represents the "E" segment of the PTAEO and is a part of every PTAEO transaction. For a complete list of expenditure types, run the Expenditure Type List of Values report under the GA_Reference Reports workbook in Discoverer link.

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Who can create cost transfers?
Individuals with the following the Integrated System responsibilities can do cost transfers: GM Transaction Specialist, GM Award Manager, GM Project Manager, GM Setup Specialist, GM OSP Setup Specialist, GM Limited Setup Specialist, GM Billing Specialist, and GM Administrator. Please note: a cost transfer within GA is not intended for the transfer of funds, which is handled in the General Ledger.

Do we receive notice of awards (NOAs) for our grants?
Yes, the Office of Sponsored Programs sends NOAs to departments informing them that they have a new funded, budgeted and approved PTA.

Do I have to assign an expenditure function classification code to all my departmental projects?
The expenditure function code is assigned at the time a project is created. As part of the Integrated System's workflow, the expenditure function assigned to the project will be reviewed by a Central approver. The project create form attached to the project will provide additional information to allow central accounting to determine that the project and its attributes have been created, funded, and budgeted correctly.

What is the difference between raw and burdened costs? What is my involvement as a user with burdened cost? Do I budget for it, or is it done for me?
Raw cost is a term generally associated with a manufacturing environment, and is related to the cost associated with non-dollar units of measure, e.g. hours, pieces, units, etc. For example, budgeting two hours of work at $20 per hour would yield a raw cost of $40.00. The Grants Accounting application will not be utilizing raw cost.

Burdened cost is the dollar amount that could be burdened with fringe benefits or F&A (indirect) costs. U.Va. will be utilizing burdened cost in the Grants Accounting application. In the Integrated System, the project manager or award manager will budget both salaries/wages and the appropriate fringe, within the same resource, on one line (e.g. faculty salaries would be $1,100 if you were budgeting for salaries of $1,000 with a fringe rate of 10%) or they can break it out to two lines for non-G&C project and award combinations.

When budgeting for grants and contracts, OSP budgets the amount that could be burdened with F&A costs. The F&A amount would be budgeted on a separate line.

Why can't I see revenue for all of my projects?
There are several possible reasons why this may be happening.

My fringe benefit charges in July do not appear to be calculated with the correct rate. How are fringe benefit and F&A expenses calculated in July?
The June payroll transactions are burdened using the fringe benefit and F&A rates in effect in June. The July payroll transactions are burdened using the fringe benefit and F&A rates in effect in July. Both June and July payroll charges appear on July financial reports. If you have difficulty verifying the amount of fringe benefits or F&A expense charged to your project in July, look at the pay period in the Employee-Vendor/Comment field to determine which dates the payroll charge covers:

June Faculty – Pay period 6
July Faculty – Pay period 7
June S/M – Pay period 11 and 12
July S/M – Pay period 13 and 14

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Creating & Managing Projects in GA

On the Award Budgets - what do the "Periods For Totals" fields mean?
"Periods For Totals" verifies what months have been budgeted. If you only budget in the first month i.e. July 2000, the "Periods For Totals" would be Jul-00 - Jul-00. If you broke out your budget in different months i.e. Jul-00 for Faculty Salaries $7000 and Jun-01 for Faculty Salaries $7000 "Periods For Totals" would be Jul-00 - Jun-01.

What happens if there is no project manager? Would there be a message saying that the PTAEO is invalid and why, or what?
Transactions can go through, but it is required by University policy that you have a Project Manager. If the project and award combination award budget is modified or created, the workflow will error if the Project Manager role is not populated with an active employee.

What if there is a gap in the coverage of a project manager - like one ends on July 2nd and the other doesn't start until August 1?
A temporary Project Manager would need to be in place during the gap, since this is a REQUIREMENT of the University. If the project and award combination award budget is modified or created, the workflow will error if the Project Manager role is not populated with an active employee.

What is the significance of the Permanent or Temporary change to a budget? Where does that report out?
Permanent or Temporary change is required for the Budget Office to use. A permanent budget change means that your budget has changed permanently; i.e., the Dean gives you a budget increase of $10,000 in FY2001 and your budget in subsequent years reflects that change. A temporary budget change is one that affects the current fiscal year only, and will not be reflected in subsequent years. An example of a temporary budget change might be a one-time, $10,000 allocation from the budget office for use in the current year only. The U.Va. Budget Office will use these changes to track institutional budget numbers.

