Advance Account (formerly “at-risk”) Authorization Procedures

Advance accounts provide Principal Investigators with an opportunity to initiate sponsored projects and begin incurring associated expenses prior to institutional acceptance of an award by the Office for Pre-Award and Compliance Services (PACS) up to a maximum of 90 calendar days prior to award start date. Note, however, that any expenditures that precede the award are solely at the financial risk of the unit requesting these expenditures (i.e., PI/PD's school or department).

The University administration, through the Division for Research, will consider requests for Advance (“at-risk”) Accounts on a case-by-case basis to weigh the need for the account and the risks associated with incurring charges to that account. There are risks inherent with establishing Advance Accounts because problems may arise that could prevent the costs from being reimbursed by the anticipated grant or contract. Alternatively, failing to establish such accounts may delay the start of the contract or interfere with its successful completion.

Establishing an Advance Account aids in the correct assignment of costs for a given grant or contract. In requesting and accepting an Advance Account, the requester (PI, department or school) assumes the financial risk in the event the award is not made, not accepted, or if the terms of the award once made deem certain expenditures to be unallowable. Advance Accounts should be used prudently. The only costs that should be charged to the account are those incurred:

  • Within the project period
  • In accordance with applicable regulations, e.g. OMB Uniform Guidance 2 CFR §200, sponsor specific regulations, University policy; and,
  • have been included in the approved budget

The department must provide a guarantee account number to cover expenses in the event a project is not funded as anticipated. The guarantee account(s) being used must be a departmental account or a discretionary account.

Any supporting documentation showing the Awardee’s intent to fund the project at UAlbany should be collected and submitted to PACS for first review and approval. Emails, letters of intent, budget requests, etc., are all acceptable forms of supporting documentation.

If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the department/investigator must obtain written prior sponsor approval before incurring the cost. Sponsor prior approval is also required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new or competing continuation award (grantor policy and individual grant restrictions apply).

Advance Accounts will not be opened for non-governmental contracts. Note also, Advance Account funds may not be used for outgoing subcontracts/subawards to other institutions.

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator and his/her designee(s), if applicable, to keep expenditures to essentials during this period in which the University is at risk.

Principal Investigator must complete a Request for Advance Account Form and submit, with required signatures and submit to his/her PACS Research Administrator (RA). Full procedures are found here.