Monitoring Research Work Orders

Financial Reporting and Systems 

There are a few different methods to access financial reporting on campus.  

  • Each month, PIs are e-mailed a financial report which contains a summary of all their work orders as well as a detailed statement for each individual work order 
  • PowerBI has many reports that can be used to see active balances for each work order at a high level, as well as details of expenses in work orders. These can be accessed from the ‘Access to Power BI’ button on the Finance website, then under ‘Apps’ on the left bar, and ‘Finance - Campus Reports’. 
  • Users can run queries in the financial system, Unit4, to obtain additional financial information. For log in and user manual information please see the Finance website. The most commonly used reports are: 
    • Research Net Funds Available Enquiry – this report can be run to show the available funds for a particular work order
    • Actual Transaction Enquiry – this report can be run to obtain the actual transactions (revenue and expense) which have been charged to a work order 
  • Users are notified by e-mail when a task has been assigned to them in the financial system; it is important that tasks are addressed on a timely basis so that the transactions are not delayed 
  • Posted amounts may be slightly less than invoiced amounts due to the HST rebate 
  • PIs are responsible for reviewing the financial transactions on their projects each month 
  • Correcting journal entries can be requested to correct errors in accordance with the Finance guideline and should be requested in a timely manner.  

Budget information 

  • Budgets are set up in the financial system as specified in the research agreement. In most cases, the entire budget is setup at the beginning of the agreement. For some specific grants budgets may be set up for future years, these will be visible as future budget; budgets for multi-year research agreements denominated in a foreign currency are set up annually. 
  • Overhead is generally fully committed at the beginning of the term of the research agreement; this means that the net funds available has been reduced by the applicable overhead. In cases where the budget is set up annually, the overhead is also committed annually. 
  • Income shows on the financial report when the associated invoice has been created (not when the invoice has been paid). 


  • Revenue showing in the financial system will include any invoices that are not received. 
  • Research Finance will follow up with the customer of unpaid invoices. If there are issues collecting funds, the applicable RFA/RPA will contact the PI. 
  • Unpaid invoices are written off against the work order and any resulting deficit is the responsibility of the PI, department and/or faculty. 

Work order extensions  

  • Strict end dates exist for most programs (including Tri-Agency, OCI, CFI, and ERAs). Work order extensions can be discussed with Pre-Awards in advance of the work order end date. In most cases, a work order extension requires formal approval from the research sponsor. 
  • Research work orders may be extended (with approval) if: 
    • a free balance remains at the end of the term and additional expenses are anticipated; or 
    • all of the required deliverables have not been completed prior to the end date. 

Expense transfers or corrections to research work orders 

  • Expense transfers or corrections are used to move an expense that has already been recorded in the general ledger to a different work order. 
  • Every effort should be made to code transactions correctly so that internal adjustments are not needed. In some situations, expenses which have been charged to a research work order can be transferred to a different work order (operating or research).
  • Transfers from an operating work order to a research work order are not normally allowed unless a research grant is backdated. 
  • Please refer to the Finance website for further information about expense transfers and the forms used to request a transfer
  • Expense transfers or corrections involving a research work order are subject to review by the appropriate faculty finance officer (or equivalent), the Office of Research, and the processing unit (Finance or Payroll). Faculties, departments, institutes, or schools may have additional review requirements. 
  • When completing an expense transfer form, please note: 
    • Expense transfers should be completed on an exception-basis only; proactive monitoring of research work orders and the use of interim research accounts should reduce the need for transfers 
    • When a salary is being transferred, the form should note that the salary allocation for future pay periods has been considered; if needed, the salary allocation change request form should be used (doing this will inform the reviewers that where the salary will be charged in future months has been considered) 
    • Transfers of transactions made in Quest can be completed by the appropriate grad studies coordinator directly with the Grad Studies office 
    • All transfer forms should include an explanation of the situation leading to the transfer 
    • All transfers to NIH, or U.S. government agency work orders must include a declaration from the PI stating that the expenses being transferred are directly related to the project to which the expenses are being transferred. Under the best practices, the declaration should be included for other sponsors as well. 
    • As noted in the Finance procedure, transfers must: 
      • Be greater than $500 in value (note exceptions can be made for research corrections, contact Research Finance if unsure if your correction meets the criteria) 
      • Be completed within four months of the transaction date   
      • Be completed within the current university fiscal year