University of California, Riverside

PI Web Reporting System

Annual Payroll Certification System

This section provides PIs information and guidance necessary to perform Annual Payroll Certifications


UCR has received approval to participate in an 18 month Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) project that will REPLACE the current paper-based effort reporting system with online payroll certifications. The new Annual Payroll Certification system will be made available as a separate menu item within the PI Web Reporting System (PIWRS). When comparing the existing after-the-fact effort reporting system to the new Annual Payroll Certification process, UCR believes that payroll certifications will provide greater accountability, accuracy, efficiency, and transparency as well as better align with federal financial status reporting.







Effort Reporting - Background

The federal government requires institutions to have a process in place to certify that salary expenses on federally funded sponsored projects represent an equitable distribution of charges based on an employee's work activities.

UCR has historically utilized a paper form, known as the PAR or Personnel Activity Report, to comply with this federal requirement.

However, this paper based process is not efficient.and effort reporting in general has NOT resulted in clear and unambiguous contract and grant payroll/effort reviews and certifications.

As a result, UCR submitted a proposal to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to participate in a Federal Demonstration Partnership to replace effort reporting with Annual Payroll Certification System.  DHHS approved the request!

UCR's Annual Payroll Certification System (accessed via the PI Web Reporting System), Principal Investigators (PIs) will certify payroll expenditures are reasonable in relation to the work performed on the sponsored project.

It is anticipated that UCR's Annual Payroll certification system will demonstrate enhanced accountability, accuracy, efficiency, transparency, and timing of federal contract and grant compliance activities.


Preparing for Annual Payroll Certifications

A PI's fiduciary responsibilities include the review of costs charged to sponsored projects on a monthly basis to ensure the appropriateness of expenses and prompt identification of errors so timely adjustments can be initiated.

UCR's PI Web Reporting System (PIWRS) is a campus reporting tool that generates monthly Contract & Grant financial reports for the PI.

Please note that the PIWRS provides PIs with the capability to formally record the review of MONTHLY salaries and expenditures.

The PIWRS also includes tools for PIs to review detailed payroll and benefit information from both the Summary Report and the Current Period Detail Report.

The monthly reviews should facilitate the Annual Payroll Certification process as PIs will have confidence in the salary charges appearing on the annual report.

More information concerning the PIWRS Monthly Expenditure Reviews.


Payroll Certification Process - Overview

UCR's Payroll Certification System is contained within the PIWRS - it is a link on the main menu.

UCR PIs and department administrative staff may access the PIWRS via the R'Space portal. The PIWRS is a link within the Authorized Applications portlet.

PIs and his/her department administrative staff will receive e-mails when the annual certifications are due.

Certifications are required annually for federal and federal flow through funds.

Certifications are based on the sponsored award's project period.  For example, an Award with a project period of 5/1/2011 through 4/30/2014 would require three certifications:

  • 5/1/2011 to 4/30/2012
  • 5/1/2012 to 4/30/2013
  • 5/1/2013 to 4/30/2014

For awards requiring certification, the Payroll Certification System presents PIs with one report by fund.  The report includes all salary charges by employee for the reporting period in question.

Cost Sharing and adjustment information as entered by the department are included on the report.

After reviewing the list of employees, salary, cost sharing, and adjustment information, PI's should certify the salary expenses.

PIs are asked to certify that payroll expenses are reasonable in relationship to the work performed, salary costs directly benefit the project and conform to the agency's terms and conditions.



Cost Sharing / Adjustment - Departmental Support Role

Prior to the Annual Payroll Certification System becoming available to PIs, an email will be sent to Departmental Coordinators on an fund-by-fund basis.

If required, the Departmental Coordinator may enter:

  • Direct Salary Adjustments.  These adjustments should be infrequent and related to pending cost transfers. A comment is required when a direct salary adjustment is entered. More info...
  • Direct Salary Adjustment Reversals.  If an award is not ending and requires a Direct Salary Adjustment in the current certification period, there is a high probability the adjustment will require a reversal in the next certification period. More info...
  • Salary Adjustment Reversal Date.  For Salary Adjustment Reversals, the reversal date for the Payroll Cost Transfer must be entered, matching the month and year that the corresponding entry will be entered in PPS for processing. More info...
  • Cost Shared Salary.  Coordinators will be required to input the Full Accounting Unit (FAU) and total salary charged to the cost shared FAU for the reporting period. More info...

Department Coordinators should review the Cost Notes and enter comments as appropriate.

Comments may be entered for the entire report or on a line-by-line (employee-by-employee) basis.

