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Successful Closeout of Your Award
Now that you are nearing the end of your sponsored project, it is time to start the process of closing out this project. This step is a critical piece in the life cycle of a grant, as any unresolved issues from this stage will prevent some sponsors from being able to fund future grants. Preparation for closeout should begin at least three months prior to the end date of your grant. This time will allow you to:
- Request a no-cost extension if necessary,
- Accurately forecast expenses,
- Adjust any entries,
- Prepare final report of activities,
- Work with any subcontractors to make sure their expenses and effort are recorded and invoiced from their institution(s) to CU Denver,
- Make sure that all expenses are recorded in a timely fashion to complete final invoicing and request sponsor payment,
- Work with your collaborators to gather final data to complete the final report that is due to the sponsor, and
- Work with any employees you have hired for the project to terminate their position(s) as necessary.
The information in this section will assist you with understanding all that is involved in closing out a project as well as provide you with the resources to successfully end the project.
As you begin to prepare to closeout your project, please contact Elizabeth Lee so she can assist you in all the necessary steps. The links below may help you with this process.
- No-Cost Extension information from the Office of Grants and Contracts
- A-21 Checklist for Direct Charging to a Project
- Organize your records to be compliant with the record retention requirements (see Record Retention document in Quick Links)
- Certify effort for final reporting period
Audit Issues & Common Pitfalls
Avoiding negative audit findings is all about appearances. Auditors tend to look for irregularities or patterns that could indicate irregularities. The information here will help you present your project in the best light so that you can avoid being audited or having a negative audit finding.
The University of Colorado Denver undergoes rigorous auditing of all accounts on a yearly basis. This helps to keep us compliant with federal, state and local rules and regulations regarding the application of expenses and charges. Further, federal agencies also conduct audits of our grant and contract accounts on a regular basis. If you are ever contacted by an individual requesting information for an audit, please contact JoAnn Porter prior to responding to any request for information. She will assist you with contacting the correct person at the Office of Grants and Contracts who handle these requests.
The links below provide you with some important information you need to know to prevent any of your grant/contract accounts from having a negative audit finding.
- Retain your records (see record retention requirements document in the Quick Links section)
- All sponsored programs have requirements for how long you need to keep your records after a project has ended.
- This is so that if there are any questions, you have the support information necessary to demonstrate your expenses were appropriate and applied to the grant correctly.
- Avoid charging expenses to your account retroactively. Any retroactive charges are a ‘red flag’ to an auditor as it is expected that you will charge expenses as they occur and correct any mistakes in a timely manner.
- Running a deficit on a grant/contract account is always a concern. A pattern of deficits or retroactive charges is another ‘red flag’ for an auditor. To an auditor these patterns can signal overall inappropriate management of the account project.
- The standard of reasonable (think $5,000 gold hammer), allocable (charged to the correct section of your grant account – i.e., personnel expenses in personnel account, not travel), allowable (meets the grantor’s requirements for what they will pay), should always be used when you are applying expenses to your account.
- Certifying effort in a timely fashion is important because it demonstrates a pattern of consistent oversight and management. It can also help you manage your budget correctly.
- The timing of your expenses is also very important. Applying a lot of expenses toward the end of your project can signal an auditor that the account wasn’t managed correctly because expenses should be applied in a consistent manner throughout the entire project. For example, if you requested a piece of equipment to conduct the research it should have been purchased in time to do the research. If you don’t purchase the equipment until the end of the project, it could appear to an auditor that you really didn’t need the equipment or that you didn’t do the work proposed.
- If cost-share or cost-match was formally proposed in your grant, then it is important that the cost-share was provided and there is documentation of the cost-share.