Compensation Reporting (Effort Reporting)

A focused discussion on compensation reporting ideal for individuals who work with federally sponsored awards, principal investigators, and other members of the research team.


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About this Course

When universities, nonprofits, and other types of non-federal organizations receive federally sponsored awards to perform research, service, teaching, or other activities, they must comply with documentation and accounting requirements for compensation paid to the organizations’ employees who devote effort to the awards. This course introduces the federal regulations that relate to compensation costs on federally sponsored awards.

This course features modules targeted to individuals who work with federally sponsored awards that include compensation as a direct cost to the award. Critical for universities, the course also includes a best practices module specifically intended for faculty and administrators working at institutions of higher education.

This course was authored by Kathryn Watkins, MEd, CRA, CFRA of K. Watkins Research Administration Services, LLC and peer-reviewed by experts.

Note: This course has been updated to reflect the NIH notice number NOT-OD-20-065, Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements FY2020.

Language Availability: English

Suggested Audiences: Project Staff, Department Chairs and Deans, Department and College Administrators, Research Administrators, Principal Investigators

Organizational Subscription Price: $500 per year/per site
Independent Learner Price: $99 per person

Course Content

Introduction to Compensation Reporting New Content

In this module, learners explore the key principles of the Uniform Guidance (UG) that relate to compensation reporting. An extended discussion of the differences between compensation and effort as well as compensation reporting provides learners with a strong foundation on the topics. The module also provides a case study that allows learners to walk through calculating effort and concludes with a concise review of the applicable regulations.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 19737 (English)
Author(s): Kathryn Watkins, MEd, CRA, CFRA - K. Watkins Research Administration Services, LLC

Compensation Reporting Requirements New Content

Within this module, learners delve into the Uniform Guidance’s (UG) compensation reporting requirements. These requirements include Non-Federal Entity (NFE) policies and procedures, methods of tracking and documenting effort, institutional recordkeeping of effort, and flow down requirements to subrecipients. The module also introduces learners to the concept of internal controls.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 19738 (English)
Author(s): Kathryn Watkins, MEd, CRA, CFRA - K. Watkins Research Administration Services, LLC

Compensation and Parameters for Personal Services New Content

This module tackles the topic of compensation. Compensation standards can differ based on the type of Non-Federal Entity (NFE) that performs the sponsored activities. Learners will explore the differences in compensation allowability among different types of NFEs and the Uniform Guidance (UG) allowability criteria for compensation to individuals. The module concludes with an overview of how to calculate proposal compensation when the sponsor caps salaries.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 19739 (English)
Author(s): Kathryn Watkins, MEd, CRA, CFRA - K. Watkins Research Administration Services, LLC

Documentation Requirements for Compensation Reporting New Content

From the employee appointment letter through grant closeout, a record of costs incurred on federal awards is paramount to compliance with the Uniform Guidance (UG) requirements on compensation documentation. This module takes learners through the UG’s documentation requirements for compensation reporting and includes a discussion on the process for maintaining documentation as well as “red flags” that can occur in compensation reporting.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 19740 (English)
Author(s): Kathryn Watkins, MEd, CRA, CFRA - K. Watkins Research Administration Services, LLC

Compensation Reporting Best Practices for Faculty and Administrators New Content

Individuals in research support and assistance positions at institutions of higher education interact with principal investigators (PIs) daily. This module explores the best practices for working with PIs on compensation reporting and reducing the overall administrative burden of compliance. The discussion includes alternative methods of compensation reporting.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 19741 (English)
Author(s): Kathryn Watkins, MEd, CRA, CFRA - K. Watkins Research Administration Services, LLC


Who should take the Compensation Reporting course?

The suggested audiences are research administrators; principal investigators; project staff; and department and/or college deans, chairs, and staff who need training on the requirements of and compliance with compensation reporting on federal awards.

How does the Compensation Reporting course complement other CITI Program courses?

This course is an excellent complement to the Essentials of Research Administration course, which introduces the topic of compensation reporting. The Compensation Reporting course dives deeper with information critical to both research team members and other staff responsible for compensation reporting at organizations.

Why should an organization subscribe to this course?

Organizational subscriptions provide access to the organization's affiliated members. This allows organizations to meet the training needs of their learners involved in compensation reporting related to federal awards.

Why should an independent learner consider taking this course?

Independent learners can take this course to understand the fundamentals of compensation reporting.

How does the course work?

The course consists of self-contained, self-paced modules. Each module includes an in-depth discussion along with case studies/practical examples, supplemental resources, and a quiz.

How long will the course take a learner to complete?

Although completion time will vary by learner, each module takes about 25 minutes to complete. Learners can complete the modules in one sitting or multiple sittings. There is no time limit for any of the activities.