Frequently asked questions

Research Accounting

Can I sign a funding agreement or contract?

  • No – only a limited number of individuals can sign on behalf of the University as per University Policy No. FM5100 – Signing Authority.

How do I know when my new research account has been opened?

  • You will receive a copy of the Opening Account Memo – OAM,  which indicates the account number, start and end date and budget.  The original is sent to Research Accounting so that the account can be opened. 

How do I access my research account in FAST?

Why do I need to understand the regulations for spending funds under a specific grant?

  • Being aware of, and understanding the terms and conditions for the use of your grant funds protects you from incurring an expense that may subsequently be found to be ineligible, and require you to reimburse the account.  Funding agencies are being much more vigilant in their review of the use of grant funds.  In addition to regular audits, we are frequently required to submit copies of supporting documentation for expenses incurred.

Does the budget in my account represent my whole grant?

  • For multi year awards, budget is only added to the account for each fiscal year as it occurs.  Granting agencies commit to funding only for the current fiscal year and generally make payments to the University over the course of the year via a number of payments.

How is budget added and who do I talk to if I think there should be more budget?

  • Research Accounting adds budget as scheduled by the specific funder.

How can I check if my budget for this fiscal year has been added?

Using FAST you can click on the top of the “Total Budget” column in your account and get the details of the budget of amounts that have been added.

What is the difference between current fiscal and project to date viewing?

  • Current year includes only transactions that have occurred in the current fiscal year.  You will not see any details from prior years and the balance of the account will not include any carryover (positive or negative) from previous years.   Research accounts should always be viewed as project to date – this will provide an accurate financial statement of your account.

What is the balance of my account?

  • The figure in the lower right hand corner of the report, in the Budget Balance column, is the current balance of your account.   It does not include expenses that have not been claimed or which may be pending.

Why can’t I pay for another claimant’s expenses?

  • The Financial Information Act requires the University to report annually the total amount of remuneration and expenses paid to employees over a certain threshold.  Tracking this requires us to split out and record expenses for each individual separately.

Why do I have to submit a Travel expense claim when I’ve already received a Prepaid or Travel Advance?

  • Completing a Travel Expense Claim enables us to clear the outstanding prepaid/travel advance from the account and collect and retain the necessary original receipts.

What documentation is required when submitting a travel claim?

  • Sponsoring agencies require proof of boarding to be included with any claim for reimbursement of air travel expenses. A boarding pass, or other proof of boarding, is an essential piece of supporting documentation as it is proof that the traveller actually took the flight. To comply with this requirement, you should retain your boarding pass(es), or print a copy of the electronic boarding pass(es), and submit it along with any request for reimbursement of travel expenses.
  • Documentation required for claiming air travel expenses:
  • Boarding pass, or other proof of boarding
  • Invoice/itinerary for air travel confirming the amount as well as the method of payment used

Why do you need all of the original receipts and proof that payments were made?

  • Reimbursements are routinely reviewed by Financial Accounting, internal and external auditors, granting agencies and the Canada Revenue Agency and must be supported by original receipts.   Original receipts provide information regarding the nature of the expense and are also confirmation that the expense has not been claimed from another source. 

Why do I need to provide a declaration if the original receipts are missing?

  • If original receipts are not available, a signed declaration initialled by the Expense Report approver must be attached certifying the date the expenses were incurred, that the original bill has been lost or misplaced and that reimbursement for these expenses will not be claimed from any other source.   This provides documentation for subsequent review of the reimbursement by internal and external auditors, granting agencies and Canada Revenue Agency. 

Why can’t I approve reimbursements for myself?

Signing authority works on a “one-over-one” basis; individuals require approval from a senior authority for expenses reimbursed to themselves.

Why do I need to provide a list of participants attending an event and their affiliation to UVic?

  • Names of the participants are required for clarification of the expense claims and for University reporting purposes.  See Hospitality Policy FM5600.

Why do I need to provide additional information to justify an expense?

  • All expenses incurred must be for the purposes of the research being funded.  Where the nature of the expense or how it relates to the research is not clear, additional information or clarification will be requested. 

Why can’t I deposit unrelated funds to an existing account?

  • Funders require a demonstrated accounting of how their funds were spent.  The terms and conditions of research agreements require that funds be maintained in a separate, dedicated account.   This applies to both existing accounts and any new funds.