Effort reporting FAQs

Effective for the reporting period beginning June 16, 2019 (FY20), KU moved to a hybrid model for effort reporting. Ecrt now has two types of effort certification. The first is an "individual effort statement," which is how faculty/staff certify 100% of their time during a reporting period. The second is a "project statement," which is used to certify effort expended by graduate students and temporary (UPS/USS) staff. 

Effort will always add up to 100%. Effort reporting is not based on a standardized work week. An employee who only works 10 hours a week and an employee who works 60 hours a week will both have an effort report showing 100%. Remember: No matter how many hours the employee worked, they spent their work time doing something.

Yes, your effort will always add up to 100%. Remember: Effort reporting is not based on a standardized work week. No matter how many hours you work, you spent the entirety of that time working on something.

As a recipient of federal research funding, the University of Kansas is required to maintain a system by which the effort of faculty and staff is periodically certified as to the accuracy of the effort that is charged or assigned to the sponsored projects. In accordance with OMB’s 2 CFR 200 (OMB Circular A-21, Section J.10 prior to Dec. 16, 2014), the university is required to collect certification by an authorized party to confirm the work was performed and that salaries charged to the sponsored projects are reasonable in relation to the actual work performed by the individual. The university requires that this policy be applied consistently across all sponsored projects regardless of the funding source.

Effort reporting is not optional. If you receive sponsored funds, you must certify your effort.

If you received an effort report, at some point during the reporting period your salary — either in part or whole — was paid from sponsored funds, according to HR/Pay data. If this is incorrect, please contact your effort coordinator. The effort coordinator will work with HR and the Office of Research to correct payroll. If you did work on a sponsored project, please verify that the effort report accurately reflects the effort expended.

Reporting periods are the actual dates in which the employee worked. This is the period in which we are looking to confirm the employee’s effort.

The certification period is 60 days. The certification period will typically begin immediately after the pre-review period has ended. For example, if the pre-review period is June 19 –July 2, the certification window will begin July 3.

All employees (non-hourly students and faculty/staff) will certify twice a year. Effort reports will typically cover December through June and June through December.

Primary effort coordinators have five business days to review any assigned tasks.

A certifier has 30 days to recertify any effort report that has been reopened.

  • PIs: Must certify their own effort reports.
  • Faculty and staff: Must certify their own effort reports.
  • Non-hourly student and temporary UPS staff: Project statements must be certified by the PI of the project on which the non-hourly student(s) and/or temporary UPS employee(s) were appointed. Hourly students’ effort is certified by their timesheet, so effort certification is not necessary for them.

An individual effort statement will be considered certified when all rows are marked certified. This includes both non-sponsored and sponsored rows of funding. A report/statement that is partially certified will remain open until all rows are certified; this will have implications for all of the PIs associated with said report.

A project statement will be considered certified when all rows are marked certified. Therefore, it is crucial to work collaboratively with your effort coordinators and colleagues to certify all effort reports (individual effort statement and project statements) within the certification window to avoid any potential penalties for non-compliance.

Any change over 5% and $100 (per line) requires a retroactive funding adjustment (RFA) and/or recertification. In order to meet the threshold, the change in effort has to change a single line of funding by 5% and also be equal to at least $100 in actual payroll dollars. 

A change in effort under 5% and $100 is considered within the acceptable range of variance. 

If an employee has an update in effort that is equal to a 20% change but its effect on payroll dollars only equates to $30, this would be within the acceptable threshold of variance as it has not met both necessary benchmarks (5% and $100).

Ecrt calculates changes and keeps track of accumulated changes. For example, if you submit two RFAs for an employee, even if the RFAs individually would not take the employee over the threshold, ecrt will add them together to verify whether they meet the threshold requirement. If a report or project statement has already been certified, it will be reopened and will need to be recertified by the appropriate parties.

When reviewing your effort report and project statements, it is important that you make any necessary changes to ensure that it is an accurate representation of your actual effort, regardless of the threshold. Ecrt will automatically make calculations at the point of certification to determine if the change in computed effort to certified effort is over the threshold. If a change in effort is above the threshold, your report will be placed in a “certified, not processed” status. Your effort coordinator will be notified by ecrt that there is a task pending their review; once the effort coordinator confirms the changes in effort are in line with expectations, they will begin work on the RFA. At this stage, the effort certification will move to “certified, approved, RFA needed” status. The effort report will stay in this status until the RFA has been processed by HR/Pay.