Can GA automatically allocate budgets evenly over months?
This is possible through manual input only.

Who is responsible for loading future FY installments/budgets?
The Budget Office will load future FY installments and budgets.

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If you enter an award budget at the Expenditure Category level one year, can you go in the following year and enter a budget at the Expenditure Type level?
You CANNOT budget to a Resource Group and its Members at the same time. Since the PTA will be used for numerous years you would have to modify any prior year budget items to the type level.

Where can you see the change reason for specific resource items that have been reduced/removed?
When viewing budget history you CANNOT see the change reason and comments on line items.

What is the procedure/policy for funding and budgeting Auxiliaries that generate revenue?
Budgets are handled through the budget office, and cash/revenue recognition is handled through GL.

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When do I have to create a new project?
A new project must be created using Grants Accounting:

  1. Anytime you receive new restricted funding, e.g. gifts, endowments, grants and contracts, and whenever a school or department creates a new sales or service (state or local) operation. A new revenue project for depositing State E&G or Local General monies should be coordinated through the University Budget Office. In all of these cases, the new project is used to deposit revenue into the general ledger. To spend any of the revenue deposited to the new project, an award would have to be created, and the project to which funds are deposited in the general ledger would serve as that award's sponsoring revenue project.
  2. A new expending project must be created when none of the projects within your unit contains the proper expenditure function code that will allow the correct classification of expenditures for the new activity. For example, you have two projects: The first one has expenditure function code 2000: general academic; the second one has expenditure function code 2700: research, projects and individual. Then you begin spending funds providing community service. A new project must be created with the expenditure function code 2800: community service. It will be funded from one or more awards to create valid PTA combinations.

When should I NOT create a new project?
You need not create a new project just because you received additional funding from a new award. For example, new funding provided by the provost's or dean's office for a departmental program can be put into an existing departmental project as long as the project bears an appropriate expenditure function code.

When and why do I need to attach the project create attachment to the project? Do I have to do one for each award linkage? The project create form is required whenever a new project is created. This includes any projects that were added during conversion.

Only one project create form is necessary per project. The form is required for audit purposes and to validate the expenditure function chosen on the project. The expenditure function is critical to the University's Financial Reports and reporting to the State. When filling out the form, make sure to completely answer each question. The form can be found in the web form directory under Accounting Services.

The project create form should be completed and saved before you create your new project in the Integrated System (Production)-GA. If the project create form is not attached to the project prior to submitting the award budget the budget workflow will be rejected by the central workflow approver.

Can departments link a grant award to a project not associated with that grant?
This is a policy issue. OSP explored the issue and determined that grant awards may only fund grant projects. However, you may link non-grant awards to grant projects.

How can I view the tasks assigned to my projects?
To view the tasks assigned to your projects, open the Active and Inactive Award-Project-Task Combinations report under the GA_Reference Report workbook in Discoverer. Pull Project Carrying Out Org to Page Item and pull Award Carrying Out Org down to column headers. You will see all the projects and related tasks for your org.

Can I view more than one Task at a time?
Yes. Just log on as many times as you wish. Each window can have a different Task.

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Creating Awards or Installments & Funding Projects (Budget)

Does the Award Manager get an email when an installment is created?
Yes, the Award manager will receive a workflow notification when an installment is modified or created.

Can you have a different level of Budgetary Control at the Task level than at the Award?
Yes, but U.Va. Standard is to have Award set at Advisory, Task set at Advisory, Resource Group set at None and Resource set at None. To change from the U.Va. Standard you would need to request a change from the Central Office. This is not something a department can do independently.

Why is the [required] checkbox not checked in the Personnel alternative region when Award Manager is a required field?
The Award Manager is a system-required field; the field is grayed to highlight this as a system requirement.

Can you have Transactions prior to enabling budgetary controls?
No, budgetary controls must be enabled before transactions can go through.

What are the Allowed Cost Schedule definitions?
All costs includes all costs. State includes all costs EXCEPT alcohol. Grants and Contracts have very specific allowed cost schedules (ACSs).

Are negative funding amounts acceptable?
Negative funding and negative installment amounts are not acceptable as the Integrated System doesn't fully acknowledge them and they can cause problems with budgeting.

