Effort Administrator is a web-based effort certification and reporting system for small and mid-size universities and research intensive institutions. It is designed for two types of users, research administrators as well as research faculty and staff. Effort Administrator can be configured and implemented according to your certification policies and easily integrates with your existing ERP, payroll, or grant management system.
Effort Administrator Features
Effort Administrator User Interface
Effort Administrator incorporates a user-friendly interface that is designed like an on-line banking system. It uses drill down technology to allow users to retrieve and update time and effort records. Data filters allow users to limit data views such by individual employee, organizational unit, effort certification period, funding source, and more. Users may elect to view only records that are in the process of being certified or previously certified records. Alert flags warn users when effort records are out of compliance. Examples of warnings include notification of the user when actual time does not match committed time and when total effort does not equal 100%.
The Effort Administrator user interface may be customized to match institution color schemes and naming conventions. An internal calendar can be tailored according to your institution's policies. For example payroll periods may be weekly, biweekly, bimonthly, monthly, or a combination of these. Effort certification may be by pay period, month, quarter, semester, etc.
Multi-Level Security System
Effort Administrator provides a multi-tiered security system designed for multiple levels of administrative users as well as the end user. User rights can be enabled or disabled by individual user or by groups. The security system controls user abilities to modify, certify, and role back previously approved certified records. It allows users to access their own records or those within predefined groups such as by one or more organizational units. It also protects administrative functions such as code setup, the use of procedures that interface Effort Administrator to existing systems, and user rights definition. Effort Administrator supports single point sign on and LDAP authentication of user passwords. An internal audit trail tracks changes to all records and all data is stored inside a secure MS SQL Server database.
Multi-Level Routing and Approval System
Effort Administrator uses a multi-level routing and approval system for managing the effort certification process. It is designed for institutions implementing Effort Administrator as a time sheet or salary distribution data entry system or when payroll records are imported into Effort Administrator from an existing system. In both cases, the end user starts the approval process by reviewing and applying an electronic signature and time stamp to certify their own time and effort records. Effort Administrator then alerts and passes the users approved and certified records to the appropriate administrator according to a pre-defined approval hierarchy. Examples of administrators in the hierarchy include principal investigators (overseeing their research team), department chairmen, department and school level administrators, and administrators within an Office of Sponsored Programs. An electronic signature and time stamp is recorded for each administrator in the approval chain.
Once certified, time and effort records are locked and modification is prevented unless the certification is rolled back by a user with appropriate authority. Once a users effort records are unlocked, they can either be modified and recertified by the administrator or returned to the end user for correction. Administrator and user comments are recorded should modification be required. The actual effort records are not modified, but additional effort “debit / credit” transactions are used to correct the situation thereby maintaining a historical audit log. A PDF file of each certified effort statement is also stored in the database.
Alerts and Notification Systems
Effort Administrator’s alerts and notification systems are designed to simplify and streamline the management of the effort certification process. Users are alerted to potential compliance or rule violations such as effort not totaling 100%, paid effort not equaling actual time, and actual time not equaling to committed time. In addition, administrators are alerted and notified when there are effort records awaiting their completion as part of the approval chain; and when users have failed to certify their records for an effort certification period. The alert and notification system uses both status symbols on the Effort Administrator toolbar and e-mail notifications to accomplish this process.
Generation of Certified Effort Statements
Effort Administrator provides certified effort statements by employee and certification period. Certified effort statements include:
Effort certification period (date range)
Employee name, title, and home organizational unit
Account code, description / title, and summary of corresponding time and effort records for each activity and / or funding source
Totals for sponsored research and non-sponsored funds
The institutions statement that confirms the employees knowledge of the certified activity
Time stamp and electronic signature of the employee and administrator certifying the records
Depending on the implementation type (payroll or time sheet) effort records are presented as percent (or hours) of payroll, actual time, cost shared, and time committed to the project. Certified effort statements can be customized to meet the specific reporting requirements of the institution and can be displayed, printed, or exported to PDF files.
Integration with Existing Systems
Effort Administrator easily integrates with the standard ERP, general ledger, payroll, and grants management software systems used by higher education, research hospitals, and independent research institutes. Payroll records, employee information, account and organizational codes, as well as committed effort records can all be imported from these systems into Effort Administrator. When Effort Administrator is implemented to certify effort based on employee time sheets, the resulting time records may be exported to the institutions payroll system as well.