Each month, MMRF’s accounting department sends Financial Accounting Statement (FAS) reports electronically to PIs and anyone else indicated on the MMRF internal Notice of Grant Award. After the account has been established and the internal NOGA has been created, the PI must notify accounting if they want any additional individuals to receive these reports. The FAS emails contain up to four attached reports: overview, summary, detailed report, and payroll. It is vital to know what each one of these tell you and look at them when they are sent.
The Overview report acts as a cover sheet. There are two sections: the first for projects without budgets and the second for projects with budgets. While all projects have a maximum amount of money the sponsor is providing; projects with budgets require additional administrative oversight due to the pre-specified distribution of funds to the expense categories. An example of this would be a federal grant which requires prior approval from the Program Officer to move more than 25% of a line item’s funds to another line.
The Projects without Budgets section will show summary information about the projects including each one’s beginning balance, total revenue, total expenses, and ending balance for the month. The rightmost column is for Action Alerts. If a project is in deficit it will be indicated here.
The Projects with Budgets section is similar but with a few notable differences. These project are generally cost reimbursable and the accounts are invoiced by MMRF accounting. Instead of revenue, expense, etc. it shows total expenses on a project versus what’s been budgeted. Since revenue on these accounts is earned as expenses are incurred, the most accurate way to look at them is by comparing the expenses to the budget, which is done in the first two columns. There are then two columns to show the dollar amount and the percent of the budget remaining. On the far right it has the same Action Alert column as the previous page; but here it will show if the project is over or close to the budget.
Each project with activity during the month gets its own Summary report; again, the page will look different depending on whether there is or is not a budget. The Without Budget projects will display general account information along the top of the report. In the body of the page are three columns: Current Period Actual, Account #, and Calendar Year Actual. The Current Period Actual will show any transactions for the report month (shown on top of the page). The Account # will show the transaction categories with revenue listed first and expense with its various subcategories below that. The Calendar Year Actual is the running total for each category since January first of the current year. At the bottom of the page is a monthly summary for the project. If this is a negative number, the project is in deficit and there should be plans to remedy this.
The With Budget summary reports are the same except for the Calendar Year Actual column. Instead, the columns listed are the same as on the overview report. In the summary at the bottom of the page, these accounts may frequently be “in deficit”. However, the pertinent thing to watch is whether expenses have exceeded the budget.
Just as the Summary report expands on the Overview, the Detail report will drill down even further to show each specific transaction within each revenue or expense category throughout the month. These reports will look the same whether the project does or does not have a budget. General information will be listed at the top of the page. The account column shows which MMRF expense category is involved in each transaction. Next to the code number is a description of the expense category the transaction falls under, matching the expense categories outlined in the Summary. Then, the source code and reference number. These two columns help accounting identify transactions by listing things such as the invoice or check request number. The period will be the month and year of each transaction (for the monthly reports this will always be the same month of the report). After that is the description column to provide a short description of the transaction. And the last column is for the amount and total for each transaction and category. Make sure to review these expenses every month to ensure they are correct. In some cases, corrections can only be made for 90 days after the transaction.
The final report is Payroll. MMRF employees who reported time and effort on the project will be shown here; HCMC employees reporting time on MMRF projects will not be included on payroll reports. One thing to note: a person is listed each time they submit a time and effort certification form so they may be listed twice (once for the first half and once for the second half of the month). The number of hours they’ve reported on each particular project along with their banked holiday, vacation, and sick hours are shown. On the right is their salary and fringe for that certification period and the total amount the project is paying for their time. At the bottom of the page are totals for all people who reported effort on the project in the month.
Reviewing each month’s financial reports is important to ensure that your project’s spending is on track. If an account does go into deficit, or you notice an error on the monthly report, talk with your grant administrator to learn the best ways to proceed. It could be something as straightforward as having accounting correct an error, sending the next invoice, or reviewing the spending on the project. Whatever it is, they will be able to help.
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