The effort certification process is a method for confirming that charges made to sponsored awards are reasonable in relation to the work performed. Principal Investigators must review and certify, if correct, and, if necessary, make appropriate changes to the effort reports. Effort reports must be certified within 31 days of receipt.
Effort Certification is an internal University process designed to meet regulatory requirements for maintaining records that accurately reflect the work (effort) performed on federally sponsored agreements. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget, as part of 2 CFR 200.430 (i), provides standards for documentation of personnel expenses to federally sponsored research projects. Effort directly related to organized research and all other activities for which an individual is compensated must be identified in the University’s certification process (2 CFR 200.430 (i) (1) (iv)).
Federal agencies are accountable to Congress and to the public for the use of public funds. Effort Certification Reports provide documentation that demonstrates accountability for the use of funds.
The purpose of this training manual is to provide a step-by step guide to using the Banner electronic effort certification process.
Everyone will be assigned to one or more of the following roles for this process:
Certifier: Certifies the effort reports. Faculty, Professional and Classified staff working on a federally funded or federal flow through grant/contract would certify their own effort.
Alternate Certifier: Someone other than the employee that is allowed to certify the employee’s effort. Currently, the principal investigator has the ability to certify the effort of each person working on their grant. The principal investigator is responsible for alternately certifying students, grad-students, and AmeriCorps members.
Post-reviewer: Has the ability to review the certified effort reports and can request changes if the certified effort is not correct. Currently, the principal investigator is assigned as the post-reviewer and is a mandatory action. The effort report will not be locked until the post-review has been completed.
- Follow this link to your Employee Dashboard- Employee Dashboard (wwu.edu).
- You can also access this by going to Web4U/Employees/Employee Dashboard
Click on Effort Certification under My Activities
The Certify My Effort page will be displayed. This is the Effort Certification homepage.
3. Select the report period that you wish to certify by double-clicking the correct reporting period line (the status will be Awaiting Certification and the Unlocked/Locked column will be Unlocked).
Note: If you are a PI who is certifying or reviewing your employee records, Certify My Effort will only show a record if you personally had payroll that was funded by a Federal or Federal Flow Through grant.
The Effort Report consists of two sections: Sponsored and Non-Sponsored activity.
- Sponsored – For the purposes of the Effort Certification process, sponsored activity is activity supported by federal funding.
- Non-sponsored – For the purposes of the Effort Certification process, non-sponsored activity is activity supported by non-federal funding.
This page shows the summary of your effort for the specific effort reporting period. The percentage of effort for each funding string is what you are certifying. If grant funding was only for a portion of the quarter, the total percent effort may be distorted. To get a better picture of the effort for each pay period, go to the pay period summary tab.
The Effort Report Overview section (to the right of the screen) provides a summary of the effort reporting details and process.
- Report Status:
- Effort period abbreviation
- QTR1XXXX: First quarter of the calendar year
- QTR2XXXX: Second quarter of the calendar year
- QTR3XXXX: Third quarter of the calendar year
- QTR4XXXX: Fourth quarter of the calendar year
- Time range the quarter includes
- QTR1: January – March
- QTR 2: April – June
- QTR 3: July – September
- QTR 4: October – December
- Time period the effort reports are available
- Timeframe is from date reports are generated to 74 days after PI email notification. Effort reports should be completed within this timeframe.
- Effort period abbreviation
- Important Dates:
- Restates the time period the effort reports are available
- Begin Pre-Review – WWU does not use
- Certification Period – When the effort reports are available
- Post Review End – Date Effort reports are to be fully completed
- Restates the time period the effort reports are available
- Pay Dates:
- Summary of all the pay period within the quarter
- Funding Chart:
- Provides a pictorial view of the effort for that particular period in the form of a funding Chart. The chart displays your time and effort distribution for the entire quarter. This will match the percent effort on the effort report which may be distorted if effort is not evenly distributed throughout the whole quarter.
To view specific payroll activity, click on the Pay Period Summary tab.
- Organization, Grant, and Fund columns are provided for all funding sources.
- Payroll Percent is the percentage of each individual payroll allocation. The payroll percentage will always total 100% for each Semi-monthly payroll period.
- Effort Period Percent is the percentage of effort for each particular payroll period allotted for the entire certification period. The sum total of the Effort Period Percentages for all payroll periods in the summary will always equal to 100%.
Click the Comments tab to view comments or add any comments that you find necessary.
To add a Comment:
- Type your comment.
- Then click Add Comment button.
NOTE: Your comment will be saved and available to be viewed by anyone on the Routing Queue. Once comments are added they cannot be updated or deleted. They will be displayed in a reverse chronological order, with the most recent appearing first on the list.
To view the progress and details of the effort certification process, Click on the Routing Queue tab.
The Routing queue shows the status of each stage of the Effort Certification process. The queue will update automatically after each person completes his or her task. Principal Investigators will be displayed as both the Alternate Certifier and Post-Reviewer.
