“Advance” Frequently Asked Questions
What is an “Advance”?
An “Advance” is used to set up one or more projects (AKA accounts) in Oracle Financials Cloud (OFC) before: (i) the University receives a new sponsored project award from a Sponsor; and (ii) before the University receives a subsequent increment of funding from a Sponsor on an existing sponsored project award. The first scenario is referred to as an “Advance Department ID,” and the second scenario is called an “Advance Spending Request.”
When should I request an “Advance” for my sponsored project?
Advance Department IDs / Advance Spending Requests should be requested whenever sponsored project work must begin before awards/amendments are received by the University. This includes situations where the University has been notified that awards are forthcoming, but that the actual awards will be issued to the University at later dates. It also includes situations where Sponsors are late issuing subsequent years of funding for multiple-year awards. If you have documentation from the Sponsor stating that the award/amendment is forthcoming, please include that with your Advance request. While Sponsor confirmation is not an internal requirement at this time, there are instances where it may be needed, depending on the Sponsor. If this is the case, the assigned Sponsored Projects Administrator (SPA) will contact you.
The bottom-line is that if you are going to start work on sponsored projects, you should not spend funds on local or appropriated accounts. Instead, you should submit Advances to spend funds on appropriate projects in OFC. See, e.g., Section 4.1.a of University Policy # 5090, Sponsored Programs Cost Transfer.
Why is it so important that I use Advances instead of local/appropriated accounts?
Using Advances is important for two primary reasons. First, cost transfers from local and appropriated accounts to sponsored projects after-the-fact immediately raise questions for external auditors. Second, cost transfers create significant administrative burdens for multiple campus departments/offices, which increases inefficiencies and costs for the University. In fact, reducing the number of cost transfers is one way we can support the large Human Capital Management (HCM) software implementation.
Do Advances increase my risk of unallowable costs?
No. If you are planning to start work anyway, spending funds on Advance projects/accounts does not have any more risk of unallowable costs than spending on local or appropriated accounts.
What Does OSP’s “Approval” of Advances Indicate?
OSP’s approval means that you have submitted sufficient information to set up an Advance in OFC. This is based on your determination that you must start incurring costs on the project.
What Does OSP’s “Approval” of Advances Not Indicate?
OSP’s approval does not mean that: (i) OSP has determined that costs will be allowable; or (ii) you will receive an award/amendment. OSP cannot guarantee that costs will be reimbursed.
Other Important Information
Please remember that expenses deemed unallowable for any reason (e.g., not receiving an award or amendment, incurring costs before permissible by the sponsor) will be charged to your surplus/deficit account on file.
If the award start date is different than what you indicated in your Advance submission and OSP cannot accommodate the change in OFC, you will be responsible for changing all EAFs/GFDFs and transferring all commitments/expenditures to (a) new OFC project(s).
Because Advances occur before the University receives an award (or before a subsequent increment of funding), OSP does not know all of the bidding requirements and does not know which terms and conditions need to be “flowed down” to Contractors/Vendors and Subrecipients/Subcontractors.* For this reason, agreements with these parties need to expressly reserve the right to bilaterally negotiate the addition of required terms and conditions at a future date. You should convey this information to Purchasing and General Counsel, and you should exercise caution when proceeding with these contractual actions on an Advance. You are encouraged to speak with your SPA if you have any questions. (*With respect to Subawards/Subcontracts, most universities will set up their own Advances. As such, Subawards/Subcontracts would not normally need to be issued on an Advance.)
Where/how do I submit Advances?
Who do I contact if I have questions about Advances?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call 6-4420.