Personnel Activity Reporting System
Formerly Executive Memorandum 83-65
Initially approved February 15, 1983
Revised January 22, 2001
Administering Office: Controller's Office
I. GENERAL AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Federal Circular A-21, issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, sets forth
the principles that determine allowable costs for work performed by colleges and universities
under contracts, grants, and other forms of sponsored agreements. These principles
govern the charges that may be made to sponsored agreements, financial administration
of sponsored agreements, and the documentation that must be maintained for Federal
audit of allowable costs.
Contracts and grants at Western Carolina University are administered in accordance
with the provisions of Circular A-21.
II. EFFORT DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM REQUIRED UNDER OMB CIRCULAR A-21
Circular A-21, as revised October 27, 1998, stipulates that, when personnel costs
are charged to a sponsored agreement or contributed as cost-sharing, they must be
supported by a report of personnel activity which verifies (a) that the costs charged
are actual, (b) that the work was performed, and (c) that the distribution of activity
represents a reasonable estimate of work performed. The principal features of the
personnel activity reporting system at Western Carolina University are these:
1. The Personnel Activity Report substantiates that effort pledged to a sponsored
agreement was rendered. Direct charges to a sponsored agreement for salaries, wages,
and fringe benefits will be made initially through the payroll procedure and verified
in the after-the-fact report of activity. University cost-sharing in sponsored agreements
must also be documented in the activity report but is not reflected in the payroll.
2. Each employee who is paid wholly or in part from a sponsored agreement or whose
effort is pledged for cost-sharing in a sponsored agreement will report a distribution
of activity that accounts for 100% of the activities covered by his/her normal compensation.
The percent of effort associated with each sponsored agreement, each cost-sharing
commitment, and other University duties must be separately identified by account name
3. Professional and professorial employees engaged in sponsored agreements must complete
activity reports on a minimum schedule of once each academic term. Other employees
engaged in sponsored agreements must complete an activity report on a minimum schedule
of once each month.
III. THE PERSONNEL ACTIVITY REPORTING SYSTEM FOR WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
1. The Activity Report form will be distributed to each affected employee by the Grants
Accounting Section of the University Controller's office. When issued, the report
form will reflect percentages of effort budgeted for one or more sponsored agreements
and for other University duties.
2. The Activity Report form is to be reviewed by the employee, revised if necessary,
signed by the employee, and endorsed by the accountable officer for each sponsored
3. For EPA personnel, reports will be made at the end of each semester and at the
end of Summer School; for SPA personnel, reports will be made monthly.
4. The completed Activity Reports will be returned to and maintained by the Grants
Accounting Section of the University Controller's office.
5. The percentage of an employee's effort that is pledged to a sponsored agreement
and the percentage of his compensation charged to that agreement must not be significantly
dissimilar. The guidelines to be followed in establishing equivalency between percentage
of effort and salary are set forth in a document titled "Salary Determinations Pertinent
to Grant and Contract Activities and Projects." This document is available in the
Office of Academic Affairs and the Grants Accounting Section of the Controller's Office.