​Grant Accounting

First of all, congratulations! You are likely looking at this webpage because you wrote a successful grant proposal and have received an award letter from the granting agency.

Our office is here to assist you, while helping to protect you and the university from financial burden and audit risk for the duration of your grant performance period. We keep current with federal, state, UW System, and campus policies your grant funds may be subject to. We love questions, so please don't hesitate to ask. Chances are we've had experience with your question in another grant or with another agency.

Please browse the topics below covered in greater detail.

 Account Set-up

After the grant or contract proposal has been approved for support and an award is granted, official notification is usually sent from the funding agency to the principal investigator (PI) and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). DO NOT sign agreements or contracts. Official acceptance of the award on behalf of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System can only be made by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Personnel, Budget, and Grants or her/his designee.  The fully executed agreement is then processed by the ORSP.
Once the agreement has been processed, the ORSP sends a congratulatory letter to you and forwards the award packet to the Grant Accountant in Accounting Services [General Ledger (GL)]. The award packet is reviewed, the information is entered into the Shared Financial System (SFS), a Project ID is created, and the awarded amount is reported to the Board of Regents.
When the Project ID is created and the award is reported to the Board of Regents, you will receive an automated email with the subject line, “NOTICE OF ACTION TO BE PRESENTED TO THE REGENTS.” This notice contains all of the account information related to your grant.
As indicated in your congratulatory letter from the ORSP, you are expected to contact the Grant Accountant to schedule an in-person budget conference. This is a requirement for all first-time grant awardees, for most federal awards, and for awards with unusual or very specific terms. In all other cases, a budget conference is highly recommended and in some instances may be conducted over the telephone.
During the budget conference, we will discuss general fiscal management of grant funds, how to charge particular expenses to your Project ID, and any specific financial or reporting terms included in the award agreement or contract.  We will also go over your responsibilities as PI as well as which responsibilities are assumed by the Grant Accountant.

 PI and Administration Responsibilities

   ● Primary ○ Secondary

Pre-Award Activities



Office of Research and

Sponsored Programs

Gift and Grant






Find funding


Prepare proposal

Provide WISPER


Provide technical assistance in proposal preparation

Approve financial components of proposal including

budget and match

Authorized Approver

of Proposals

Submit proposal to


Negotiate award


Sub-award risk


Technical preparation and execution of subawards and


Processing contracts

  • Post-Award Activities

    Principal Investigator

    Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

    Gift and Grant Accounting

    Set-up award in


    Assure programmatic regulatory compliance (IRB,

    IACUC, etc.)

    Assure financial regulatory

    compliance (UG, etc.)

    Prepare programmatic / scientific progress reports

    Provide WISER


    Monitor expenses,


    Initiate expense transfers (award clean-up, etc.)

    Process expense


    Submission of

    financial status reports and invoices

    Requests for No Cost


    Budget change


    Obtaining sponsor

    approval for changes

    Final programmatic report submission

    Submit final financial reporting / invoice

    and close-out

    Close award

  • ● Primary ○ Secondary 

 Grant Fiscal Management

Grant expenses must meet four major cost principles. Expenses must be:
Reasonable – necessary for project performance and prudent in cost
Allocable – incurred solely for the purpose of the sponsored project
Allowable – meet federal cost principles, adhere to agency-specific terms and conditions, and follow institutional policies and guidelines
Consistent – treated in the same manner under like circumstances
Principal Investigators are responsible for all expenditures in their grant account(s) and are encouraged to review WISDM regularly. Any corrections should be immediately sent to the Grant Accountant (requests should be made within 90 days of when the expense posted), along with where to transfer the charge to and an explanation or justification for the cost transfer.
The following fields are needed to make a non-salary expense transfer:
Monetary Amt
Jrnl Line Ref
AGENT FEE 89006 0725
The following fields are needed to make a salary expense transfer (direct retro):
Monetary Amt
Empl ID
Empl Rec Nbr
Pay Run ID

 Cost Share/Matching Funds

Voluntary Cost Share is discouraged.

