Payroll CERTS/Schedules


The university uses a web-based process to collect and record all employees' biweekly payroll activities. All departments use the Payroll Certification System (CERTS) to prepare and approve their biweekly payroll transactions. Departments will enter the Payroll Certification System through the MyUSF Portal.

Departmental Roles in CERTS

In CERTS, there are two levels of department access - preparers and certifiers. The Preparer Table is stored via CERTS Online, and will be maintained by the department certifier(s). The certifier information is maintained by the Payroll Department. A department certifier or accountable officer should send a signed letter or memo to the University Payroll Office when requesting a change to their department certifier record.

Certs Processing Procedure

CERTs Role Grid

CERTs Preparer Any non-student employee in the department or business unit, who has knowledge of hours worked based on timesheets submitted, and can enter those reported hours into the CERTs data entry screen. Ideally, this person should be a Staff or Administration employee.

CERTs Certifier Employees in the department or business unit who is in a Supervisory Position or who has Budgetary Spending Authority/Accountable Officer for that department and can be: an Administration Employee, Faculty/Adjunct or Staff in a supervisory position.

Payroll Certification Adjustment Form (PCAF) Form Preparer Any CERTS Preparer or Certifier in the employee’s department or business unit
Payroll Certification Adjustment Form (PCAF) Form Approver CERTs Certifier (see above) and cannot be the same signature as the PCAF preparer.


Reconciliation ALT CERTs GEMS

Segregation of Duties

An individual can be included on both the "Preparer" and "Certifier" tables. This will allow them to perform both functions. However, the same individual cannot perform both functions for the same employee within a single pay period. The certifier is responsible for assuring the accuracy of the payroll certifications.

Compare Payroll CERTS to Actual Time Records

It is recommended that information entered into the Payroll Certifications be compared to actual time records by someone independent of the preparation process to ensure accuracy of the information entered.

The Payroll Certification Process

Payroll Certification Reports

Corrections to Information Certified Online

In rare cases, when there are corrections needed to information certified online, the following process can be used to submit a change request after the CERTS are closed.

Payroll Certification (PCAF) Form Instructions and Adjustment Form

 Payroll Bi-weekly Schedules

       2024-2025 Schedule

       2023-2024 Schedule - Revised 1/10/2024

Important Deadlines for Processing

The bi-weekly schedule contains many important deadlines for processing employment related actions in GEMS including all Payroll deadlines.


Definitions of Payroll Terms

  • ALT – Automated Leave Tracking System.
  • Appointment Guarantee Dates – Due date for employment and pay change actions that will affect a particular pay period.
  • CERTS Creation – The process that opens up the Payroll Certification (CERTS) system for processing. This process is typically run on a Monday to begin Payroll Processing.
  • Combo Code – A string of information used for Pay Distribution that includes items such as Account, Department, Operating Unit, etc.
  • DSGI – Department of State Government Insurance
  • FAST – The Financial Accounting System
  • Mini-Certs – A process that brings in changes made on Job Data in GEMS between CERTS Creation and when this is run. This process is typically run on a Wednesday during processing.
  • NRA – Non-Resident Alien.
  • On-Demand Check – This is a live/manual paycheck.
  • Pay Cycles – The two week period defined on the Bi-Weekly Processing Schedule.
  • Pay Period Begin Date – The first day of the pay period, typically on a Friday.
  • Pay Period End Date – The last/final day of the pay period, typically on a Thursday.
  • Payroll Confirm – The process that finalizes the payroll processing for the bi-weekly period. This process assigns the check numbers to the payments, and no further changes can be made to the current payroll.
  • Payroll Has Been Posted – This is when payroll has been successfully budget checked and posted to the General Ledger. Any distributions done after this process, must be initiated via the RET process.
  • PCAF – Payroll Certification Adjustment Form (can be found under forms on the Payroll Intranet page)
  • PeopleFirst – The provider of our state benefits. Benefits changes go through their system, including open enrollment, marriage, change in plans, etc.
  • RET – Retroactive Expenditure Transfer. These happen when money that has been paid and posted needs to be reallocated to a different distribution.
  • RSA Check – Remaining Spending Authority Check. This part of budget checking, and is done after the Payroll is confirmed but prior to the payroll posting to the General Ledger.