Responsible Officer: Director

Responsible Unit: Financial Reporting and Cash Management

Effective date: March 31, 2009

Last revised on: July 21, 2011

Policy Statement

The University is mandated to comply in a timely manner with federal, state, and sponsor reporting regulations regarding programmatic, regulatory, fiscal, personnel and property stewardship requirements of sponsored research as established in OMB Circular A-110.

The Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) works in partnership with Principal Investigators (PIs) and Departmental Administrators (DAs) to provide accurate, timely reports to sponsors. To that end, OSR monitors reporting requirements and other deadlines to ensure compliance to the terms and conditions of the award and to provide a continuous exchange of accurate, current information among the University, the PI and the sponsoring agency.

PIs and DAs play a critical role in keeping the University in good standing with sponsors by maintaining day-to-day financial and technical information essential for accurate reporting.

Reporting compliance falls into three basic categories:

  1. Project Performance Reports
  2. Financial Status Reports
  3. Effort Reporting

In addition to these elements, final reporting on property stewardship and technology transfer/intellectual property may also be required.

The frequency of performance and financial reports is determined by the sponsor and is specified in the terms and conditions of the award or contract. It can require submission of:

  • Interim reports for smaller increments within a longer budget period (monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual reports).
  • Annual reports covering a 12-month period.
  • Final reports prepared at the end of project funding.
  • Effort reports prepared every two pay periods for SPA personnel and quarterly for EPA personnel.

Record retention requirements of OMB A-110 state that financial records, supporting documents and any other records pertinent to the award must be retained for three (3) years from the submission date of the report, regardless if it is an interim or a final report.

1. Project Performance Reports

These programmatic or technical reports are prepared by the PI and contain a comparison of actual accomplishments to established goals, the findings of the project, and any other pertinent information regarding the research for the period of time being reported.

In accordance with OMB A-110 performance reporting requirements, the following guidelines apply to the frequency of reporting:

  • If significant program changes occur that impact the performance of the award, a report must immediately be submitted to the funding agency
  • If the funding agency requires quarterly or semi-annual reports, the reports must be submitted to the agency within 30 days after the reporting period end-date.
  • If the funding agency requires an annual report, it must be submitted to the agency within 90 calendar days after the grant year end-date.
  • The final report is due to the agency within 90 calendar days after the date of award termination

2. Financial Status Reports

The sponsor’s financial reporting requirements and frequency will also be spelled out in the award terms and conditions. Typically, these reports include a summary of program expenditures during a stated period of time. For every financial report (interim, annual, and final), OSR relies on award data in FRS and information provided by the PI and DA. Therefore, the awarding department must work closely with OSR to provide expenditure data that meets the requirements of the sponsor.

In accordance with OMB A-110 financial reporting requirements, OSR prepares financial reports according to specific guidelines as determined by the awarding agency. The awarding agency will also prescribe whether reporting will be based on a cash or accrual basis as well as the frequency of reporting. Generally, the reports must be submitted to the agency within 30 days after the specified reporting period. Annual and final financial reports must be submitted within 90 calendar days from the award budget end date.

3. Effort Reporting

Effort reports are prepared by the department and submitted to OSR for approval and processing. University employees are mandated by federal regulations to report the official effort they expend on sponsored research activities in compliance with OMB Circular A-21. These reports are based on the total percentage of time applied to a given sponsored research project, independent of the notion of a finite work week (i.e., a 40-hour work week).

Reason for Policy

Timely compliance to reporting requirements sustains the University’s integrity in research, maintains continuity of sponsor support, prevents the threat of debarment to the University research community, and protects the University-Sponsor-Research Team relationship from being compromised.


Due to the individual nature of each award, exclusions and/or exceptions regarding reporting are determined by the award terms and conditions.
Procedures and Related Policies

OSR Research Tool Kits



Questions and concerns can be submitted online at Ask OSR or by using the OSR staff directory. Within RAMSeS, the “Speak to Someone” option assists in locating the staff member best suited to address project-specific issues.


Research Administration Glossary at Carolina

1. OMB Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations, Section C.50, Reports and Records, and Section C.53, Retention and Access Requirements for Records.

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.