Corresponding with:

OSR Policy 200.4 Principal Investigator (PI) Overall Responsibilities

OSR Policy 200.5 Departmental Administrator (DA) Responsibilities

OSR Policy 400.3 PI and DA Responsibilities in Early Award Stages

OSR Policy 500.2 Departmental Responsibilities in Award Management

OSR Policy 600.1 Reporting Overview

OSR Policy 600.2 OSR Financial Reporting Responsibilities

OSR Policy 600.3 PI and DA Interim Reporting Responsibilities

OSR Policy 700.1 Final Reports and Notice of Termination Reply (NOTR)

OSR Policy 700.2 Unreconciled Accounts

OSR Policy 700.3 Account Close-Out

Procedure Statement

Providing successful information for award and reporting requirements is directly proportional to the establishment of a solid monitoring mechanism maintained in the department itself, often referred to as a “shadow system.” A good shadow system is an essential resource throughout the life of a project and becomes particularly important for accurate interim and final financial reports.

A shadow system for each award should be established during award set-up. Departments may use any shadow system that works best for them to maintain current financial and personnel data for each sponsored award they administer.


Research Administration Glossary at Carolina

The following elements should be included in your shadow system:

1. Flag these items, which will be found in the award document:

  • Restrictions
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Purchasing/Spending Authorizations
  • FRS Information

2. Set up personnel records

  • Prepare personnel forms as soon as an account number is assigned
  • Be certain the rate of pay matches what has been stated in the proposal

3. Monitor Tuition for Graduate Students

  • Usually automatic and prorated for accounts that provide salary or stipend

4. Establish deadlines for Technical and Financial Reports

  • This can be accomplished using an Excel spreadsheet or Word table.

5. Set up tracking systems for:

a. Subcontractors

  • Track direct cost expenditures
  • Establish performance measures
  • Require timely invoices (according to the contract terms)
  • Ensure subcontractor costs meet A-21 criteria
  • Obtain PI signature for approval of all invoices
  • Inform subcontractor when final invoice is due

b. Consultants

  • Track direct cost expenditures
  • Follow agency guidelines when securing a consultant, paying close attention when prior approval is required.
  • Identify daily rates and other expenses
  • Complete financial forms including check requests and independent contractor forms
  • Check invoices for complete information of the services performed

c. Services

  • Track direct cost expenditures
  • Review service agreements for non-subcontracted services
  • Monitor specialized facilities and Research Service Centers (RSCs)

Some of these elements of proposal and award management will become easier to manage with the continuous development of RAMSeS.

Helpful Systems for Maintaining Shadow Systems

A successful sponsored award shadow system requires the knowledge of basic University systems — RAMSeS (Research Administration Management System and eSubmissions), the University’s Financial Records System (FRS), and Finan$eer. All three systems require access privileges, which can be obtained through the authorized role managers within each department.


Award data access in RAMSeS allows the user to view the awards administered by his/her department. In the Award Administration window, the user can view the various elements of the award by clicking on specific tabs, which resemble hard file tabs. From these tabs, the user can access uploaded documents, such as the original proposal/eIPF, notes, and attachments in making determinations about award management and reporting requirements. Under the “attachments” tab (indicated by a paperclip icon), any of the following documents can be uploaded and reviewed for possible effects on financial management and reporting requirements. Some accounts, however, do not have attachments.

From the onset of an award, Departmental Administrators (DAs) should first familiarize themselves with those written in blue. Others listed are equally important, but take a more substantial role as the project develops.

  • Agency Authorization/COA
  • Amendments/Modifications/Revisions
  • Award Notice (Agreement)
  • Email or Written Correspondence
  • IPAS
  • Progress Reports
  • Small Business Plan
  • Sponsor Guidelines
  • Statements of Appointments/Terminations
  • Fund Authority
  • Budget and/or Revisions

2. FRS (Financial Records System)

FRS is the University’s official electronic accounting system. Each month, project expenditures should be reconciled with the monthly FBM 090 and 091 reports provided by Accounting Services.

3. Finan$eer

Whereas FRS is the “master” system for accounting at the University, Finan$eer acts as a day-to-day system that is used to supplement information on the monthly FBM 090 and 091 reports which do not always show current expenditures. Finance Central offers a training module for Finan$eer, however, actual use of the system requires approval.

Revision History

The policies in the Office of Sponsored Research Policies & Procedures Manual supersede any OSR policies, procedures and appendices previously included in the University Business Manual, a publication of UNC Chapel Hill’s Division of Finance.