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Financial Operations
F&A Underrecovery on Research WBS Elements

Last revised: 07/13/2004

Contents
Overview
Proposal Phase
Award Phase
Monitoring Phase
Closeout Phase
Who to Contact with Questions
Data Warehouse Reports
Related Links

Overview

The overhead rates for federal awards and sub-awards are determined in accordance with the provisions of section G-7 of the OMB Circular A-21 (effective May 1996). Federal policy requires fixing rates for the life of the award at rates in effect (including negotiated provisional rates that will be revised when the federal rates are negotiated) at the time of the award. See OSP's policy Implementation of "Fixed Rate" Requirements of A-21. Most non-federal awards are established at MIT billing rates which change each FY to the current FY’s federal negotiated rates. However, both federal and nonfederal sponsors occasionally specify a rate and/or base which differs from those which would normally be applied under federal and/or Institute policies.

This document describes the practices for departments, laboratories and centers (DLCs) related to handling overhead information on research WBS elements. It particularly focuses on situations where underrecovery (U/R) of overhead occurs (other than U/R resulting from Federal A-21 "Fixed Rate" requirements or Training Grants). U/R may occur in any research WBS element where overhead specifications are established at less than the current federal negotiated rates. See OSP's Indirect Cost Rates page on the web.

Note

Overhead (OH) is also referred to as Facilities and Administration (F&A) costs or Indirect costs. The terms overhead and F&A will be used interchangeably throughout this document. MIT prefers the term F&A to be consistent with the Federal government, but the SAP system refers to overhead.

 

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Proposal Phase

With proposal preparation, DLCs complete most research budgets utilizing current federal negotiated research overhead rates on a modified total direct cost (MTDC) base. However, occasionally sponsor policies dictate a rate and/or base that will result in overhead recovery below that which would be produced using the federal negotiated research rates. When this occurs, the DLC also prepares an estimate of the U/R of overhead for each year of the project period. This estimate is for internal purposes only and is not submitted to the sponsor with the proposal.

On the MIT Proposal Summary Form, the DLC enters the appropriate overhead rate and base, reflecting sponsor limitations. The anticipated U/R of overhead for each year of the proposal is noted along with the source of funds identified to cover the U/R. The funding source may be one or more of the following (see below). If a funding source other than the following is negotiated, please email CAO at ur-issues@mit.edu to determine the correct journal entries to process funding.

  • Specific discretionary cost objects identified by the DLC, School, or Provost (for a definition of cost object, see the Glossary)
  • Released general*
  • Sponsor-funded facility costs in lieu of, or in addition to, F&A
  • Vice President for Research’s (VPR’s) U/R budget, 1733000 (the proposal summary form requires an approval signature by a representative of the appropriate Dean or Vice President for Research)

    *The use of released general for F&A U/R requires approval by a representative of the appropriate Dean.

A copy of every cover sheet for proposals incurring U/R, independent of funding source, should be sent to Charlene Placido, VPR’s Office, 3-240; for the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, the proposals incurring U/R should also be routed to Charlene.

 

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Award Phase

OSP administrators are responsible for determining and entering the costing sheets and rates on Coeus input sheets. If the WBS element will incur U/R (other than U/R resulting from Federal A-21 "Fixed Rate" requirements or Training Grants), OSP administrators are also responsible for entering by Project Year the U/R amount and source of funding as entered on the MIT Proposal Summary Form. See the OSP documentation on Research WBS Elements.

 

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Monitoring Phase

Overview

  • OSP is responsible for assigning and correcting a WBS element’s costing sheet and adjustment keys. An 001 and Notice of Award (NoA) will be generated for new and changed WBS elements and sent to DLCs.
  • DLC is responsible for reviewing the WBS elements costing sheet and adjustment key assignments on 001 and NoA and reporting to OSP any concerns.
  • CAO is responsible for calculating and processing corrections and/or adjustments to posted F&A resulting from a change to the costing sheet and/or adjustment keys and from the assignment of a costing sheet that only approximates the sponsor's base. CAO notifies DLCs of document number for correcting JV entries after posting. See the CAO documentation, New Underrecovery Process.
  • DLC is responsible for all entries that post to its U/R cost center.
  • DLC is not required to recalculate F&A on all its cost objects each month, but to review for major errors such as: no F&A posting when cost object is subject to F&A, or the reverse; or that a cost object is incorrectly assigned an off campus costing sheet when it should be on campus, or vice versa.

Monthly, DLCs review the Summary Statements to verify accuracy of all entries. The F&A cost elements are used as follows:

Note

A cost element and a G/L account are often synonymous. See the Glossary.

