iSRA Financial Management Conference - Financial Management Certificate

About the Financial Management Certificate 

When institutions solicit funding from external sponsors to support major functions such as instruction, research, and other sponsored activities, it is integral for organizations to demonstrate adequate resources are available to ensure sound financial management is present as stewards of external financial support. As a result, it is incumbent upon institutions to ensure that its administrative research staff possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities to execute their responsibilities.

The Financial Management certificate provides administrative research staff with an understanding of best financial management practices surrounding the following areas:

  • Service Centers,
  • F&A Negotiations,
  • Financial Reporting,
  • Audit/Internal Controls,
  • Sub-recipient Monitoring,
  • Property/Equipment/Procurement Standards, and Compensation.

The certificate provides an understanding of the regulatory framework for the direct and indirect costing of sponsored program activity, financial management decision-making and fiscal compliance of sponsored programs. Whether new to the profession or a seasoned administrator who has had significant exposure to the financial management of sponsored research, the certificate offers benefits to all administrative research professionals who are responsible for extending financial support to any pre or post-award activities.

How to Earn the Financial Management Certificate 

The Financial Management Certificate will be offered in full at the iSRA Financial Management Conference. Attendees for this conference are eligible to receive the certificate by attending identified required and elective sessions and workshops. To earn Certificate credit:

1.) Attend the identified required and elective sessions, and workshop.
2.) Download the tracking sheets for the Financial Management Certificate and fill out the tracking sheets with your information. Write “FM 2022” in the space next to each session and workshop you complete.
3.) Once all coursework has been completed email your completed documentation to to receive your certificate of completion.

Certificate Program Requirements

FM is comprised of one workshop, five required sessions and three elective sessions. The required courses will be listed below soon; the electives may vary from meeting-to-meeting.

Required Workshop

Financial Management Workshop (Parts 1 and 2) 

Content Level: Basic

As research administrators responsible for all institutional research and related activities involving externally and internally sponsored projects, it is important to be conversant with a myriad of topics related to managing sponsored projects. Having an understanding of financial management is an important area for those who are in the pre-award and compliance as well as post award. As a result, this workshop will highlight the roles and responsibilities of the administrative/scientific staff while identifying the types of funding instruments institutions receive to support their research programs. The workshop will also highlight the administrative requirements specifically outlined within 2CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) with in-depth discussions surrounding topics such as compensation, prior approval requests from sponsor, re-budgeting, cost transfers, cost sharing and standards regarding documentation for all expenditures and various ways to manage based on shared experiences.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand ways to assure compliance with award requirements throughout the projects duration, closeout, and beyond;
  2. Learn the importance of developing a budget that is compliant and supports the scope of work being performed;
  3. Recognize how sound financial compliance administration can be bolstered by institutional policies and strong channels of communication/collaborations across the research enterprise

Prerequisites: None

Required Sessions

Must take all five.

Facilities and Administrative Costs

Content Level: Basic

Facilities and Administrative Costs are real costs to recipients of federal funding. To facilitate equitable distribution of indirect expenses to the cost objectives served, it is necessary to establish a number of pools of Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs. Cost pools must be distributed to benefited cost objectives on bases that will produce an equitable result in consideration of relative benefits derived.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the basics of the F&A calculation and negotiation, including defining the cost pools as described in the Uniform Guidance, defining the “research base and base year” in detail and explaining the important elements of the basis of the calculation such as the “space survey” and “salary and wage” and “modified total direct costs”.
  2. Recognize why/ how recipient’s actual recovery of F&A is dramatically different from the negotiated rate.
  3. Differentiate the impact of regulations that limits recovery versus recipient self-imposed “waivers.”
  4. Defend the importance of F&A recovery and assess its impact on the operational budget for infrastructure, research support, and compliance within the recipient community.