- If you want to send an e-mail to someone in the routing queue, simply click on E-mail and an email window will open up for you to send an email to that person.
If you have been assigned with certain roles such as alternate certifier or post-reviewer, you have the capability of assigning someone to act as your proxy. By doing this, you are assigning someone to have the same capabilities as you do.
- The person that you assign needs to have suitable means of verification of those who they are certifying for.
- Select Proxy Super User in the upper right corner.
- In the Proxy or Superuser page, select the Add a new proxy button
- Click in the “Select Employee to add as Proxy” window and either scroll to find or start typing the name of the person you would like to add.
- Once you have the person you want to assign as proxy selected, hit enter or select name.
- This person now will have your capabilities of certifying and/or post-reviewing the effort reports for your employees.
**Your proxy will also need to be given an Effort Certification Administrator Webtailor role. Please contact your RSP post-award person or send an email to Effort.Certification@wwu.edu to make this request.
After you have reviewed all the tabs in the Effort Certification module and find the allocation of effort to be acceptable, you are ready to certify your effort for the period.
- If you agree with the percentages of effort indicated, click the Certify button at the bottom of the effort report.
- The Certify statement window opens, which will allow you to complete your effort certification.
- If you don’t agree with the percentages of effort, see page 13 for Requesting Changes.
- Click I Agree to finalize your effort certification.
Once the report is certified, the Certify button will disappear and the status of the report will change to Certified – Unlocked. It will remain in this status until the post-reviewer has reviewed the effort report.
- To close out of the Effort Certification module, click on the X next to the print button at the top right corner of the screen.
For Professional and Classified Employees, there are no other actions needed.
For Principal Investigators and Program Managers, those who have the delegation to also be the post-reviewer: when certifying your own effort you can also select the Review button immediately after you are done certifying. This will lock your effort report completing the process.
Also when certifying for undergrad, grad students, and AmeriCorps members, you will also have to select the Review button immediately after certifying.
If you don’t agree with the percent of effort stated on the effort report:
- Select the Request Changes button.
- This will open an email window for you to request your changes. Send email to Effort.Certification@wwu.edu or to your appropriate post-award person, giving details of the changes that need to be made.
- If your computer is not currently setup to use Outlook, just send an email from your personal email provider.
- Even if the email function does not work with your computer, please still select the Request Changes button since this will change the status of the report to Awaiting Certification – Changes Submitted.
3. When the changes have been made, you will receive another email notification stating that you can now certify the corrected effort
If, after clicking the Request Changes button, you decide that changes are not needed, you can select the Clear Changes button, confirm that you want to cancel your changes and then you will have access to Certify your effort.
- If an email was sent to request the change, please contact your RSP post-award person or send an email to Effort.Certification@wwu.edu stating that the request was an error.
Searching for Effort Reports in Your Queue
To access reports to be post reviewed or to participate as the Alternate Certifier:
- Click on the Review or Certify Reports tab. The Advanced Search menu should pop up. If not, with the Review or Certify Report tab selected, click on the Advanced Search option in the upper right corner.
- In the Advanced Search window, select the following two attributes by putting your cursor within each attribute box and either type or scroll through options:
- Chart of Account Code – Select Code 1 (only option)
- Effort Period Code – Select the current Effort Period that needs certification. It is best to start typing the abbreviated quarter name and then select.
3. After the 2 attributes are selected, click on the Go button.
Alternately Certifying or Reviewing an Effort Report
The advanced search will bring up a complete list of reports for which you can Post-review or serve as the Alternate Certifier.
- Double-click on the person’s name that you wish to view or select a line and click on the Open button.
- Follow the steps starting on page 11 - Certifying Your Effort to either Certify or Review an employee’s effort.
- For graduate students, undergrad students, or AmeriCorps employees, the Principal Investigator or Program Manager with both certify and review the effort report for the employee.
- For professional and classified employees, the Principal Investigator or Program Manager should only be reviewing the employee’s effort report.
- If the status of the effort report is still Awaiting Certification, please contact the employee to certify their effort so that you can complete the post-review.
- Complete the above for each employee on the list.
- Select Proxy Super User in the upper right corner.
- In the Act as a Proxy for section, select the person you will be acting as a proxy for.
- Then select the Navigate to Effort Certification application button at the bottom right corner.
- This will bring you back to the effort certification home page. Follow the steps starting on page 15 to search for the effort reports assigned to the person you are acting as a proxy for.
Once an effort report is in the status of Completed – Locked, all action buttons are removed and changes cannot be done. If changes are needed at this point, either contact your RSP post-award person or submit an email to Effort.Certification@wwu.edu. You may need to supply a justification for the requested changes sinceunlocking it at this point requires documentation.
Someone other than the employee that is allowed to certify the employee’s effort. Currently, the principal investigator has the ability to certify the effort of each person working on his or her grant.
The period that the effort certification process is available for Certifiers, Alternate Certifiers, and Post-reviewers.
