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Sponsored Funds | Effort Reports

Effort Reporting Information and Procedures:

Effort Reporting Project Newsletter April/May 2012


OMB Circular A-21 requires educational institutions to document the distribution of salaries and wages paid to employees performing services on federal, federal flow-through and cost-sharing awards.

The Research Foundation of SUNY has chosen the "after-the-fact activity records" method and are generated three times per year for the spring, summer and fall semesters.  This is a system of personnel activity reports that reflect an after-the-fact reporting of the distribution, by percentage, of an employee's total salary received as reportable compensation from the institution.  The report must be signed by the employee, principal investigator, or other responsible official to confirm that it represents a reasonable estimate of the compensated work performed by the employee during the period.

OMB Circular A-21 requires reporting of distribution of cost for professional staff each academic term. This report will

  • represent an average distribution of the percentage of salary paid to an employee during the reporting period (called the effort period) for compensated activity that they are obligated to perform, which includes direct salary, cost share, IFR, or other institutional activities. 
  • show to what Project/Task/Award(s) the salary was distributed as well as the employee's assignment number and time period covered on that assignment.

Reading and Understanding the Printed Report

Project PI - The name of the Principal Investigator of the Project to which the majority of the employee's salary or wage was distributed.

Employee #/Name - The Employee # is an Oracle system generated number in the employee's record. The Employee name is the name of the employee tied to the "Certification of Salary Distribution" report.

Project Organization - The campus department of the Principal Investigator.

HR Organization - The department within the University that was entered into the employee's people record for that particular assignment.

Assn# - A person's assignment identifies his or her role and payroll at the University.

Begin Date - The start date of the salary distribution for a particular account within the effort reporting period.

End Date - The end date of the salary distribution for a particular account within the effort reporting period.

Source - This indicates the source of a particular distribution to an account. The item will display as one of the following: Pay (regular RF payroll), SUNY (SUNY IFR/Cost Sharing), or Adj (an adjustment that was processed on the particular assignment).

Project Number - The Oracle number assigned to the Project to which that salary was charged for the employee.

Project Name - An abbreviated name entered into Oracle to identify the Project.

Task Number - The Oracle number assigned to the Task to which that salary was charged for the employee.

Task Name - The name entered into Oracle to identify the specified Task.

Task Manager - The name of the Principal Investigator assigned to a particular Task.

Award Number - The Oracle number assigned to the Award to which that salary was charged for the employee.

Award Name - The title of the research

Expenditure Type - The expenditure category that was charged; e.g., SWG Grad Exempt for Salary & Wages for an Exempt Graduate Student.

Funding Source - The sponsor on the Award.

Distribution of Salary% - The distribution percentage that is calculated by totaling the salaries included in the employee's "Certification of Salary Distribution" reports for the period covered and deriving the percent of the total that each item represents

Effort Reporting Training

A self-paced course for effort reporting is available through the Research Foundation Learning Center titled “Effort Reporting for Principal Investigators.”  This course is strongly recommended for all PI’s and staff who are responsible for certifying to effort reports.

The course objectives are to:

  1. Explain what effort reporting is and why it is important
  2. Identify appropriate certification documentation and effort calculations
  3. Comply with certification documentation timelines
  4. Understand your role and responsibilities (or those of a designee) when certifying effort reports

Please click the link below for instructions on taking this course. 

Instructions for Accessing the RF Learning Center

If you have questions on the course content, contact us at

For technical assistance contact the Research Foundation Central Office at Customer Services or the RF Training Unit.