Effort Certification Quick Reference Sheet

Who Has to do Effort Reporting?

An effort certification report must be completed for all persons paid by or with a commitment of effort to a federally sponsored project.

What is the Effort Reporting Cycle?

  • STEP 1:  Proposal Budget-Effort is Committed to Sponsor
  • STEP 2:  Sponsored Project is Awarded and Salary is Charged
  • STEP 3:  Effort is Certified Three Times a Year

It is important to properly state your effort in the proposal budget since this is the first step in the effort reporting process.

Effort certification is not a confirmation of “how” you were paid but rather a confirmation that the salary charges are reasonable given the work performed and the commitment to the sponsor was met.

In an academic environment the functions of instruction, research, service and administration are often intermingled. Distributing salary to each function cannot be done precisely but reasonable estimates are expected.

The report will account for 100% of an employee’s actual effort for the given time period.  Certification must reasonably reflect all the efforts for all the activities that the individual is compensated for.

Effort is based on per cent of hours worked and not the number of hours worked.  There must be consistency between effort considered during the proposal and certification.

Why is Effort Reporting Needed?

The federal government, through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circular A-21 requires effort certification on federally sponsored projects.  As a recipient of federal funds, the University must assure that the assignment of time and associated salary costs charged to the project is reasonable in relationship to the work performed and that commitments to the projects have been met.  The effort certification is intended to meet this federal requirement.  Inadequate effort reporting or failure to comply with this requirement could jeopardize the university’s federal funding, lead to expenditure disallowances, or result in a penalty being imposed on the university.