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Office of Grants & Contracts Accounting
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Managing a Grant Award

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Managing a Grant Award

Office of Grants & Contracts Accounting

Managing a Grant Award

Award Notification
Expenditure Activity: How to Charge Expenses to a Grant
List of Expense Accounts
Monitoring Expenses
Reporting to Sponsors
Negotiation with Sponsors:
Cash Management
Time and Effort Reporting
Teachers College Policies


Award Notification

Upon receipt of official written notification, fully executed contract, payment from a sponsor, the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting will establish  the award within the Banner financial software.

All grant awards must clearly state the amount of the award, beginning and ending periods, principal investigator(s), reporting information and any budgetary restrictions or requirements.

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Expenditure Activity: How to Charge Expenses to a Grant

The Index number, a six digit numerical code beginning with 5, enables TC to track expense by project. All expenditures related to a grant must be charged to that index number. Principal Investigators or their designated staff must verify that the expense is a valid expense for the project and is allowable under the budget submitted to the foundation

Personnel Expenses

  • Principal Investigators/Responsible Persons must work with their department associates and the Human Resources Department to appoint new full-time and part-time staff and graduate assistants to work on a grant. In general, a Personnel Action Form (PAF) must be completed to appoint new staff. The PAF must be submitted through the project director's academic department to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting. For interim, hourly staff, time sheets must include the index number of the grant.
  • To begin a search for new employees, the project director must complete an Authorization to Recruit form. After it is reviewed and approved by the academic department, the form must be submitted to the Personnel Office.
  • To redistribute the salaries of existing staff, a Revision of Labor Distribution form must be submitted to the Office of Grants and Contracts directly via hard copy or grantsoffice@tc.columbia.edu. The PI must sign the form and provide justification for all retroactive labor redistributions.

Non-Personnel Expenses

  • Purchase orders to buy supplies, equipment, or other items may be charged to a grant index. This can be performed through the Unimarket Procurement system by designated staff, i.e Budget Administrator, OSP administrator or PI.
  • Check requests to claim reimbursement for program expenses may be submitted to the accounts payable office. The check request forms must list the index number for the grant.
  • Journal voucher forms may be used to transfer actual expenses from one index to another.  Journal voucher forms must be signed by the Principal Investigator and should be submitted to the directly to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting, 422F Thompson Hall or via email to grantsoffice@tc.columbia.edu 
  • For reimbursement of small amounts of cash, fill out an Office Cash Paid Out Form, get the appropriate signature, and submit it to the cashier for payment.
  • Internal charges, such as duplicating, telephone, or postage, which relate to a grant, should list the grant index on the related paperwork. These charges are billed to grant indices monthly.

Transferring Expenses

Transfers of expense can only be made in accordance with sponsor regulations and must be for actual work performed and allowed on the grant. Charges charged or transferred from federal sponsors must be certified and justified by the Principal Investigator. Total expenses charged to the grant  that are over the total budget must be transferred to another funding source.

a) Salary Transfers between grants/indices:
1. Fill out Revision of Labor Distribution, get appropriate signatures, provide a brief memo to explain, certify, and justify/explain the reasons for the transfer and submit it to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting office.

b.) Expense Transfers between grants/indices
1. Fill out a Departmental Expense Inquiry/Transfer Form, obtain the appropriate signatures, provide a brief explanation supporting the transfer, and submit it to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting office via hard copy or email grantsoffice@tc.columbia.edu

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List of Expense Accounts

It is important to ensure that expenditures are accurately recorded on the College's accounting system in the appropriate general ledger accounts. The attached extract of the College's Chart of Accounts lists all relevant expense accounts. Please refer to this list when preparing paperwork to charge expenses to grants.

List of Expense Accounts

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Monitoring Expenses

Monthly Grants Budget Reports
Are are sent  to the Principal Investigator/ Responsible Person and the Budget Administrator. The reports include a Summary report, a Detail report, which provides individual transactions recorded in a given month, and a Labor report listing all employee salaries charged to the grant during the month.  Beginning early 2014, all Monthly Grants Budgets reports will be provided through download only. Once downloaded, you may view or print your reports.

Banner Access
Principal Investigators should request an active  Banner Account to access the financial records of their grants on a real-time basis. In addition to Budget Administrator access to Banner, Departmental Academic Administrators may, at the request of the Principal Investigator/Project Director, be provided access to view all grant indices within their department.

As per Teachers College policy, any request for access to grant related budget information must be approved by the Principal Investigator.

Banner access requires issuance of a security/user id through Computer Information Systems. Please contact the CIS Helpdesk to begin the process.

After a Banner User ID has been activated, all requests for access to grants budget information should be directed to Kim Santoro. Please note our office handles grant indices only, indicated by the leading digit, 5.

Unimarket (E-procurement system)



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Reporting to Sponsors

The Office of Grants & Contracts Accounting works with Principal Investigators/Project Directors to ensure compliance with the sponsor's reporting requirements.

a.) The Principal Investigator is responsible for submitting all progress reports related to program, including all narrative reports.
b.) The Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting is responsible for submitting all financial reports and invoices. This will be coordinated with the Principal Investigator/Responsible Person or the Budget Administrator.

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Negotiation with Sponsors:

Budget Revisions:

Should it be necessary to incur expenses which were not in the originally approved budget, there are two courses of action:

a.) If sponsor approval and notification is required, a formal request and justification must be submitted to the sponsor in writing. Upon sponsor approval, a copy of the approval notice and a Teachers College Request for a Budget Change Form must be submitted via hard copy or email directly to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting for processing.


b.) If sponsor approval or notification is not required, a Teachers College Request for a Budget Change Form must be submitted to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting for processing.

Grant Extensions:

Should it be necessary to extend a grant or contract beyond the original termination date, the following action may be taken:


a.) If sponsor approval and notification is required, a formal request and justification must be submitted to the sponsor in writing. Upon sponsor approval, a copy of the approval notice and the original extension request submitted to the sponsor must be delivered or emailed to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting for processing.


b.) If sponsor approval or notification is not required, a formal request with justification must be submitted to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting for approval and processing.

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Cash Management

Payment from Sponsor
The Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting is responsible for ensuring that the college recovers payment in full for all work done on sponsored projects.  All checks received in payment for work done on a grant or contract should be brought to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting (422F Thompson Hall).  We will ensure that the check is deposited and properly credited to the correct account.

We will notify both the Principal Investigator/Responsible Person and/or the Budget Administrator if we encounter collection delays of payment on a grant or contract.

Refund Payments from Vendors
If a refund payment from a vendor is received, please bring the check along with a copy of the original check request used to pay the vendor to the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting (422F Thompson Hall).  We will deposit the check in TC's account and ensure that the refund is properly credited to the correct index and account.

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Time and Effort Reporting

Time and Effort Reports are prepared three times a year to certify that the salary amounts charged to a grant or contract correlates to an individual's effort on a specific program.  This effort certification is required under federal policies.

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Teachers College Policies

All expenditures on grants must be done in accordance with Teachers College's policies. Attached please find links to the college's policies:

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