The SAP costing sheets post the system calculated F&A at MIT billing rates to the following cost elements:

600304

F&A On

600305

F&A Off

If the wrong costing sheet had been assigned resulting in an error in the posted MIT billing rate amount, a JV must be prepared by CAO to correct the billing rate amount. Since manual JV entries cannot post to 600304 or 600305 (6-series cost elements), the following (4-series) cost elements are used:

490310

Correct Current Yr F&A On

490311

Correct Current Yr F&A Off

490312

Correct Prior Yr F&A On

490313

Correct Prior Yr F&A Off

Note

The SAP system uses the 6-series cost elements for posting system calculated costs such as F&A, EB, or settlements. Manual entries such as JV's cannot post to the 6-series cost elements, but instead must use the corresponding 4-series cost elements.

If the sponsor funds F&A at a base/rate other than MIT billing rates, the SAP costing sheets post an adjustment to the billing rate amount (cost elements 600304-600305) to net F&A to the sponsor's base/rate amount using the following cost elements:

600316

Adj F&A On to Spon Base/Rate

600317

Adj F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate

If the wrong costing sheet and/or adjustment key had been assigned resulting in an error in the posted adjustment amount, a JV must be prepared by CAO to correct the adjustment amount. Since manual JV entries cannot post to 600316 or 600317, the following cost elements are used:

490318

Adj CY F&A On to Spon Base/Rate

490319

Adj CY F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate

490320

Adj PY F&A On to Spon Base/Rate

490321

Adj PY F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate

Note

CY (Current Year) is used for posting adjusting F&A calculations applicable to the current MIT fiscal year F&A.
PY (Prior Year) is used for posting adjusting F&A calculations in the current MIT fiscal year but applicable to prior fiscal years F&A.

If a costing sheet has not been created for a sponsor's base, OSP will assign a costing sheet that most closely matches the sponsor's base. Since the sponsor's base for F&A is different than the costing sheet base on which the sponsor's F&A is being calculated, OSP will enter a note in Coeus and notify CAO to process a JV to manually adjust the F&A to the sponsor's base/rate. Within two weeks of monthly closing, CAO will calculate and post these F&A adjustment JV entries. After posting CAO will email to DLCs the JV document number for the adjusting JV entries. If you have a WBS that has been assigned a costing sheet that only approximates the sponsor's base, please wait for CAO email notice before funding the U/R for this type WBS. (Note: Until CAO adjustment entries post, the F&A U/R amount and the WBS uncommitted balance will not be accurate.) If the F&A at billing rates has correctly posted to the WBS element but the total net F&A charged to sponsor is incorrect as a result of the assignment of a costing sheet that only approximates the sponsor's base, CAO will process the following JV entry:

If the net F&A is understated,

 

Cost Object

Cost Element Name

Debit

WBS Element

Adj CY F&A to Sponsor Base/Rate

Credit

DLC U/R Cost Center

Adj CY F&A to Sponsor Base/Rate

If the net F&A is overstated,

 

Cost Object

Cost Element Name

Debit

DLC U/R Cost Center

Adj CY F&A to Sponsor Base/Rate

Credit

WBS Element

Adj CY F&A to Sponsor Base/Rate

OSP is responsible for assigning and correcting a WBS element’s costing sheet and adjustment keys and notifying DLCs of corrective action via a Coeus NoA. For all changes to costing sheets and/or adjustment keys, monthly CAO reviews the financial data to determine whether overhead charges posted to the cost object need to be corrected. Within two weeks of month-end close, CAO is responsible for calculating and processing the necessary overhead corrections to posted F&A resulting from the assignment of a wrong costing sheet and/or adjustment key. After posting JV entries, CAO will email the JV document number to the DLC.

For DLCs that incur U/R in FY00, effective FY01 a DLC cost center will be created to which the DLC’s U/R will post. (In SHASS and SA&P, only one cost center will be created and monitored by the relevant Dean's Office.) U/R resulting from Federal A-21 "Fixed Rate" requirements and Training Grants post directly to the Institute, not to the DLC’s U/R cost center.

If an F&A U/R cost center has not been created for a DLC (other than SHASS and SA&P DLCs) and the DLC incurs U/R in the future, the VPR Office (when in receipt of an MIT Proposal Summary Form with F&A U/R) will notify DLCs to:

  1. Read the documentation on F&A Underrecovery on Research WBS Elements.
  2. Request OBFP when the project is funded, to create a new F&A U/R cost center to which the DLCs' F&A U/R will post. For this new cost center, the DLC must provide OBFP with the profit center, supervisor, addressee, and fund center.

 

DLC U/R Cost Center

Monthly, DLCs will:

  1. Review accuracy of the SAP Costing Sheet U/R entries which post to one or more of the following cost elements:

    600316

    Adj F&A On to Spon Base/Rate

    600317

    Adj F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate

    and

  2. Process a journal voucher to fund the posted U/R with funds from one or more of the following sources (please see Data Warehouse Reports at the end of this document).