Yes, you still need to certify your effort report. You received an effort report because, at one point during the certification period, you were funded — in part or in whole — from a sponsored project, but those payroll charges have been removed with a retroractive funding adjustment (RFA). You must certify that this change in payroll and the computed effort is an accurate representation of how you spent your time during the reporting period.

Your statement is certified when all rows, both sponsored and non-sponsored, have been certified and processed. If there were no changes to the certified effort over the threshold of 5% and $100, after the report is certified in ecrt, it will have a status of “certified, processed.” Once your statement is in this status, your effort report is considered complete and no further action is needed.

However, if there was a change in certified effort over the threshold (5% and $100), a task will be created for the effort coordinator and the effort report will be moved into the “certified, not processed” status. No further action is needed from you in the ecrt system at this time. After your effort coordinator has reviewed the task and confirmed that the change in effort is in line with expectations, they will move the effort report into the status of “certified, approved, RFA needed.” The report will stay in this status until the RFA has been processed in HR/Pay. When the RFA is processed, as long as it brings the effort report in line with certified effort (within the threshold), it will be moved automatically to “certified, processed” status and will be considered complete.

You can check to see if all your effort certification tasks are completed by navigating to your work list on your ecrt homepage under the “Statements Awaiting Certification” section:

  • If you see the statement, “There are no effort statement associated with you,” you have completed your tasks.
  • If you see the statement “There are no project statements associated with you,” you have completed your tasks.
  • If these statements are listed, you need to certify these statements to be compliant.
  1. Review your effort statement and compare your computed effort to the actual effort you expended toward all activities.
  2. If the effort report (or project statement) does not accurately reflect a reasonable estimate of the effort expended on a sponsored project (both paid from the project and cost shared during the reporting period), the certifier should update the certified effort in ecrt to the correct percentage and certify the report.
  3. If an effort report is certified with a change of effort over the threshold, it will automatically create a task for the primary effort coordinator. The primary effort coordinator will review the change in effort to ensure the change is in line with expectations. If the change in effort is confirmed, the effort coordinator will work with the appropriate parties to ensure that an RFA is processed.
  4. The effort report will remain in a “certified, approved, RFA needed” status until the RFA is processed in the HR/Pay system. Once the RFA is processed, the payroll rows will be sent to ecrt. The effort report will be moved to "certified, processed” status once the payroll rows are in the line with the certified effort.

No. Ecrt is reliant on payroll data directly from HR/Pay. Therefore, until the RFA has been processed by payroll, it will not show up in ecrt. If you, as an effort coordinator, already know that there is an RFA in workflow for an employee, we recommend that you update the certified effort during the pre-review period to reflect the correction being made with the RFA. This will allow the certifier to certify effort based on the correction already in process. Once the RFA is processed, the payroll data will be sent to ecrt and the effort report will be updated automatically. If the RFA is processed after the statement is certified and the payroll lines sync up (within the threshold) of the certified effort, no further action is needed by the certifier.

The most likely scenario in which an effort report will be reopened is if a retroactive funding adjustment (RFA) that has been processed in HR/Pay changes the computed effort by more than the threshold (5%, $100) after the statement has already been certified. Since the change to effort is over the threshold, the certifier(s) must recertify to verify that the change in effort is accurate and reasonable. Certifiers have 30 days from the day that a certification has been reopened to certify.

Pre-review lasts 28 days. Pre-review will typically begin 14 days after the effort reporting period. For example, if the reporting period ends June 4, pre-review will begin June 19.

To identify your primary effort coordinator, navigate to the upper-right corner of the certification page and click the triangle to the left of the statement owner to open the menu. This will display the primary effort coordinator's name in blue. You can email your primary effort coordinator directly from this screen by clicking on their name.

If you have any questions about effort reporting or ecrt, please contact your effort coordinator or the ecrt team at ecrt@ku.edu.

For those who have separated from KU, a one-time proxy can be set up. This proxy must have reasonable knowledge of the work performed during the period. The proxy will only be given access to certify for an employee who has left the university.

If the employee worked even one day in the reporting period, they spent that one day doing something. The effort report should accurately reflect what the employee did on that day. It is not necessary to make changes to the reporting period to reflect the actual days worked by the employee.