Prerequisites: None

Internal Controls

Content Level: Intermediate

It is imperative that institutions receiving funds from the Federal Government in support of sponsored projects be mindful of their responsibilities to abide by the laws, regulations, and policy requirements that govern the receipt and expenditure of those federal funds. Since the early 2000’s, the Federal Government has strengthened its overall oversight and stewardship posture for the management of funds and has developed analogous requirements for grant recipients to ensure that federally awarded assets are managed appropriately. The Uniform Guidance, at §200.303, requires that all recipients of federal financial assistance establish and maintain effective internal controls as a predicate for the receipt of funding.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Prepare a monitoring strategy across the recipient’s business lines, to guard against material misstatements and findings. This includes formulating a strategy including the objectives and components of internal controls.
  2. Design an internal controls matrix related to the oversight of sponsored research, capturing the elements associated with sound, solid source documentation.
  3. Assess the process for determining and addressing noncompliance within a recipient’s organization

Prerequisites: None

Post-Award Financial Management

Content Level: Basic

The spending and accounting for funds provided to an organization are governed by federal and state regulations. It is important that organizations ensure compliance for sponsored research funding throughout the life of the award. This includes financial management, financial reporting, billing and cash management, as well as award closeout and audit. Organizations not only need to meet federal regulations regarding financial management and reporting, but they also must maintain appropriate cash flow for the organization by managing receivables which include processes and procedures for collections of past due invoices, dunning letters, and bad debt. Appropriate management of the closeout process is imperative so that future funding from sponsors is not negatively impacted. Organizations must put in place policies and procedures for the financial as well as programmatic closeout of an award. This would include all financial reporting being completed as well as collection and appropriate accounting for all funds expended to support the effort.

Learning Objectives:

  1. What are the regulations that oversee financial management and reporting
  2. Learn what internal controls your organization should have in place to ensure financial compliance
  3. Identify best practices regarding award closeout and audit

Prerequisites: None

Property/Equipment/Procurement Standards

Content Level: Intermediate

As a result of revised regulations within the Uniform Guidance specifically, 2CFR, Part 200, it is necessary for administrators to be conversant with property/equipment/procurement standards when managing federal funds. Additionally, and aside from adhering to federal regulations, those responsible for the administration of federal funding should also understand the policies and procedures of their institutions when property/equipment is acquired. Furthermore, while it is recognized that grantees may acquire commercially available goods and services throughout a federally-sponsored project, administrators also need to be aware of the various methods of procurement. An awareness of your institution’s purchasing policies coupled with an understanding of the requirements outlined in the Uniform Guidance will aid in ensuring the federal requirements are met, and annual audit compliance achieved.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss how: fabricated equipment is defined, allowable/unallowable costs associated with fabrication are determined, and any associated accounting protocols that must be followed;
  2. Understand a grantee's responsibilities for managing equipment from the initial date of purchase until its eventual disposal;
  3. Understand the importance and method of maintaining a physical inventory of equipment while ensuring a proper control system is in place to safeguard against loss, damage, or theft;
  4. Identify the various methods of procurement while highlighting the importance of maintaining sufficient documentation to support a chosen procurement method;
  5. Learn various state/federal thresholds related to procurement

Prerequisites: None

Sub-recipient Monitoring

Content Level: Basic

A pass-through entity is responsible for monitoring the programmatic and financial activities of its sub-recipients to ensure proper stewardship of sponsor funds. Failure to perform this requirement may lead to audit findings which may jeopardize current and future funding for the pass-through entity. This session will provide information and guidance regarding a holistic review of all phases of interactions with a sub-recipient from proposal submission to closeout. This will include determination of the relationship regarding sub-recipient versus contractors, the pass-through entities responsibilities, a review of roles and responsibilities of individuals and offices as the pass-through entity, conducting a risk assessment and options regarding how to manage those sub-recipients that are not low risk as well as ongoing monitoring throughout the life of the sub-award and closeout processes.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn best practices for conducting risk assessments for sub-recipients and how to manage risk mitigation
  2. Learn how to identify the differences between a sub-recipient and contractor
  3. Understand the impact of federal regulations on sub-recipient monitoring
  4. Recognize the required actions needed to adequately monitor your institutions sub-recipients

Prerequisites: None

Elective Sessions

Must take three.

Electives vary from meeting to meeting. Please reference the Financial Management Tracking Sheet for the most up-to-date list of elective sessions for this conference. 

*The Certificate Tracking Sheets are subject to change. Please check the website regularly to see if any sessions have been moved, added or cancelled. If you attended a workshop or session at a previous SRAI meeting, list the meeting on the line next to the course. SRAI staff will verify your attendance at previous meetings.