Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Audit Requirements

Sponsored agreements funded with public money (federal, state, and local government awards; subcontracts under government prime grants and contracts) are subject to full review of all project activity (program and financial) by auditors. All project activities must comply with sponsor terms and conditions and with all applicable regulations.

A list of pertinent sponsor requirements is provided in the Terms tab of the PI Portal. If requirements are complex or detailed, the award agreement or regulations can either be located in the Documents tab or by request from the sponsored program officer. Many federal agencies and some other agencies also provide their grants administration guidelines on their web pages.

The Office of Sponsored Program’s accounting, procurement, and other administrative staff are familiar with sponsor requirements and they review transactions according to these guidelines. The Office of Sponsored Programs is responsible for approving requests for items such as “after-the-fact” cost transfers and late appointments. Office of Sponsored Programs staff will request documentation from the principal investigator justifying such transactions to cover any audit questions that may arise.

Office of Sponsored Programs review notwithstanding, primary responsibility for adherence to sponsored agreement requirements rests with the principal investigator and his or her department. The principal investigator is required to certify employee time and effort, and it is his/her responsibility to ensure that the time was spent, as certified, on the specified project. In addition, the principal investigator is responsible for determining that project purchases and travel are in accordance with the budget and necessary for project performance.

To assist investigators with project management, the Office of Sponsored Programs provides up-to-date project financial information through the PI Portal. This secure website provides information about project balance, personnel appointments and commitments, non-personnel commitments, and expenditures. Month-end financial statements, which provide some additional information, are also accessible from the PI Portal. Investigators are strongly encouraged to review the fiscal information about their projects on a regular basis and to inform Office of Sponsored Programs personnel (using the PI Portal email feature, if appropriate) as quickly as possible if problems are detected.

Since all sponsored projects are subject to audit after they are completed, investigators are required to maintain project records (technical reports, project data, etc.), for at least ten years after the end date, or longer if so specified in the “records retention” section of the project agreement.