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ASRSP Updates: November 16, 2023

ASRSP News & Updates

Federal Government Shutdown Averted: Due to Congress’s approval of another stopgap spending bill, the November 17th federal government shutdown has been averted. Funding will continue at current levels until Congress revisits the budget in the new year. As a reminder, the most important action for Northwestern’s research activity is to spend federal funds according to plan to ensure funds can be drawn timely.  

NIH FFR Reminder Notifications: Beginning this month, NIH will send monthly reminders to recipients whose Final Federal Financial Reports (FFRs) have been rejected. ASRSP staff will review any rejected FFRs against current expenditures as reported in the GM045 to determine if an updated FFR can be submitted. 

Best Practice for Review and Approval of Financial Reports: One core responsibility for ASRSP is to submit accurate and timely financial reports for sponsored projects awarded to Northwestern. Financial reports are prepared in accordance with expenses posted to the university’s financial system (NU Financials). Since the principal investigator (PI) is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the sponsored project including administration (reporting), a common best practice is to maintain evidence of a PI’s review and approval for financial reports submitted to sponsors. This practice is common among universities and is accepted by auditors as evidence of proper controls.    

Collecting a PI’s signature on a GM045 Report prior to the submission of a financial report is Northwestern’s procedure for documenting review and approval. PIs or their qualified designee are asked to review and sign reports or contact ASRSP immediately if discrepancies are identified.   

Criteria for Proper Invoices: An invoice is considered proper when it contains the following elements and additional information as specified in the award terms and conditions:

     (i) Name and address of the contractor

     (ii) Invoice date and invoice number 

     (iii) Contract number or other authorization for supplies delivered or services performed

     (iv) Description, quantity, unit of measure, unit price, and extended price of supplies delivered or services performed

     (v) Shipping and payment terms (e.g., shipment number and date of shipment, discount for prompt payment terms), if applicable

     (vi) Name and address of contractor official to whom payment is to be sent (must be the same as that in the contract or in a proper notice of assignment)

Additional Requirement for Subrecipient Invoices: Subrecipients shall submit invoices for payment as outlined in the terms and conditions of their subaward.

All subrecipients must include signed attestation language on each invoice regarding actual costs as recorded in their system of record and expended for actual work performed per the agreement.

Federally funded awards shall have a certification equivalent to that required under 2 CFR 200.415:

By signing this report, I certify to the best of my knowledge and belief that the report is true, complete, and accurate, and the expenditures, disbursements and cash receipts are for the purposes and objectives set forth in the terms and conditions of the Federal award. I am aware that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent information, or the omission of any material fact, may subject me to criminal, civil or administrative penalties for fraud, false statements, false claims or otherwise. (U.S. Code Title 18, Section 1001 and Title 31, Sections 3729-3730 and 3801-3812).


Winter Recess: Due to the University's Winter Recess, ASRSP must implement early deadlines for December financial reporting:
     Subcontract invoices should be sent to ASRSP by November 30, 2023
     Cost and payroll journal entries must be posted by December 7, 2023
     Final cash draw process for federal awards will begin on December 12, 2023

Term Time (New feature!)

Post award: Post award refers to all activity that takes place once the award is accepted by the institution. Specific post award functions include, but are not limited to, drawing or invoicing for funds, monitoring and reporting on expended funds, responding to audit requests, reconciling personnel effort, and processing closeout. At Northwestern, ASRSP is the office responsible for post award activities.