Closing Out a Sponsored Project Award

As the official repository for all documentation related to sponsored activity at the College, the Office of Sponsored Projects maintains all pertinent documents for each sponsored project award. These documents include a copy of the funding proposal, copy of the notice of award, invoices over $5,000, documents requiring approval by the Office of Sponsored Projects or the sponsor, any correspondence between the College and the sponsoring agency, and copies of all project related financial and closeout reports. As the end date of a sponsored project award approaches, each project is reviewed by the Sponsored Research Manager assigned to that sponsored project award to ensure that all agency specific and College requirements have been met and that all necessary records have been documented.

Most funding agencies require final financial and technical reports. In general, the financial reports are prepared and submitted to the sponsoring agency by the Office of Sponsored Projects. The technical reports are prepared and submitted to the sponsoring agency by the Principal Investigator. Please note that the failure to submit reports in a timely manner may jeopardize current and future funding from the sponsor.

For those PTA Accounts that become overspent, prompt cost transfer requests must be submitted by the Department Grant Manager in a timely manner. With a cost transfer request, the Department Grant Manager may move the excess charges to either a department GL account or an appropriate sponsored project PTA Account if there is project relatedness established between both PTA accounts.

In situations where all of the work was completed and all transactions were appropriately charged to the PTA account but the sponsor is unable to pay us the total obligated awarded amount (i.e. sponsor files for bankruptcy), the Principal Investigator's department is responsible for covering those unpaid funds.

In general, close adherence to the terms and conditions outlined in the award by the sponsoring agency is necessary. Also, copies of all information pertinent to a particular sponsored project award must be documented by the Office of Sponsored Projects as sponsored project awards are frequently selected by outside agencies for audit.

The Office of Sponsored Projects is responsible for coordinating audits with external auditors. It is the policy of the College that a member of the Office of Sponsored Projects will be present at each audit being performed by an external sponsor or audit firm. At times auditors may request interviews with College personnel or wish to tour a particular College department or building. External auditors are to be accompanied by a member of the Office of Sponsored Projects during any such interview or tour of a College facility.


For Timeline:

Throughout the life of the grant:

-  DGM monitors grant expenses and reviews charges for allowability, appropriateness, allocability, and accuracy; prepares any needed simple reclassifications, wage transfers, or cost transfers as noted in review; works with PI to prepare any needed rebudget requests due to project changes; reviews grant expenses on a regular basis with PI.

-  SRM monitors sponsored project awards for application of proper indirect costs and any other particular items that may be required/may not be allowed (such as travel); reviews/approves/processes simple reclassifications, wage transfers, or cost transfers as submitted; researches and responds to DGM re: compliance and procedural questions.

-  Cost Analysis reviews and collects needed information in order to bill sponsor as per terms of agreement, if applicable.

* Dates below are approximate, and may vary depending on the terms and conditions of the grant.


90 days before grant year close date

-  Report is run – SRM

-  Email to DGM, with

    • List of accounts closing in next 90 days

-   DGM works with PI re: any needed progress reports due prior to year close

60 days before grant year close date

-  Email from SRM to DGM, with

    • Repeat list, with any updated information received by DGM
    • Rebudgeting indirect costs/direct costs questions
    • Status of account numbers for upcoming grant year (if applicable)
    • NCE procedure specific to grants that are in final year
    • Financial report due date to sponsor

30 - 45 days before grant year close date

-  DGM submits needed paperwork for NCE request, if appropriate

30 days before grant year close date

-   Email from SRM to DGM, with

    • Repeat list, with any updated information received by DGM
    • Any special reports needed to sponsor (invention report, etc.)

-   DGM reminds subs of due date for Final Invoice

-   DGM works with PI re: any needed progress reports due at year close

15 days before grant year close date

-  DGM begins close out of encumbrances, personnel allocation shifts

-  DGM requests advance account from SRM, if subsequent year info available


Federal agencies have become increasingly stringent about the timeliness of financial reporting which is a key mechanism of accountability and stewardship. In order to comply with these terms and conditions and preserve Dartmouth's good standing and payments, we are adopting this policy.

If the closeout email is not received by 5 days before the financial report due date, OSP may submit the report without it, based on information in IRA at that time. There will be a 1-day warning before the report is submitted under these circumstances.

20 days before financial report due date

-  DGM emails SRM with following:

    • Total direct cost expenses on the account, and final direct cost balance on the account
    • Status of NCE request or disposition of any remaining funds
    • If available, copies of any outstanding transactions that have yet to be charged to the account
    • Confirmation that all encumbrances and payroll allocations have been requested/zeroed out

15 days before financial report due date

-  DGM confirms that any outstanding transactions have been charged to the account

-  SRM puts the account into “pending close/on hold” status so no more transactions will hit the PTA account

5 days before financial report due date

-   SRM or Grant Accountant submits Final Financial Report or Final Invoice to sponsor

-   SRM verifies other non-progress Final Reports have been submitted

Financial report due date or later

-  Cost Analysis puts the PTA account into a "Closed" status once we have received final payment from the sponsor

For Process Flow Chart/Decision Tree:

NCE procedure

-  Federal Award

    • Under FDP
    • Not under FDP

-   Non-federal award

Account for new grant year

Closeout Timeline Tool

Final Technical Reports

Upon termination of the award, the Principal Investigator is responsible for submitting the final technical report to the sponsor within the time frame specified. Failure to submit this report in a timely manner could jeopardize future funding by the sponsor.

Final Financial Reports

Sponsoring agencies usually specify how soon after an award ends when the final financial should be received by the sponsor. It is common for final transactions, which relate to expenses incurred during an approved project period, be processed after the end date of the award. In order to prepare financial reports within the time period specified by the award, the Sponsored Research Manager assigned to that award will contact the Department Grant Manager and request information relating to all funds encumbered at the time of the awarded end date which includes asking for copies of outstanding transactions. Final financial reports are only revised if it is determined that we have over-reported final transactions. Only in extenuating circumstances will we revise a final financial report in which we have under-reported final transactions. It is important, therefore, to accurately identify all transactions for a particular sponsored project award at the time the final financial report is submitted.

Contracts tend to have more reporting requirements than grants. Some of the more common reports required by contracts include:

  • Contractor's Release
  • Contractor's Assignment of Refunds, Rebates, Credits and Other Amounts
  • Patent Release
  • Government Property Forms
  • Financial Status Reports
  • Invention Statements

These reports are usually completed by the Office of Sponsored Projects and may require some input by the Principal Investigator.

Many private agencies and foundations have unique and rather extensive reporting requirements.