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How do I request a new award from the Budget Office?
Requests for new awards must be submitted to the UBO via electronic mail to budget-new_award@virginia.edu. The required form is available on the UBO website, http://www.virginia.edu/~budget/

How do I request the creation or modification of award installments from the Budget Office?
Requests for the creation or modification of award installments must be submitted to the UBO via electronic mail to budget-icom@virginia.edu. The required form is available on the UBO website, http://www.virginia.edu/~budget/. The following sequence of procedures must be followed to create or modify an award:

  1. The project manager must decrease the award budget being reduced; then submit the award budget.
  2. The award manager must reduce the funding of the project being reduced.
  3. A request is submitted to UBO to request the installment modification.
  4. The requestor is notified that the requested installments have been increased/decreased.
  5. The award manager can increase the funding for the project being increased.
  6. The project manager can increase, then submit the award budget.

The UBO cannot decrease an award installment until the project funding and budgets have been reduced. Conversely, award and project managers cannot increase project funding or budgets until the installment is increased.

As always, an increase in an award must be offset with a decrease in an award. One exception is if the offset is to revenues or transfers budgeted in the Integrated System General Ledger. In that situation, the second section of the ICOM should be completed with the GL information. The second exception is to load cash balances in LS or LO awards as discussed in the next section.

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When and how will I see the carryforward balances from my state and local general accounts?
Carryforward balances in SG, SS, and LG awards will not be allocated until approval from the state is received. If and when such approval is received, the UBO will contact individuals in parent organizations concerning what award should be increased for the carryforward.

What are the suggested GA Budget naming conventions?
Award Budget screen:
Version Name:
For the initial load by UBO: Fiscal Year 2001-02
Original For subsequent changes by units: Fiscal Year 2001-02 Revision 1, 2, 3, etc.
Change Reason: leave blank
Description: at the discretion of the unit
New Original Block: this option is not to be used outside of the UBO

Do I select expenditure category or expenditure type during budget changes?
Project and Award managers must exercise caution when selecting an expenditure category vs. an expenditure type during budget changes. If a budget is created at the expenditure category level, while expenditures are incurred at the expenditure type level, you can NEVER budget at the expenditure type level in the future. The UBO strongly encourages units to always budget at the expenditure type level in order to maximize future flexibility in budgeting.

When and how do I perform project/award linkages and changes?
Link to Processing Funds

Who is responsible for putting an installment into a new project and how we know when that has happened?
Link to Processing Funds

Who is responsible for project funding and budgeting?
Link to Processing Funds

How are new projects and awards created; what are the guidelines?
Link to Processing Funds

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Why can't we install gift revenues in advance of receipt?
It is against University policy to install gift revenues in advance of receipt due to the unpredictable nature of cash flows associated with gift funds.

I have to overwrite my budget when it is reduced/increased. Can this be addressed?
The Integrated System requires that you install, fund, and budget so there is an accurate depiction of the budget in Grants Accounting. This process also gives users more control and input to their budgets. It does not, however, have a budget amendment capability. Users can note increases and decreases in the Description field to be reflected in reports.

You are able to view the budget History.

How do I drill down from the Award Management screen to the Award Budget form?
To drilldown from the Award Management screen to the Award Budget form. From the menu bar, select Tools, then Award Budgets.

How do I verify that budgetary controls have been enabled?
The system will automatically enable Budgetary Controls on an Award/Project combination when the Award Budget is baselined through workflow. To verify that budgetary controls have been enabled, drill down from the Award Budget screen – select “Tools” from the menu bar, then "Budgetary Controls."

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Transactions

Is there a listing of all the Expenditure Types and their definitions?
Yes. The list of expenditure types and their descriptions may be found in the Discoverer report Expenditure Type List of Values under the GA_Reference Reports workbook. Log on to Discoverer (you must have the ODS Specialist the Integrated System responsibility) and view the Discoverer report with this name. Expenditure Types are housed in the Integrated System Grants Accounting application. They represent the E values in the PTAEO. These values should be used whenever making purchases, scheduling labor or doing cost transfers.

How can I make use of the bar code/PTAO card?
There is a web site at which you can enter your PTAO information and the system will validate it and print out a PTAO card with the bar code and the numbers on it. Some service providers (such as Mail Services) have the ability to scan the bar code for input into their billing systems. For other users, the PTAO card is a reference to help people use the correct PTAO. Click PTAO Card Generator at: http://www.virginia.edu/integratedsystem/. NOTE: Joint VPN is required for the PTAO Card Generator.