The person that certifies the effort report. Professional and Classified staff working on a federally funded grant will certify their own effort. However, the principal investigator, as the alternate-certifier, can certify effort reports for staff working on their grant.
is the percentage of effort, for each particular payroll period, allotted to the certification period. The sum total of the Effort Period Percentages, for all payroll period in the summary, will always equal 100%.
The date the labor certifications are due.
For the purposes of the Effort Certification process, non-sponsored activity is activity supported by non-federal funding.
The percentage of each individual payroll charged to the sponsored and/or non-sponsored activity. The payroll percentage will always total 100% within the payroll period.
A Banner reference for the Report Period (i.e. QTR12022 – Quarter 1 for calendar year 2022)
The date that the effort certification process must be completed.
A person that has the ability to review the certified effort reports. This role is currently assigned to the principal investigator.
For the purposes of the Effort Certification process, sponsored activity is activity supported by federal funding.
The date that the Certification period begins.
Provides information on the current stage that the effort certification process is in. Status codes are: Awaiting Certification, Certified, and Completed.
Effort is defined as the proportion of time spent on any University‐compensated activity and is expressed as a percentage of the total University activity for an individual. Total effort for an employee must equal 100% and includes all University compensated activities—both on sponsored programs and non‐sponsored. It does not represent hours worked, but rather a percentage of compensated time.
Effort Certification Reporting is an attestation that salaries and wages charged to sponsored agreements (including cost sharing) and other university activity categories are reasonable in relation to the effort expended.
Certifications are necessary whenever a researcher is performing work on a federally funded externally‐sponsored activity. This also includes work compensated by cost share funding.
The employee or a responsible official with direct knowledge of the work performed can certify. This includes the PI or Co‐PI. A designee who has sufficient knowledge of the research activities may certify an Effort Report in the place of a PI or a Co‐PI if those individuals are not able to certify.
To have sufficient knowledge of the research activities, absent direct supervision, the certifier must have written documentation sufficient to support a reasonable estimate of effort by an employee. Oral verification is NOT support for having sufficient knowledge. Documentation must be retained for audit purposes to support the certification, consistent with the University’s record retention requirements. Examples of suitable means of verification include:
- Calendar – detailed
- Meetings – agenda, notes, minutes, attendees list
- Lab books/notes
- Time and attendance sheets/Sign‐in sheets
- Travel reports
- Award work products – presentations, reports or analyses completed,
- surveys/interviews conducted, events held, log of services performed, published
- Other written documentation – memos, e‐mail
Western Washington uses a quarterly after-the fact method. After the last month of the quarter has closed and budget reports are reviewed, effort reports are created, and emails are sent out stating that the reports are ready. This will be around the 10th business day of the month after the end of the quarter. For example, for Quarter 1 (January through March), effort reports will be ready for certification around the 10th business day of April.
Effort is certified via an electronic effort certification process in Banner through the Employee Dashboard. Emails are sent out with the link to the Employee Dashboard along with instructions on how to access the effort reports. Effort reports are considered delinquent after 31 days of receiving the first email notification and if not completed within 74 days, associated wages must be removed from the grant.
The University has an expectation of 100% compliance with the Effort Certification process. In the event a report is not completed within 31 days of the first email notification, RSP will follow up according to the chain below:
- 1st late notice – email to PI
- 2nd late notice – email to PI with cc to Dean of College and Vice-Provost for Research
- 3rd late notice – Final email to PI with cc to Dean of College and Vice-Provost with subject line that wages will be removed
If an employee’s salary distribution does not reasonably reflect their actual effort on the Effort Certification Report, the certifier should select “request changes” on the effort certification report. This will change the status of the effort report to “changes requested” and open an email window. Send the email listing the changes needed to either your post-award contact or to Effort.Certification@wwu.edu. Concurrently, the certifier should work with their departmental administrator to modify the employee’s salary distribution by submitting a new Personal Action form to reflect the correct level of effort going forward. Once payroll records are corrected, your effort report will be refreshed and you will be contacted that the effort report is again ready for certification.
Except in documented extenuating circumstances, once an effort report is certified, no further changes should be made to an employee’s salary distribution. The only changes that would be allowed and not considered extenuating circumstances are changes that do not affect the employee’s level of effort on a sponsored project. Examples of this include:
- A salary transfer between a sponsor fund and a related cost share fund
- A salary transfer between two non‐grant funds
The percent of effort is tied to your payroll record and is originally setup in Banner by what is stated on your Personnel Action Form or Student Employment Form.
Effort reporting is done using an “after-the-fact” method and your Personnel Action Form is an estimation of the allocation that was predicted for each project. If, after-the-fact, it is determined that you worked more or less on the grant than what was stated on your PA, then a change needs to be requested. You are allowed ± 5% variation.
A decision was made to have the Principal Investigator post-review all effort reports that are tied to their federally funded projects since there are some employees who are funded by multiple grants. The post-review allows for multiple PIs to review one employee’s effort report. Due to this setup, PIs need to review all effort reports even if they are the person certifying the effort.