    1. DLC Discretionary Cost Object
    2.  

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      DLC Discretionary

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      800703

      F&A UR Funded Transfer In

       

    3. Vice President for Research’s (VPR's) U/R Budget (also referred to as School's U/R Allocation)
    4.  

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      VPR Cost Center 1733000

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      800703

      F&A UR Funded Transfer In

       

    5. Combination of VPR's U/R Budget and DLC Discretionary Cost Object
    6.  

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      VPR Cost Center 1733000

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Debit

      DLC Discretionary

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      800703

      F&A UR Funded Transfer In

       

    7. By Released General and VPR U/R Budget

      FY Released general funds should be expended prior to charging U/R to the VPR U/R Budget:

    8.  

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      DLC General

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      800703

      F&A UR Funded Transfer In

      WBS U/R that exceeds the released general funds will be funded by the VPR U/R Budget.

       

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      VPR Cost Center 1733000

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      800703

      F&A UR Funded Transfer In

       

    9. By Sponsor funding of facility costs (in addition to F&A) and DLC Discretionary.

      Sponsor's facility costs funding should be expended prior to charging U/R to DLC Discretionary:

    10.  

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      WBS Element

      420316

      Other Sponsor Funded Costs -not MTDC

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      420316

      Other Sponsor Funded Costs -not MTDC

      WBS U/R that exceeds the facility costs (Other Sponsored Funded Costs - not MTDC) will be funded by DLC Discretionary:

       

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      DLC Discretionary

      800704

      F&A UR Funded Transfer Out

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      800703

      F&A UR Funded Transfer In

       

    11. When U/R posting is in error, i.e., the WBS should not have incurred U/R or the amount of U/R is incorrect due to the assignment of a wrong costing sheet (OH base) and/or Adjustment Key (OH rates):
       
      1. DLC notifies OSP to correct the costing sheet and/or rates to avoid errors in future months
      2. OSP corrects the costing sheet and/or rates. An 001 and NoA will be generated for corrections and sent to DLCs.
      3. Within two weeks of month-end close, CAO calculates the necessary overhead corrections to prior months for posted F&A, and notifies DLCs of document numbers for any JV correcting entries after posting. CAO's correction entry reverses the incorrect U/R amount using the following cost elements:

        490318

        Adj CY F&A On to Spon Base/Rate

        490319

        Adj CY F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate

        490320

        Adj PY F&A On to Spon Base/Rate

        490321

        Adj PY F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate

         

        Cost Object

        Cost Element

        Cost Element Name

        Debit

        WBS Element

        see above

        Adjust F&A to Sponsor Base/Rate

        Credit

        DLC U/R Cost Center

        see above

        Adjust F&A to Sponsor Base/Rate

       

    12. When U/R has been cited as cost sharing, CAO will process the following entry at the time the WBS element is created and yearly thereafter:
    13.  

      Cost Object

      Cost Element

      Cost Element Name

      Debit

      DLC Discretionary

      800702

      Cost Sharing-Transfer Out

      Credit

      WBS Element

      800701

      Cost Sharing-Transfer In

      Debit

      WBS Element

      420317

      Cost Shared F&A Underrecovery - not MTDC

      Credit

      DLC U/R Cost Center

      420317

      Cost Shared F&A Underrecovery - not MTDC

Since the full year’s cost sharing amount is posted to the DLC’s U/R Cost Center in the first month of the project year, the net postings for this WBS element in the DLC’s U/R Cost Center will be in credit status until such time the actual U/R equals the cost sharing amount. This is rare; if you have a WBS where U/R is cost sharing, please send email to ur-issues@mit.edu for additional guidance on processing JV entries at fiscal year close.

For guidance on preparing final June entries to clear the U/R cost center, send email to ur-issues@mit.edu. Reminder: The F&A U/R cost center must net to zero at the end of each fiscal year. Therefore, funding for June F&A U/R must be processed as a final June entry in period 13.

 

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Closeout Phase

CAO final audit of overhead will be based on overhead specifications in Coeus (and on legacy system 001 forms for WBS which predate SAP implementation). Any questions CAO accountants have related to this information should be directed to the appropriate OSP Contract Administrator and DLC Administrator. After processing any overhead correction entries, CAO will send email with the JV document number to the DLC Administrator.

     

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Who to Contact with Questions:

U/R Funding Source:

DLC AO

Assigned Costing Sheet and Rates:

Your OSP Administrator

Postings to U/R Cost Center:

ur-issues@mit.edu

Preparing U/R JV Entries:

ur-issues@mit.edu

Using Data Warehouse U/R Reports:

warehouse@mit.edu

CAO Final Audit Entries:

ur-issues@mit.edu

The following CAO personnel receive emails addressed to
ur-issues@mit.edu:   Demetri Karageorge
Betty Trammell
Dale Twomey

 

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Data Warehouse Reports

To assist DLCs in monitoring U/R, four Data Warehouse (DW) reports have been created. See Data Warehouse Reports.

