(From the February 2014 issue of Research Now)
Occasionally shared resources (known as cores) have not been paid for services due to depletion of grant funding. When this happens the shared resource is unable to cover the cost of the services provided. To address this issue, Research Information Technology, Accounting and the Planning Department have worked together to develop an automatic encumbrance mechanism within iLabs, our shared resources ordering website.
When an order is placed and project details are agreed upon by both the core and the purchasing lab, the cost of the work to be completed is moved into an encumbered status in Navision. These funds are set aside for the core for the sole purpose of the agreed upon work and may no longer be used for another purpose.
The go live for the iLabs encumbrance is scheduled for February 14, 2014.
At what point will funds become encumbered?
Once a customer has agreed to a projected cost, the actual charges will become encumbered the following morning. The funds will be set aside and reserved only for this use.
What will the encumbrance look like in Navision?
On the Navision expense report the balance will be moved into the encumbered line. When you drill down, there will be a specific iLab number that ties back to the iLabs project number. You will need this number to go into iLabs to get additional details. Labs can also see the encumbrances in the open encumbrance report.
How will this encumber multiphase projects?
The projected cost will not be encumbered. Only when actual charges are added to the request will funds become encumbered. Each phase will be encumbered according to the milestones.
Why not encumber the entire amount of a large project?
For larger projects, project estimates may be larger than the actual charges of the work. This could be due to reduced number of samples/recruitment in the study. If funds were frozen upfront, few or no dollars would be available on the grant for other purposes.
After accepting a core charge, what if I decide not to proceed and want to use the encumbered funds for something else?
Once the iLab request has been canceled, the funds will be released from the encumbered status the following morning. Please contact the core directly to discuss canceling the order.
I have an agreed upon project but additional services are needed. When will the additional funds become encumbered?
Since the project already has been agreed upon, once the change is entered in iLabs by the core the additional funds will become encumbered.
Will Chinn, MHSA
Director, Planning & Business Analysis