Close Out an Award

Last updated on June 17, 2016 6 min read Manage an Award & Financials - Close Out an Award

Financial Closeout

Financial Closeout is a shared responsibility between Sponsored Programs Post-Award and Departmental Administrators working with their Principal Investigators. Typical Financial Closeout Reports include: Final Invoices, Final Financial Reports, Property Reports, Contractor Assignment and Release Forms, and Subcontract Plan Reports (Small Business Reports).

Sponsored Programs assists with X-Train reporting as needed.

All financial reports must be reviewed and approved by someone within Sponsored Programs Post Award. Principal Investigators are not allowed to submit financial reports without the approval of SP-Post.

The award end date determines the time frame in which the research or project should be complete and the closeout process should begin. Generally, the closeout period is 90 days, but award terms should be checked to verify. Departments are responsible for ensuring that the award is in the proper status for closeout. Research Accounting is responsible for filing all financial reports. NIH will initiate unilateral closeout – i.e. closeout without receipt of acceptable final reports – for all awards that fail to meet closeout requirements within 120 calendar days so it’s very important to meet closeout deadlines.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you ensure that your award is ready for closeout.

Cost Sharing

Verify that all required cost sharing has been met, properly documented, and funded.

For more information, please visit our website on Cost Sharing.


Notify Property Management at 617-353-4555 if this award has a fabrication that is now complete. Fabricated assets should be converted to capital assets before the award is closed out. If this award has federally-owned or government-furnished equipment, the Property Administrator will coordinate final disposition instructions with the Federal Government and the SP-Post RA will complete the required property reports. For forms and additional information, please visit the Property Management website.

Financial Reports

Research Accounting will submit financial reports after verifying the ending balance with your department administrator. Department Administrators have already ensured all expenditures are appropriate to the award using guidance found in Manage an Award . This review includes confirming that all expenditures are for goods and services received during the period of performance.

No-Cost Extensions

If you are planning to request a no-cost extension, contact Sponsored Programs Pre-RA at least 60 days prior to the project period end date to initiate the extension process. If you have already initiated this process with the sponsor outside of sponsored programs, please let your SP Pre- and Post- RA know as soon as possible.

Noncompliance with award closeout policies, including late submission of financial status reports, may jeopardize future funding from sponsors.

You can find more information on No Cost Extensions on our training page, including rules by sponsor and frequently asked questions.

Operating Expenses

Are any expenses outstanding? Verify departmental encumbrances against SAP/BW records and track all outstanding items. Remind all project personnel to submit any last minute expenses so that these are processed before the end date of the award.

Over-expenditures / Cost overruns

Cost Overruns on Sponsored Awards are not allowed and must be removed prior to closeout. This practice was implemented by leadership in 2008 as stated in the memo below.

SP- Post makes every attempt to work with the department to remove cost overruns. If the department is unresponsive to numerous requests, SP-Post will remove the costs directly following the memo guidance.

TO: Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Principal Investigators and Departmental Administrators
FROM: David K. Campbell, Ph.D., Provost, Boston University Karen Antman, M.D., Provost, Medical Campus Martin J. Howard, Vice President for Financial Affairs and Treasurer
SUBJECT: Financial Oversight and Over Expenditure of Sponsored Project Awards
DATE: August 29, 2008

As Boston University’s Sponsored Research activities increase, we must identify and implement more effective management and compliance oversight of research contracts. The regulatory administrative workload associated with documentation and timely agency reporting are daily challenges. Additionally, any awards that are overspent without available grant or department funding create a deficit for the department and the University.

The Principal Investigator (PI) is ultimately responsible for the technical and financial aspects of a sponsored award. In most situations, the PI will work with a departmental business administrator in the financial oversight of the award. PI’s and/or departmental business administrators must review expenditures on awards throughout the life of the award. Review of expenditures is an ongoing process and should not be postponed until the preparation of a final report of expenditures. This review should entail the timely review of accounts, as well as the certification of effort through the Personnel Activity Report (PAR).

With respect to over expenditures of sponsored project budgets, Research Administration (RA) will continue to monitor spending on awards throughout the life of the project. If current expenditures or projected costs exceed the budgeted amount, RA will contact the Department to determine how to fund the overdraft (i.e., imminent additional funding, transfers to remove costs, etc.).

Effective immediately, departments must remove over expenditures within 30 days of notification. If the overdraft is not cleared within 30 days, RA will transfer the overdraft amount to the department, freeze the specific grant account to prevent further expenditures and send a confirmation to the PI and the Department Head.

Thank you for your continued support and fiscal responsibility.

Commitment Closeout

Commitments are closed as follows:

  • Subaward commitments that start with 45 are closed by SP-Post after a final invoice is received from the subawardee
  • ISRs must be closed by the service provider and it is the Department Administrator’s responsibility to contact them
  • All other commitments are Sourcing & Procurement related and the initiator and/or Department Administrator are responsible for contacting

For awards that are in a closing status such as SP or CLOSED open commitments can only be cleared if the status is updated. Please contact your SP-Post RA to update a status.


Are the salaries of key project personnel properly charged to this account in accordance with the level of effort proposed to the awarding agency? All other salaries should be expensed through the payroll system.

Residual Funds/ Refunds to Sponsors

Funds received for fixed price, active research projects are restricted for the duration of the study and will be used for the support of that research project. Boston University expects that Faculty and Departments will direct charge all expenses including, but not limited to, personnel, fringe benefits, lab supplies, and subawards. After the completion of a research project, if payments exceed expenditures, a portion of the remaining residual funds will be transferred to the Departments’ Unrestricted account if the following conditions are met:

  • Total Funding Received exceeds Total Expenditures
  • Sponsored agreement is Fixed Price
  • All deliverables have been met
  • In the signed agreement, the sponsor does not require the return of residual funds

If the above conditions are met, Boston University will distribute residual funding once indirect costs are removed from the remaining cash balance at the current negotiated F&A rate when the account enters residual status.

Funds from a residual research account may be used to support ongoing research projects and research-related activities at Boston University. All expenditures must be consistent with policies and procedures established by Boston University.


Are subaward obligations complete? Remind subawardees to submit final invoices within the timeframe specified in the agreement.

For more information, please visit our website on Subawards.

Non-Financial Closeout

Non-Financial Closeout is a shared responsibility between Sponsored Programs Pre Award and Departmental Administrators working with their Principal Investigators. Typical Non-Financial Closeout Reports include: Final Technical or Progress Report, Invention/Patent Statement.

Sponsored Programs assists with X-Train reporting as needed.

Key Contacts

Other Award End Activities

Carryover and No Cost Extension Guidance

Carryovers and No Cost Extensions may help you carry forward unobligated funds or extend your project period, with the appropriate justifications.


Sponsored agreements are subject to review by auditors. Sponsored Programs Post Award manages the audit process to ensure compliance with federal research funding rules and regulations.

Cash Management

Cash Management is responsible for all non-student University Billing, both Sponsored and Non-Sponsored. This includes Miscellaneous Receivables and Sponsored Research.

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