About Grant Accounting

The Grant Accounting Office (GAO) is a central administrative department within Finance and Operations that reports to the University Controller.  Grant Accounting offers the following post-award services (pre-award services are provided by the Division of Sponsored Programs).

Establish new accounts to allow spending

Once GAO receives all necessary award paperwork from the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP), GAO will notify the Principal Investigator (PI) and the departmental and collegiate offices of the grant/program number(s) applicable to the sponsored project.  The notification is sent via an email from uiris-notify@uiowa.edu to the parties listed on the Award Authorization and Activation Notice (AAAN).

Maintain grant information systems

GAO is responsible for managing the University's grant information systems.  These include:

  • ePost: a central system that tracks post-award data for each externally sponsored project.  Much of the data in this system is used to create the monthly financial reports
  • FMS: a database that tracks the line item budgets and summary financial data by project for the monthly financial reports

Collect funds from sponsors

The University collects money for its sponsored projects in several ways, including:

  • Advanced payments
  • Automatic payments based on set schedules or completed tasks
  • Cost-reimbursement or fixed-price invoices
  • Electronic funds transfer based on University draw-down for funds (“Letter of Credit”)

GAO is responsible for fund collection, depositing and accounts receivable, as well as performing follow-up with any non-paying sponsors.  Occasionally, departments may be given authority to submit invoices directly to the sponsor, but must obtain approval from GAO in advance.  Any checks received should be immediately directed to GAO for deposit.

Process invoices to pay subawardees

Subaward invoices are submitted to GAO by the subawardee.  GAO reviews each invoice for compliance with the terms and conditions of its subaward agreement prior to initiating the payment process.

Monitor and advise on sponsor regulations and fiscal allowability

Faculty and staff frequently ask for guidance regarding the appropriate expenditure of project funds.  Their questions relate primarily to the allowability of a particular cost, rebudgeting flexibility within or between budget categories, the time frame during which expenditures can be incurred and often involve interpretation by GAO staff based upon individual circumstances.

Prepare and submit financial reports for sponsors

GAO is responsible for preparing a multitude of financial reports for sponsors.  For more information on these reports, as well as other reports that GAO handles, please visit the Reporting section.  

Distribute monthly financial statements

GAO provides faculty and staff with monthly electronic financial status reports for their sponsored projects.  There are also various web applications available to assist with the financial management of accounts.  Additionally, GAO is responsible to answer transactional questions or assist faculty and staff in determining the fiscal status of their awards.  For more information, please visit the Accounting Related Tools section of our website.

Provide training on post-award administration

GAO provides training to assist campus on post-award administration of their sponsored awards.  Such training is available through Learning and Development, presentations and workshops.  GAO is also available for one-on-one type training to assist faculty or staff with topics pertaining to grant administration.

Respond to external audit requests

All externally sponsored awards are subject to sponsored review and/or audit.  GAO is responsible for coordination, negotiation and resolution of any financial review or audit related to University sponsored projects.  This includes the annual audit of federal awards required under OMB Circular A-133.  

Coordinate effort certification

GAO coordinates the effort reporting process for the University's faculty and staff.  This includes notifying personnel when effort reports are available, tracking completion of each report, following up on incomplete or late reports and providing expertise and guidance regarding the University's effort certification process.