Researcher Alert: New Subaward Invoice Payment Process
Recent changes to federal research policy outlined in the Uniform Guidance have had ripple effects across nearly every aspect of grant administration across the U.S. and at the University of Minnesota. Some of the most significant changes have been related to managing subawards (subcontracts). In March, Sponsored Projects Administration released a PI Quick Guide to help researchers and grant administrators better understand and respond to the new subaward guidelines.
One outcome of the new Uniform Guidance subaward guidelines has been updating the university’s subaward invoice payment process. The new system is meant to expedite the payment approval process and make it easier for PIs to keep track of the status of subaward invoices on their sponsored projects. On-screen instructions provide quick and easy reminders about how to use the new system, but here’s a snapshot of how it works:
- The SPA subaward system sends an email to the principal investigator (PI) inviting him/her to approve a subaward invoice
- The PI is prompted to open and review the subrecipient’s invoice. If everything is correct, the PI clicks “approve.”
- If the invoice isn’t correct, the PI can notify SPA that there is a problem and that additional work is needed before the invoice can be paid.
- Once approved, the invoice will route back to SPA staff for final review and payment.
Invoices for all subawards issued or modified since February 13, 2015 are included in the new system; older subawards are being incorporated when they are modified (e.g., receive annual funding or a time extension). The new system will not only expedite the process but it will also help the university meet the new, stiffer federal requirements mandating that all acceptable subaward invoices be paid within 30 days after they are received.
Erin is assistant communications director for the Office of the Vice President for Research and senior editor of Inquiry.