What is the functionality of the "All Negative Transactions Entered As Unmatched" - check box?
If not checked the system looks for a matching positive transaction, and gives you a "second chance" when you are in the expenditures screen to confirm that you mean to enter the matching transaction. The form has been personalized to automatically check the box.

Can you report and sort by the Transaction comment field?
Yes, users can use a Discoverer report to sort on the comment field.

What will serve as the charge notification under the Integrated System? Does the Integrated System provide any type of FYI functionality?
Users will review the Batch Report within Discoverer for "charge" information. The departments are supplying service providers/vendors with charging instructions, and this & reporting will replace the FYI process.

What is the requirement in the Integrated System when the transaction involves a prior fiscal year?
Prior fiscal year entries can be created as long as the award is still active and the end date has not been reached. This will be a procedural review/process.

What is the requirement in the Integrated System when the transaction involves certain high risk expenditure types?
These have been tested in the Purchasing/AP module, but the system will not check for "high risk" expenditure types within GA.

What is the requirement in the Integrated System when the transaction involves correcting a previous transaction?
The comment field can be utilized to reference the transaction being corrected.

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Will the Expenditure Item date be reflected in the GL when it is posted? What happens if the Expenditure Items have several lines with different dates, will this cause an out of balance entry in GL?
Both GL and GA record the expenditure item date and the GL date. The GL date is equal to the accounting date, i.e., when the transaction was posted.

Will there be any way other than the date to reference transactions?
The batch number or the comment field can be used as a reference.

In the dynamic region of the Expenditures screen, to the right of the running total column, there's another column of small greyed out boxes (obviously not used at this time) that have [ ] above as the column title. What will that area be used for?
Those are descriptive flexfields (DFFs), which are areas where we can store additional information and/or from which we can do reporting. These descriptive flexfields have not been defined and we will probably look at them more as we go forward and identify areas in which we would need them for tracking and reporting.

Will the "Transaction Source" field indicate who (i.e., the person/logon id) initiated a batch, or if an isp, the actual department?
No, the Expenditure Batches screen with the "created by" box will show you who created the batch. The transaction source field will tell you where it came from when you are doing reports; i.e., GMSA-CAV, GMSA-MAIL, GMSA-UVA OEINV, GMSA-SIS, one of the interfaces (SIS, for example), etc.

How many org lines can be added per batch (especially useful info for isp type folks)?
As many as you need.

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How does the "expenditure item date" relate to the effective date of a transaction? And, if the batch ending date is always the following Sunday, but a specific project end date is, let's say the end of a month, if the following Sunday is within a 'new' month, how will that impact the boundary code/funds check/processing of that transaction? How are the batch end date, expenditure end date, and expenditure item date related - i.e., what specifically should they be identifying?
The expenditure item date should be the date that the expenditure actually occurred. If you are entering a batch in May, and one of the expenditures actually occurred in March, you should put the expenditure item date of March on the line for that item. The batch end date will not be impacted by the project end date but the expenditure item date will. So, if you are entering transactions for a project with a specific period you should make sure that the expenditure item dates occur BEFORE the project and award end dates. Then, those transactions must be processed before the award CLOSE date.

If a PI/faculty member uses a PTAO card at the Bookstore or Cavalier Computers, for example, to get office supplies (or some other expenditure), and the item (expenditure type) they purchase is NOT allowed on that PTAO, will it be known immediately at the time of purchase, or will they be able to charge the item, walk away with it, and the charge and/or batch will be rejected later? (Or will the charge have to be moved by Org - departmental fiscal staff later?)
The PTAO card does not validate the [e]. So, it would be possible for the Bookstore or Cavalier Computers to accept a PTAEO that is then rejected in the batch. We believe this to be a training issue to ensure that people do not charge inappropriate items to PTAs.

How would the "advisory" mechanism differ regarding whether the charges were made via the Integrated System versus an FTP initiated batch?
No difference.

There are some charges on my project that I can't identify. When I look at my report or in the online expenditure batches screen, there is no name in the space next to "created by". Who do I call to get information about these charges?
Accounting services website provides a link to internal service providers contact list located @ http://www.virginia.edu/polproc/proc/docs/ISP%20Contact%20Information%20Updated%2030-Mar-12.pdf.

This document contains information related to billing formats and contacts for Internal Service Providers. The list provides the IS transaction source code (i.e., GMSA-FM, GMSA-PT, GMSA-MED, GMSA-CPY, GMSA-CAV…) and contact name and number.

