What is research expenditure testing?
Research expenditure testing is where we sample expenses charged to externally restricted research projects to test whether the expense is an eligible expense and complies with sponsor guidelines and policies.
The importance of expenditure testing
There is heavy reliance on expenditure testing by many parties including external auditors and external funding agencies. External auditors will use this information in assessing University of Alberta’s internal control environment.
How does Research Services Office (RSO) do expenditure testing?
We first sample expenditures throughout the year that were charged to research projects. Supporting documentation for these samples are then requested to ensure the expenditures are adequate and sufficient for institutional reviewers to determine that the expenses were both eligible and compliant.
What makes an expense ineligible?
An expense is ineligible when it is expressly prohibited by a sponsor or not directly related to research activities.
What makes an expense non-compliant?
A non-compliant expenditure generally refers to documentation for that expense that fails to meet a number of strict guidelines set out by sponsors.
Review of supporting documents
Supporting documents should be provided to RSO as soon as possible, generally within one week. This allows us to do our review. After our review, any concerns about either eligibility or compliance will be brought to the attention of the administrator, if applicable, and principal investigator. This enables any issues identified to be solved in a timely manner.
Our institution has not only the right, but also the responsibility to withhold payment of expenses that go against agency requirements or institutional policies. This is in accordance with Tri-Agency guidelines. The internal control administrator of a department fulfills this duty and is essential to this process.
Research Expenditure Best Practice Guide
This resource was developed to help researchers and administrators meet the financial obligations of our sponsors (with a particular emphasis on the Tri Agencies) and UAlberta policies and procedure requirements. The guide contains a list of common issues identified through our expenditure testing process and provides solutions for dealing with the issues. Please note the guide should be used in conjunction with relevant sponsor guidelines and UAlberta policies and procedures.