Post Award

General Information: Federal Effort Reporting Process (PERT)


Effort is the work or proportion of time spent on any activity and expressed as a percentage of total time.

The total percentage of effort committed in the budgets of active sponsored projects, as cost sharing or other contributed effort, teaching, clinical activities, public service, and other administrative endeavors must not exceed 100% of the individual's total university appointment.

While total effort of 100% must be reported, this does not equate to any set number of hours, e.g., 40 or 50 hours per week. The HR/Payroll system (GEMS) uses standard hours of 40 to indicate 100% FTE, 30 hours as 75% FTE, etc. This does not mean that 1.0 FTE exempt employees, including faculty, work only 40 hours per week.

Why is PERT or effort reporting important?

The certification of effort reports in PERT assures Federal agencies and sponsors providing Federal funding that monies paid to the University for the salaries and wages of individuals working on sponsored projects have been appropriately expended. It provides the principal means for certifying that these sponsor funded salaries and wages, the largest component of expenses charged to sponsored projects, are consistent with the effort contributed. It is critical that everyone involved in the certification of effort understand that severe civil and criminal penalties and cost disallowances can result from inaccurate, incomplete, or untimely reporting.

Sponsors and auditors must be able to verify that committed cost sharing (or matching/in-kind) has been provided. PERT provides the mechanism for documenting cost-shared salary expenses. In the absence of this documentation, sponsors can reduce the total project funding or reimbursement provided for sponsored project costs.

The United States Government Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published regulations OMB Circular A-21 requires educational institutions to maintain an accurate system for reporting the percentage of time that employees devote to federally funded projects. In accepting Federal funding, the university and Principal Investigator agree to comply with this regulation. PERT effort reports are designed to meet A-21 requirements and are the only authorized approach for federal effort reporting at USF. In the absence of an appropriate effort reporting system, salaries and wages will not be reimbursed or funded with federal dollars.