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When do I use revenue versus recovery versus expenditure credit?
Revenue - Funds received from an entity that is external to the University. Revenues are recorded via the GL Deposit. Detailed information on processing revenue, by type of funds, can be found in the "Processing Funds" document. The following detailed deposit procedures may be found on the Financial Procedures website.

Recovery - Funds received from an entity that is internal to the University. These transactions are recorded using the Cost Transfer process in GA. Typically, the only activities that should be using GA Recovery Expenditure Types are Sales and Services or Facilities Management Awards (LS & SS). *NOTE* GA revenue expenditure types are different from the GL revenue object codes, and can only be used by specific groups, primarily Local or State Auxiliaries Awards (LA and LS). Questions about recoveries should be directed to Financial Analysis at djb2k@virginia.edu or 924-4291.

Expenditure Credit - Funds returned to UVA from an external entity, typically due to an overpayment. These transactions require a dual entry into GL and GA, which is accomplished by submitting the payment and the Expenditure Credit Form to the University Cashiers Office. The detailed procedure may be found on the Financial Procedures website.

When do I use cost transfers vs. cash transfers vs. journal entries? 
Cost Transfers are GA transactions that are used to redistribute expenditures among projects, or among expenditure types within a project.

Cash Transfers are special purpose transactions that occur in GL. Cash transfers can only be done with approval from Accounting Services.

Journal Entries are GL transactions that are usually used to redistribute deposits where a correction in the original GL account string is required. These transactions are also subject to review by Accounting Services.

Is there any way to speed up the data entry process?
All ERP systems take more time to enter data because there is more data to enter, though often the equivalent was entered in shadow systems or e-forms. However, in some cases, the time consumption has to do with computer response time. While this is sometimes due to demand on the system, there may be local Desktop or network issues. ITS-Enterprise Applications is working with ITS to develop a long term solution to address performance issues. In the short term, if you believe the issue is response time, request that your LSP contact Kate Bakich, srb2y@virginia.edu with the IP address and the nature of the problem.

If you are entering large amounts of General Ledger data, you may find ADI (Application Desktop Integrator) to be a useful tool to save time. This is an Excel-based software package that allows you to create GL journals in a spreadsheet and upload them into GL. To explore this option, please contact Kate Bakich, srb2y@virginia.edu.

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Our school requires a review of Actual Expenditure Batches before submission to Central for final review and approval. Is there any way to automate this?
While departmental approvals are not an automatic process, you can set up a business process for departmental approvals. The Batch Creator would save the batch, then notify the viewer (via E-mail, phone etc.) that a batch or batches have been created and are ready for review. Procedures for reviewing the batch may be found at:

Training>Fin/HR Training>Grants Accounting>Training Resources>GM Transactions Training Guide>Finding Batches (page 8)

Is there any way to identify pending cost transfers?
As was the case with FAS, there is no functionality to identify pending cost transfers. However, processing pending cost transfers promptly is related to the resources needed to expedite the approval process. Financial Administration will explore more frequent approvals when resources become available.

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Reporting from GA Using Project Status Inquiry (PSI)

Drilldown through the AP Invoice option - will actual check numbers be available on the invoice overview screen?
Yes, actual check numbers will be available.


GA Workflow

How can I know when new project/award linkages have been approved?
Budget Workflow sends email notifications of final approval of new P/A linkages and baselined budget to the initiator of the budget workflow (the person who submits the budget), Award Manager, and Project Manager. If the Project was in new status the project status will change to Approved. If the project is an existing project in Approved status the status will not change. Open the Award Budget to see if the budget is in working status and the draft and current amounts are the same. Award Managers can monitor the Budget workflow by selecting Tools>Monitor Budget Workflow on the Award Budget form. Click here for instructions.

How can project managers know when workflow is completed and projects are approved?
The Project manager will receive a workflow notification on their worklist and via email when the project and award linkage has been approved and the budget has been baselined.

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Encumbrances

Is there any way to capture commitments (encumbrances) for a PTA?
Some types of commitments (encumbrances) are already captured in the Integrated System. Purchase orders, requisitions, and limited purchase orders are shown as commitments until they are paid. Labor Distribution generates encumbrances of salaries through the end of the fiscal year.

In addition, users with the UVA Manual Encumbrance Subsystem, which offers a standardized approach to creating, maintaining, and automatically incorporating manual encumbrances in pre-defined BBA reports. For information on why and how to use the subsystem, click here.