Managing Sponsored Projects
UM SPA, May 2008

Chapter 9: Project end
Section 9.2: Project Closure

These final steps in closing an account are extremely important for complete recovery of costs. Unless a request for an extension of time has been made to the sponsor, SPA assumes that the termination date marks the close of project activity. The checklist below outlines the items that must be addressed when closing a sponsored project (not all steps will apply to all projects). Details for each item follow the checklist.

Note: * indicates tasks specific to fixed-price agreements



Intellectual Property Materials and Equipment Personnel



Collect purchasing cards

Close related contracts

Terminate Material Transfer Agreements:
  • Review the agreement for specific information. If required in the Material Transfer Agreement, send a report to the material provider on the results of the project and return or dispose of the material as directed by the provider.

  • make sure all invoices have been submitted.

Collect purchasing cards

Verify project status

  • Contact SPA, SFR, and the sponsor to verify that the project is indeed closing.
  • Confirm end date.


Important: According to the policy on Removing Uncollectible Costs Charged to Sponsored Projects, any costs deemed uncollectible must be removed from the sponsored account and moved to a departmental nonsponsored account. For costs not moved by departments, SFR will move the costs to "default" nonsponsored accounts which have been set up within each CUFS area. Departments are responsible for removing charges that cannot be reimbursed or paid by the sponsor.

Review Delegation of Authority
Look at delegation of authority in file to see who needs to be told to stop spending. These individuals must be notified in writing and include an effective date on which they cannot use the account any longer.

Close open encumbrances

Close recurring charges

Recurring charges are charges that continue to hit on an ongoing basis without continued paperwork being processed. Example: gas cylinder refills, telephone, human subject advance payments.

Close standing orders

Make sure that all units that have an account number on file for charging remove that number, e.g., bookstore, Biomedical Graphics, computer facilities, libraries, Vet Med Diagnostic.

Reconcile account

Departments should start reviewing their accounts for charges processed against the project long before it ends.  By the time the project ends, it could be too late for timely posting of expenses to the account.  Some sponsors will not accept invoices that are a single day late.  No matter how big the invoice is, they will not pay.

Review Delegation of Authority

Resolve overdrafts
  • As they are preparing the final financial reports, SFR will alert the unit administrator if overdrafts exist on the account.

  • The PI is responsibile for initiating removal of overexpenditures. They must be removed before the final reports are submitted.

    Review financial reports
    SFR prepares and submits a final financial report. Since some sponsors require final financial reports within 90 days, all project charges should appear on the University accounting system by the termination date.

    Suspend account use
    Verify that each person who has been delegated authority to spend on the account stops spending.

    Transfer balances (for fixed-price accounts)

    Common problem: Money is left in the sponsored account. If work is done, close out the account so it will not be liable for later charges.

    F&A is taken on the unspent portion of the award.

    When the end date on a fixed-price project has arrived, and the project and deliverables are completed, the PI requests the remaining direct cost balance be transferred to a nonsponsored account (if the project and deliverables have not been completed, the PI must request a no-cost extension). To initiate the process, the PI writes a letter or e-mail including the following information:

    • A statement that the project is complete.

    • A statement that all deliverable and contract requirements have been met.

    • A statement that the sponsor is satisfied and that all revenue has been received.

    • A nonsponsored account number to which the balance should be transferred. The nonsponsored account must have an 1198 fund number and must carry a function code of the activity for which the balance will be used. The function does not have to be the same as for the original award.

    • If the balance to be transferred is "significant," the PI must complete a closeout request form and obtain the department head's signature. A "significant balance" is 25% for total payments received of $25,000 or more, or, for payments received of under $25,000, a balance of $2500 or greater.

    If the request is made by e-mail, the department head/designee must write a statement indicating approval. This documentation is required to assist the University in preserving the classification of these activities as "non-profit."

    The PI must forward this letter to the SPA grant administrator. The grant administrator will confirm that the contract end date has passed, the award was indeed fixed-price, and the University has been fully paid for work done.

    Note: F&A Waivers:
    On occasion, the Vice president for Research negotiates a reduction from the published Facilities and Administrative (F&A or indirect cost) rate in order to make a project proposal more competitive for funding. If such a reduction is negotiated and a balance remains in the fixed-price account, the F&A account will be reimbursed before the balance is released to the department. For example, if a waiver has been obtained to charge a research project a 25 percent F&A/indirect cost rate instead of the published 47 percent rate and there is a balance, the entire project will be charged the 4 percent rate. If the balance is insufficient to recover the full 47 percent, then the full balance is reclaimed, and nothing is returned to the department.

    Deans and department heads can use a financial report ( to see if there is a pattern by principal investigators or departments of over- or underestimating the cost or effort needed to complete a project. The report provides the current balances of an account where the price was fixed for the outcome proposed and the end date has been reached.

  • Close or Purge Account

    Departments do not delete sponsored orgs. SFR performs this function. After SFR determines that all revenue has been received and expenses incurred, they will mark the account for 'purge'. FSS purges the account from the system in the fall of each year.

    If department staff receive a budget worksheet during budget prep that lists sponsored accounts that they believe were already deleted, they should not do anything. The account will be closed out by SFR. If there are transactions between July 1st and the purge date, the account will not be purged until the following year.


    The PI is responsible for disclosing any patent and intellectual property developments to the Office for Technology Commercialization. OTC will then report inventions to the sponsors.

    The Reporting Inventions policy outlines responsibilities for invention reporting.


    Review Equipment Inventory

    Make sure all equipment assigned to the project is where it belongs.

    Dispose of University Equipment and Materials

    To dispose of equipment or materials, contact Inventory Services. Items are screened to determine their condition and possible reutilization. Unusable, or junk, items will be carried to the warehouse or sent to the University scrapyards. Functional items of value will be taken to the inventory warehouse for eventual use within the University.

    Transfer or sale of University equipment or materials outside the University can only be completed with the prior approval of Inventory Services and the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Operations, as well as the head of the department or college. Requests are made on a BA1393 form.

    Submit Inventory and Equipment Reports

    Inventory Services prepares and submits inventory and equipment reports.


    Close payroll encumbrances.

    Transfer Accrued Vacation

    Transfer Personnel

    Transfer to next project by processing redistribution documents.


      Prepare Technical Report

    PIs complete and submit technical reports. The sponsor usually indicates the format and deadline for these reports.

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