1.

Research F&A U/R Cost Center
For the DLC’s U/R Cost Center, the FYTD DTR entries are sorted and subtotaled by WBS. This report will assist administrators in determining the U/R amount to be funded.
 

2.

Research F&A U/R - Coeus IDC Information
For a DLC, displays Coeus IDC data for all research WBS elements that may incur F&A U/R (excluding training grants and Federal "Fixed Rate" competitive segments). This report will assist administrators in determining the source of funding for F&A U/R.
 

3.

Research F&A U/R - JV Template
DLCs may complete either the online SAP JV or the DW JV template to fund U/R. A new JV rule has been implemented for each entry that uses an U/R cost element (420316, 490318-490321, 800703-800704). The new rule requires the user to enter the WBS element number (referred to as "Allocation WBS") to which the entry refers (that is, the WBS element that incurred the U/R). The Allocation WBS is entered in column J for the JV upload; in the WBS dialog box for the online JV.

For a selected month, the DW template will produce a partially completed JV to be reviewed, completed, and uploaded to SAP by the DLC administrator. The JV template includes entries to clear the U/R cost center’s current month postings to cost elements 600316 (Adj F&A On to Spon Base/Rate) and 600317 (Adj F&A Off to Spon Base/Rate). The JV template is created based on the assumption that all debit entries to cost elements 600316 and 600317 will be cleared with a credit entry to 800704 (F&A U/R Funded Transfer In); all credit entries to 600316 and 600317 will be cleared with a debit entry to 800703 (F&A U/R Funded Transfer Out). The DLC must enter a line for the other side of the entry; that is, the debit cost object that will fund the U/R or the credit cost object to which funds will be returned.
 
The DLC reviews the template for completeness and accuracy. Template entries may not be correct, requiring change, for example:
  • U/R resulting from the assignment of an incorrect costing sheet and/or adjustment key is corrected by CAO, not DLC. This type entry should be deleted from template.
  • U/R funded by sponsor facility budget in lieu of F&A, the cost element should be changed to 420316. See #5 in the Monitoring Phase of the F&A U/R documentation.

4.

Research F&A U/R - Change in Master Data
For DLCs’ WBS elements, the monthly changes to costing sheets and adjustment keys are sorted by WBS element. This report will assist administrators in identifying the WBS that may require F&A correcting or adjusting JV entries resulting from the assignment of a wrong costing sheet and/or adjustment key. These JV entries will be prepared and processed by CAO within two weeks of month-end close.

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Related Links

Web Site

Related Links

Description

Controller's Accounting Office (CAO)

 

Documentation for New Underrecovery Process

Documentation for use in training CAO Sponsored Accounting staff.

Costing Sheets

Describes how secondary costs are applied within each costing sheet.

EB and F&A Adjustment Keys and Rates

Lists the employee benefit and overhead adjustment keys and rates.

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

 

 

OSP Documentation on Research WBS Elements

Explains how OSP handles F&A information on research WBS elements, especially underrecovery of indirect costs.

Implementation of "Fixed Rate" Requirements of A-21 Explains OSP's policy for implementing the A-21 fixed rate requirement.
Employee Benefit Rates

Lists the EB on-campus and off-campus rates by fiscal year(s).

Indirect Cost Rates

Lists F&A on-campus and off-campus rates for research and fund accounts by fiscal year(s).

U.S. Office of Management and Budget

OMB Circular A-21

See Section G-7 for provision on fixed rates for the life of the sponsored agreement.

Data Warehouse Downloading Instructions Instructions for downloading and running Brioquery reports from the web.
Research F&A U/R Reports Data Warehouse reports available for monitoring underrecovery. When you access the Data Warehouse Reports web page, scroll down the list of Research Administration reports to find individual U/R reports:
  • Research F&A U/R Cost Center
  • Research F&A U/R - Coeus IDC Information
  • Research F&A U/R - JV Template
  • Research F&A U/R - Change in Master Data

SAP for MIT Documentation on the Web

Journal Vouchers Documentation on how to create journal vouchers including a JV to transfer funds to the DLC's F&A cost center from the U/R funding source.
Journal Voucher Uploads Documentation on how to prepare journal voucher uploads including how to upload a JV to transfer funds to the DLC's F&A cost center from the U/R funding source.
CEMIT-9 Cost Element Group Instructions to display all cost elements grouped as MTDC Base/NonBase.
CEMIT-G Cost Element Group Instructions to display all cost elements grouped as Fund Fee Base/NonBase.
CEMIT-H Cost Element Group Instructions to display all cost elements grouped as TDC Base/NonBase.
SAP Lab Allocation Keys Lists the laboratory allocation keys and rates.

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Copyright 2001 © Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SAP for MIT Documentation on the Web
Last Revised: 08/30/2004