Effort Certification
Frequently Asked Questions
PI, Co-PI, Faculty & Research Personnel

What is my responsibility? How has it changed?
Your responsibility is to review salary/wage expenditures recorded on your sponsored projects (and related cost shares) and verify that the expense percentage closely correlates to the percentage of time the individual worked on the project. (Their percentage of pay should be within 5% of their percentage of time, if this is not the case a salary/wage transfer will be required.) The responsibility has not changed, only the method by which it is accomplished is now electronic instead of paper. The appropriate Department Head or Dean may certify in emergency cases when a PI is not available. Department Administrators may certify effort recorded on non-sponsored programs.

How do I know that I still have documents awaiting certification?
All work that needs your attention will be on the 'Awaiting Action' tab.

Can I certify my own effort?
Yes. Faculty or Staff may certify their own effort.

Can the department contact certify my sponsored programs?
No. This would not be in compliance with Federal cost principles contained in Circular A-21.

Who can certify sponsored programs?
Faculty members may certify their own effort. Principal Investigators, Co-PIs may certify any effort reflected by salary/wage expense recorded on their grant. Emergency proxy access is also granted to Department Heads and Deans if a PI or CO-PI cannot certify.

Can research personnel certify their own documents?
Yes, unless they are students.

Can students certify their own documents?
No. Undergraduate and Graduate students cannot certify their own.

Will I be able to see other effort on individuals I certify?
You can view another person's effort if there are common funding. For example, if your sponsored program pays them 50%, you can see the other 50%.

I received an email which stated I needed to certify my work. When I log in, there is nothing there. Is there an issue?
A faculty member or Co-PI may have signed off before you logged in. If this is not the case, please contact effcert@auburn.edu.

Am I able to see my programs across divisions?

I am funded across multiple departments. Should I certify my entire effort or only my department's part?
You can do either. Make sure to follow your department's policy.

Is this going to require data entry?
Only if there are incorrect percentages. The default (actual pay) shall be presented.

If I have a suggestion or issue with the system, who do I contact?

I do not want my Co-PI or faculty to sign off on my grants. What do I need to do?
You need to communicate with them and let them know that you will handle all effort certification for the project.

Why do my Department Head and Dean have access to my effort certifications?
This is for oversight purposes as well as to ensure certifications are not missed if/when a PI is unable to review the documentation.

Can I add personnel to the approval queue to assist with certification?
Only a PI or CoPI can certify effort on a sponsored project, the responsibility may not be delegated. So unless a CoPI is added to assist with the project, the duty of effort certification falls to the PI/CoPI currently assigned to the project.

Why do we now only have 40 days when before we were given 90 days?
With an electronic system, a shorter approval time is more attainable and a 40 day review period is comparable to that of peer institutions.

How can I certify effort within 40 days when the project FOP may not be created until after that 40 day timeframe?
The 40 days starts after the quarter ending when the expense is recorded onto the project FOP. So, delays in creation of the FOP won't be a factor.

The percentages shown are taken out to one-hundreths, how can I accurately estimate effort to this degree of accuracy?
The percentages are calculated based on the amount paid from the FOP line in question divided by the individual's total paid amount. You are only expected to estimate effort to within 5%. When actual effort varies by more than 5% of the percentage paid, a transfer will be required.

Can we view effort certifications during the quarter rather than waiting until quarter end?
Effort certification is performed quarterly. Salary/wage expense may be reviewed at anytime during the project via labor distribution reports which are run after each payroll.

I have individuals paid through a Professional Service Contract on my project, why are there not effort certification for these people?
The effort certification requirement only applies to individuals paid through the Auburn University payroll system. PSCs are subject to other costing guidelines in OMB Circular A-21.

Is there an iPhone or iPad application available?
Not currently, but may be developed at a later date.