- Tiered Business Rules
Every EARS transaction is filtered through a series of business rules. Rules can be attached to the funding source, transaction type, employee group, or individual employee. The final layer is the salary allocation instruction.
- Salary Allocation Instructions (SALs)
Allocation instructions link employees, dates, grants, position, effort approver and cost objectives (such as GL account). These rules integrate with existing systems to document institutional commitments and can contain additional information such as key personnel and committed effort. SALs generate a variety of transactions including wage distributions, encumbrances, adjustments and EARS-generated transactions.
Allocation maintenance can be centralized where rules are maintained by administration or distributed so that departmental managers use a web portal to maintain allocations for their team.
- Salary Processing
EARS reads information from any number of payroll and benefits providers and processes it through the business rules creating summary postings to the GL. Most organizations prefer summary postings as this hides individual salaries.
- Labor Encumbrances
This system automatically calculates all labor encumbrances and can optionally post encumbrance entries to the GL. Fringe expense and COLA are respected in the calculations and vacancies can be encumbered. This extension of the allocation calculations from historical posting through future forecasting enables budget controls. It is also an invaluable reporting and planning aid.
- Retroactive Adjustments
A primary function of any fund accounting sub-system is the ability to execute documented cost adjustments. This is especially true of labor allocations where an adjustment can affect multiple periods and be subject to audit scrutiny. EARS retros are easy to execute, self-documenting, and link back to the certification conversation that might have initiated the adjustment.
- Time and Effort Certification (Effort Reporting)
OMB circulars document compliance objectives for institutions that accept government funding. EARS includes an innovative effort certification process that meets the requirements documented in older circulars A-21 and A-122. While the new Uniform Guidance does not mandate effort reporting, it does stipulate that charges must still be reviewed after-the-fact. It also states that salary allocations must be part of the official record and supported by a stringent framework of internal control. Auditors must test these controls as part of the new single audit requirements and the government reserves the right to require prescribed certification. We believe that EARS's combination of effort forecasting, integrated allocations, and personnel activity reports is the most effective way to meet this obligation.
- Effort Reporting Administration
The effort reporting follow-up system documents institutional compliance.
- Effort Forecasting
Perhaps the most valuable EARS feature is Effort Forecasting: calendar reports that integrate expenses with projections to supply an actionable big picture and enable proactive decision making.
- Benchmark Performance Metrics
EARS can generate key metrics to assess the efficacy of the institution. Figures such as administrative overhead and a breakdown of funding sources can supply useful insights when compared to industry standards. Institutes that want to measure a PI's ability to attract funding would refer to the Institutional Support Report as it exposes long-term trends and supports informed decisions in the "Publish or Perish" world.
- Time Clock Integration
Some organizations log labor effort by requiring selected employee to clock into projects as the work is performed. EARS can read the allocations created by the timecard system and turn these into auditable salary allocation rules.
- Flexible Fringe Calculations
Fringe expense posted can be actual costs, a calculated percentage, or based on distinct grant agreements.
- Active Distributions
EARS can generate labor-related payables/receivables not included in payroll. This is useful for third-party pay, foreign awards or special handling of post-docs.
- Real Time Allocations
This feature allows the manager to make real-time allocation decisions (during the payroll posting process) for payroll detail that might vary from payroll to payroll such as bonuses.
- Labor Invoice Support
A special EARS process supports organizations that bill for employee services based on actual effort expended.
- Increase Indirect Cost Reimbursements
EARS can request the PI break out administrative effort to identify tasks that could be classified as reimbursable indirect expense. This can influence the indirect cost rate.
- Automatic Gross to Net Posting
The system also generates all gross-to-net entries including net payroll, accruals and balancing entries.
- Systems Integration
Seamlessly integrates payroll, benefits, position control, HR, grants management and the GL.
- Innovative Reporting
Innovative reports give decision-makers the big picture with a glance. EARS includes a variety of powerful reports. All reports integrate with MS Office. EARS also empowers end users who wish to draft their own reports.
- Automates Payroll Processing
Payroll and benefits are posted with a few mouse clicks. Applicable expenses are allocated across grants and other expenses are routed directly to proper accounts.