Please remember that all match contributions must:

  • Be verifiable in the university's records
  • Be used only once and not used to meet match commitments on multiple projects
  • Be necessary and reasonable
  • Be indicated in the approved budget
  • Conform to provisions of OMB Circulars 
  • Not be from a federal source unless specifically authorized
  • Be allocable as a cost to the project and contributed during the award budget period
  • Not duplicate the types of costs included in F&A or overhead

Once a quantifiable match is offered by the institution and agreed upon by the sponsor, the university must:

  • Monitor and track the commitment
  • Fulfill the commitment
  • Document the fulfillment of the commitment
  • Report the fulfillment of the commitment to the sponsor, if required
  • Maintain documentation
  • Provide all documents to auditors if requested

Please also keep in mind:

  • In-kind contributions of salary and fringe should always be a PI's first choice when offering match in a proposal
  • When match is not required in the proposal, it is a good idea to offer resources as "available as needed for the performance of the sponsored project at no direct cost to the project," rather than place a specific quantified amount on the resources
  • In most cases, supplies are treated as an F&A expense and should not be offered as match 


 UW - Madison Policy on Cost Sharing

UW - Madison Guidelines for Cost Sharing

Guidelines for Cost Sharing: Key Notes for PIs

Cost Sharing Definitions

Preferred Types of Cost Sharing

 Time and Effort

Effort on sponsored programs must be reported and certified in order to verify salaries charged to grants and contracts are reasonable in relation to the work performed. At UWSP, effort is certified three times per year, on a semester basis (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Below are the dates included in each effort certification period:
September 1-January 15 (Fall)
January 16-May 31 (Spring)
June 1-August 31 (Summer)
Please review payroll regularly in WISER to ensure accuracy and request any transfers before the end of the certification period.
Certifications are generated by the Accounting Services (General Ledger) department after the close of each certification period and sent to the Principal Investigator. The certification includes the percent of effort on each sponsored program as well as any other institutional activities. The PI should review the percent effort listed for the sponsored program to ensure it is accurate. Please note - you are only certifying the effort on the sponsored project; the other institutional activities are for reference only.
If the effort listed for the sponsored project is accurate, the certification form must be signed and returned to the Accounting Services (General Ledger) office by the date indicated.
Example of an employee with all effort contributed to one sponsored project:
Project ID:           AAA1111
Grant Title:         Amazing Research
Key: E = Effort on this sponsored project, O = Other Institutional activities:




Total Amount For Payroll
% Effort
Smith, Linda
Example of an employee with effort split between a sponsored project and other institutional activities:
Project ID:           AAA1111
Grant Title:         Amazing Research
Key: E = Effort on this sponsored project, O = Other Institutional activities:




Total Amount For Payroll
% Effort
Smith, Linda
Smith, Linda

 No-Cost Extension

If the project period for your grant is drawing to a close, and you need more time to meet the objectives or deliverables, you may request a no-cost extension from the granting agency. Most agencies allow at least one request.

Some agencies will accept a request by email for a no-cost extension. Others may require an official letter or agency-specific form. Despite the format, the request should be made at least six weeks before the grant end date; however, some agencies may require up to 90 days.  The request should contain the following:

  • Project title

  • Principal Investigator (PI) name

  • Sponsor/Agency reference number

  • UWSP Project ID

  • Current award period

  • New end date requested

  • Summary of progress to date

  • Reason(s) an extension is needed (e.g., additional testing is required to validate the findings, delays in hiring personnel, delays in procuring necessary equipment or supplies, etc.)

Please note a no-cost extension should never be made simply to spend down unobligated funds.

Also note any charges incurred after the initial end date of the project are the responsibility of the PI and/or the PI’s department should the request for extension not be approved by the agency.

Please forward written approval of the extension to both the Grant Accountant and the ORSP when received.

 Reporting to Agency

Most awards require technical and/or financial reporting. The Principal Investigator is responsible for completion of all technical/programmatic/progress reporting; the Grant Accountant is responsible for all financial reporting. These reports are often sent separately by the responsible individuals; however, some agencies require the technical and financial reporting to be tied together. If this is the case, the PI will need to work closely with the Grant Accountant on report submission.

Please review the terms and conditions of your award for submission deadlines. Failure to submit on time could cause the agency to withhold funds or jeopardize future awards for the university.

To see your complete grant packet, including the award letter and terms and conditions, follow the path below in WISER:

Main Menu>Projects>My Projects>Select Project ID>Associated Docs tab>Open pertinent .pdf 

 Grant Close-out

As the end of the grant budget period approaches, the Grant Accountant will communicate with the PI more frequently regarding the budget balance. It is often helpful for the PI to meet with the Grant Accountant within the last 4-6 weeks of the grant to make final projections.

Once the project is complete and no additional expenses are expected, the Grant Accountant will submit the final financial report, and the PI will submit the final technical report. These reports are typically due within 90 days of the grant end date; however, please refer to the terms and conditions of your award for specific reporting requirements.

When the final payment is received and the grant account is at a zero balance, the Project ID will be closed. The file will be archived for the required retention period and is auditable by the agency for the duration of this period.

 Fringe Benefit Rates

 Indirect Cost Rates

(Effective FY20 Until Amended)

On Campus          34.00%

Off Campus          13.00%

Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

 WISER/Project Lite

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