PI and/or Fund Manager role changes to Effort Reports in the ECERT (Electronic Certification of Effort and Reporting Tool) system are processed in the CCM (Cost Center Management) system in FinancialLink/Tools by using the COA (Chart of Account) Override Maintenance.
COA Overrides, at the Index level, processed by departments are updated to ECERT on a monthly basis. To ensure that PI and/or Fund Manager changes are loaded in the ECERT system, process no later than each month's Ledger Cutoff Date.
See a list of ledger cutoff dates at - http://blink.ucsd.edu/sponsor/BFS/divisions/general-accounting/ledger-dates.html
Q. How do I get access to ECERT?
A. Departmental Security Administrators (DSA) assign access to the department business manager and anyone whom the business manager designates as preparer, (the person[s] who reviews reports before certifying them). Certifiers automatically have access.
Q. I'm having problems logging in. What should I do?
A.If you already have a Single Sign-On (SSO) account, contact the ACT Help Desk, (858) 534-1853. If you need a SSO account, contact your DSA or self-register.
Reviewing effort reports
Q. When do effort reports become available?
A. ECERT generates reports every quarter. For more information, see the effort reports schedule.
Q. Can I share a saved ECERT search with another user?
A. Yes. If you create a search, you are the owner of that search. If you make changes to the search, others granted access to the search will automatically see these changes. If you decide to make changes to a search shared with you, you will generate a private copy and will no longer be associated with the original shared search. Likewise, if you delete a search shared with you, other copies of the search will not be modified or deleted.
Q. When do reports require a comment?
A. Reports require a comment for all changes. For more specific information, see Editing an Effort Report, step 6.
Q. What does the "Certified/ Adjustment Required" status mean?
A. The Certified/ Adjustment Required designation indicates that a modification has been made to the Adjusted Payroll % column and the effort report has been certified. The effort report will have a status of Certified/ Adjustment Required which means a PET must match the Original Payroll distribution to the Adjusted Payroll %.
If the data matches the certification after it's processed, the PET status automatically changes to Certified, and no further action is necessary. If the data DOES NOT match the certification, the status changes to Open/ Reissued and notifies the PI to re-certify.
Q. Why do I get an error message when I subscribe to a PI?
A. This occurs if the PI is new to the university, is adjunct faculty, or has been away on sabbatical. In order for you to subscribe to their "MyProjects" list, they need to log in once to the ECERT system with their Single Sign-On ID. (It may ask them to register with the last 5 digits of the SSN, employee ID number, and birth date.) Once they have done this, ECERT will be able identify them.
Q. Is there a documented "reasonableness" standard?
A. UC-wide policy allows for a +/-5% tolerance threshold of reasonability for certification to be valid and authentic.
Q. Why is my PI seeing fewer reports than I do? Why does the status report show more Open reports than I can see?
A. If what you see on your screen differs from someone else's screen, it's likely that your searches do not filter the same way. Verify that your search filters on the correct status and that you have selected the relevant reporting period(s).
Q. How can my department stay in compliance?
A. Read recommendations for implementation, review, and compliance with effort reporting in the ECERT Best practices section.
Q. Is it necessary for departments to retain printed copies of effort reports for faculty?
A. Because ECERT tracks all certifications electronically and PIs can access the information any time, there is no need to print the reports. ECERT serves as the official database of record. You can, however, print reports by clicking the Print Report button.
Certifying effort reports
Q. Who certifies efforts? What if an employee gets paid on grants outside of my organization?
A. Certifiers must have first-hand knowledge of the effort expended. Normally, an employee or a supervisor can certify his/ her own effort. The PI ultimately takes responsibility for all effort certification. Non-academics can't certify for academics.
Occasionally, multiple certifications are required if the employee works on multiple projects, has multiple supervisors, and doesn't know which projects their effort benefits. ECERT supports multiple certifications with a check box at the bottom of the effort report. When you activate this function, individual line certification becomes available.
Q. What happens if I don't certify my effort report?
A. If you do not certify your effort report, you will not be in compliance with OMB Circular A-21. The university is then at risk of losing existing and future funding from sponsoring agencies.
Our ECERT system requires a comment whenever our PIs Certify Effort Reports after the certification deadline. (Certifications are due within 120 days after the end of each quarter.) See an example ECERT Certify ERS Report - Comment Required (PDF) and Effort Reporting Best Practices for more information related to managing certifications.
Effort reports that remain uncertified past the deadline will be escalated for review and appropriate consequences will be rendered. The university requires all effort to be certified within 120 days after the end of the reporting period (e.g., for the Jan-Mar quarter, reports will be due 120 days after March 31).
Q. What if my PI left the University?
A. Certifiers must have first-hand knowledge of the effort expended. PI changes to Effort Reports in the ECERT (Electronic Certification of Effort and Reporting Tool) system are processed in the CCM (Cost Center Management) system in FinancialLink/Tools by using the COA (Chart of Account) Override Maintenance. To process a COA Override see the Change a PI or fund manager section. Non-academics can't certify for academics.
Q. What happens when effort changes during the project period?
A. If significant effort changes occur, department administrators should update the payroll distributions in a timely manner to reflect the actual effort expended in support of the sponsored project.
For questions that can't be answered by your department's ECERT Coordinator, contact the BFSupport (login required):
- Add additional employees to the database
- Edit the Cannot Certify list
- Update the employee PI indicator
- Update effort report status
- Please contact your Department's DSA/ECERT User Administrator to create permission and roles
PI Requirement for Effort Reports Certified After the Certification Deadline
Our ECERT system requires a comment whenever our PIs Certify Effort Reports after the certification deadline. Certifications are due within 120 days after the end of each reporting period. See Best Practices for more information related to managing certifications.