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Research Accounting

Research Acquittal Process Updates

From 13th May, a number of minor changes to the research acquittal process will come into effect, to help streamline the process, remove unnecessary touch points and improve the submission time of acquittals to research sponsors.

The key responsibilities are summarised in the table below.  Scroll down for FAQ's, guidelines and contact points for research accounting processes and queries.

Responsibility Pre Preparation Preparation Review & Approval Lodgement Escalation
Faculty Finance Review and correct ineligible income and expenses for projects in advance of acquittal preparation

ARC Acquittals: Review & approve

NHMRC & Other Acquittals: Review by exception only

ARC Acquittals: Follow up with Faculty Finance Manager

 

NHMRC & Other Acquittals: Head of School> Deputy Dean Research> Executive Dean

Research Accounting

Prepare ineligible income report for all projects

Prepare ineligible expenditure report for ARC & NHMRC projects

Complete compliance checks and journal ineligible expenses & income to default project at time of acquittal preparation

Submit acquittal directly to Chief Investigator where there are no exceptions

Lodge by due date
Chief Investigator Ensure all eligible expenses in line with the approved grant budget or agreement are costed to the project(s) three (3) weeks before the acquittal due date NHMRC & Other Acquittals: Review & approve

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the key changes to the acquittal process? 

    The key changes are as follows:

    • A more rigorous review of ineligible income and expenditure in advance of acquittal preparation.
    • The Chief Investigator with support from their Faculty Finance business partner as required is to ensure all eligible expenses are costed to the project(s) in line with the approved grant budget or agreement three weeks before the due date of an acquittal.
    • Acquittal preparation by Research Accounting will commence three weeks before the due date of an acquittal.
    • Research Accounting will submit acquittals directly to the Chief Investigator for review and approval two weeks before the due date. Faculty Finance will not be included in the email correspondence where there are no exceptions.
    • Where there are exceptions in the acquittal preparation, Research Accounting will submit the acquittal via Faculty Finance to the Chief Investigator.
    • There is a new escalation process where acquittals are overdue for submission with sponsors.

  • What does the change in process mean to a Chief Investigator?

    Research Accounting will submit acquittals directly to the Chief Investigator for review and approval where there are no exceptions.  Approval of acquittals by the Chief Investigator is to be submitted directly to Research Accounting via return email to finresearch@aelaide.edu.au.

    Queries from Chief Investigators in the acquittal review and approval process are to be directed to Research Accounting via return email to finresearch@adelaide.edu.au. Research Accounting will assess the query and action accordingly including forwarding to Faculty Finance as required.

    To ensure timely submission of acquittals to sponsors there is a new escalation process.

  • What are the exceptions when an acquittal will be sent to a Faculty Finance to review ahead of sign off by the Chief Investigator?

    Acquittals will only be sent to Faculty Finance ahead of sign off by the Chief Investigator under the following exception criteria:

    • Final acquittal and where there is a deficit balance of funds
    • Final acquittal and where there is a surplus balance of funds
    • Categorisation/sub-categorisation of expenses on an activity basis per sponsor requirements

    In determining the value of surplus funds, it is important for the Chief Investigator to ensure all eligible expenses in line with the approved grant budget or agreement has been costed to the project(s) three weeks before the due date of an acquittal.

  • How do I know when acquittals are due?

    The acquittal due dates are available from Orbit under Project Milestones in the General Details tab. These dates are sourced from the Research Master system. In the future, these dates will be sourced directly from the Grants Module in PeopleSoft Finance.

    Alternatively Faculty Finance have access to run a Milestone Status Report from Cognos Business Intelligence which also contains the acquittal due dates.

  • How do I know what expenses are ineligible? 

    Guidelines for both ARC and NHMRC ineligible expenses are available on this webpage.  For all other agreements reference should be made to the approved grant budget or agreement attached in Orbit against the project(s).

    Faculty Finance will review and correct ineligible income and expense account codes for projects no later than three weeks before the due date of an acquittal. Any transactions remaining in ineligible income and expense account codes at the time of acquittal preparation will then be journaled by Research Accounting as follows:

    • Income unrelated to the grant - to a Discretionary default project per school
    • Ineligible expenses - to the 18 Fund code (Residual Research Funds) for the Chief Investigator, the 18 Fund code (Residual Research Funds) for the School, or the Discretionary default project per school.

  • What is the new escalation process for submission of overdue acquittals? 

    Research Accounting will send a reminder email to the Chief Investigator prior to the due date. If a response is not received by the due date the following then applies:

    • One week after the due date the acquittal approval will be escalated to the Head of School.
    • Two weeks after the due date, the acquittal approval will be escalated to the Deputy Dean Research.
    • Three weeks after the due date, the acquittal approval will be escalated to the Executive Dean.

    At any stage during the escalation process the Chief Investigator will be advised by email correspondence.

  • What if I have queries about my acquittal?  

    Queries from Chief Investigators in the acquittal review and approval process are to be directed to Research Accounting via return email to finresearch@adelaide.edu.au.  Research Accounting will assess the query and action accordingly including forwarding to Faculty Finance as required.

  • Can I approve my acquittal electronically?

    Yes, the acquittal can be approved by email by replying to the Research Accounting acquittal email and include the following statement:

    “I hereby confirm that the attached acquittal statement is an accurate reflection of project income and expenditure for the reporting period and that all funds have been spent in accordance with the project agreement”.

    The approval must be sent from the Chief Investigator’s email address to be a valid approval of the acquittal.

  • Who submits an acquittal to a sponsor?

    Acquittals are submitted to sponsors directly by Research Accounting or via Research Services where an acquittal is part of other progress reporting.

Ineligible Expense Guidelines

Research Acquittal Process Maps

Key Contacts

This document provides an overview of contact points for research accounting processes and queries.