Direct Salary Adjustments, Cost Sharing data, and comments will be available to PIs as they perform their certifications.

PIs may elect to edit this information as appropriate or simply add additional comments as needed.                      

















Performing Payroll Certifications

  • Access Review
  • Reviewing Data
  • Cost Note Review
  • Certifying Reports

UCR's PI Web Reporting System (PIWRS) is a campus reporting tool that generates monthly Contract & Grant financial reports for Principal Investigators (PIs). UCR's Annual Payroll Certification is contained within the PI Web Reporting System as a link on the main menu. PIs will receive an e-mail (and reminders as required) when Certifications are due.                              








Performing Payroll Certifications - Access Review

  • UCR PIs receive email notification when a fund requires Annual Certification. PIs access PIWRS via the R'Space portal and select the PIWRS link within the Authorized Applications portlet.

  • The Annual Payroll Certification(s)  will be available from the main menu in PIWRS.

    The number of awards to be certified will be noted just to the right of the link.

    Click the Annual Payroll Certification link to launch the Annual Payroll Certification system.

Certification Due
  • Funds requiring Certification will be presented.

    Click on a fund to view the payroll certification report.


Performing Payroll Certifications - Reviewing Data

  • Salary expenditures display for the budget year by employee and UCRFS Activity Code (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, etc.)


  • PIs should review the following information to ensure expenses are reasonable based on the work performed on the project:
  • Employee Name
  • Direct Project Salary Charges
  • Adjustments (and related Comments)
  • Cost Sharing Salary Information
  • Ratio of Award Funded Salary to Total Employee  Salary for the related budget year.


Performing Payroll Certifications - Cost Note Review

  • The report also includes a column labeled "Cost Notes".  The Cost Notes are used to alert the PI about a potential are of concern.

Performing Payroll Certifications - Certifying Reports

  • After completing the review of salary data, the PI should click the CLICK HERE TO CERTIFY REPORT link.


A confirmation message will display.

All Certification Reports include standard statements.

Other statements will be presented if Cost Notes appear.

Click CERTIFY to complete the certification.


Additional Certification Notes

  • Once certified, the electronic record of the certification will be retained for audit purposes.
  • Salary certification must be completed to comply with the federal government requirements.
  • Uncertified salaries will require the transfer of the salaries to a departmental unrestricted funding source.


PIWRS Payroll Tools

To assist with the salary review, PIs have two tools within PIWRS for reviewing detailed payroll information:

  • Payroll Overview Report.  PIs may review ALL payroll information posted against their funds using the Payroll Overview Report (this report is accessed via the Payroll Overview Tab link on the right side of the Summary Report. This interactive report provides PIs with payroll and benefit information by fund, employee name, and month.
  • Payroll "Drill Down".  From the Current Period Detail Report, PIs may click on either payroll or benefit amounts and additional details about the expense will be presented.








Definition of "Liability" Associated with Certifications

Certifications made within the Annual Salary Certification are good faith acknowledgments. This means there is a reasonable belief the financial/salary information that is personally known to the Certifier is accurate.

With respect to the financial/salary information that is not personally known to the Certifier, it is appropriate for the Certifier to rely on the financial/salary information provided when s/he has no personal knowledge of inaccuracies/weaknesses.

If the Certifier has personal knowledge of inaccuracies or weaknesses, and has disclosed such inaccuracies/weaknesses, it is reasonable for the Certifier to rely on the financial /salary information in light of that disclosure.

There is a personal liability only if the Certifier has knowingly provided an untrue certification, i.e. has engaged in intentional fraud or deliberate unlawful conduct. If there has been negligence by the support staff that has resulted in an error that is not obvious and not known to the Certifier, no personal liability would be attached to the Certifier.












E-mail Notifications

Payroll Certifications should occur within 21 days of notification to the PI. Several email notifications will be system generated to facilitate the Certification process:

  • Notice One:  1st Day Following the Budget Year's End Date,
  • Notice Two:  8th Day of the Month following the Project's Budget End Date
  • Notice Three:  15th Day of the Month following the Project's Budget End Date
  • Notice Four:  30th Day of the Month following the Project's Budget End Date
  • Notice Five:  37th Day of the Month following the Project's Budget End Date
  • Notice Six:  45th Day of the Month following the Project's Budget End Date

If the Certification is not completed within the required timeframe, the Organization unit (i.e, Dean, Vince Chancellor) is notified and asked to provide a departmental unrestricted FAU to transfer uncertified salary expenses.












More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Computing & Communications
Computing & Communications Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-4741
Fax: (951) 827-4541