Office of the Provost

Budget Checklist

 Sample: Budget Narrative

The following are questions considered by SPARC when reviewing the proposal budget:

Budget Development and Clearance

The GrantsmanCenter lists five principles of sound financial management as Consistency, Timeliness, Justification, Documentation, and Certification.

  • Does the budget accurately reflect the narrative?
  • Will the budget cover the project costs?
  • Which units and whose personnel at the University are being committed in the budget and have the appropriate individuals been apprised of and approved the submission?
  • Are the costs listed in conformance with the sponsor guidelines?
  • Do the facilities described in the proposal currently exist? Are they adequate to support the program?

Cost Sharing

  • Does the agency have a written policy requiring cost sharing?
  • What is the source of the cost sharing funds?
  • Has cost sharing been approved by those authorized (Dean or VP) to make a commitment?

Collaborating Institutions

  • If a collaborating institution is unknown to you or not in NIH Top 500 Research Institutions, have its financial stability and reputation been ascertained?
  • Has an authorized official approved participation and budget for his/her institution in writing?
  • Are the collaborating institution's responsibilities clearly delineated (scope of work)?
  • Have you confirmed the collaborating institution's status vis-à-vis the investigator and/or SUU? (No conflict of interest)

Direct Costs


  • Is the time commitment consistent with his/her academic responsibilities?
  • Is the time on the budget commensurate with the activity reflected in the narrative?
  • Is the time available to this individual? (check current support)
  • Are the people described already employees of the institution? If not, are the hiring personnel policies being followed?
  • Are the individuals listed as key personnel truly key to the project?
  • Have you ensured that SUU Policy 6.9 is being followed?
  • Are there any individuals listed as consultants who are employees at SUU?
  • Is the individual truly serving in a consultant capacity? (Twenty-factor test)


  • Is foreign travel distinguished from domestic? (Check sponsor's definition of foreign travel)
  • Is the travel properly supported?
  • Do requested costs follow sponsor guidelines?
  • Will foreign travel conform to the requirements of the Fly America Act?
  • Check the Controller's Office Travel guidelines for current rates and travel reimbursement requirements.

Equipment & Property Management

The University’s policy for management and accounting of equipment and property purchased with funds provided by a sponsoring agency will comply with OMB Circular A-110, section 34.

  • Has the equipment been screened for availability elsewhere on the campus?
  • Does the equipment have any space or facilities ramification (Is there room for it and is the environment adequate to sustain it?)
  • Does the equipment follow the purchasing policy for capital equipment?
  • Does the equipment being purchased require a bid process?

Have all ancillary costs been accounted for (installation, renovation, maintenance)?

Who is paying for ancillary costs? (cost sharing implications)

Equipment & Property Management Guidelines

Potential Causes for Audit Disallowances


  • Are the other costs adequate and appropriate? (Possible categories include, but are not limited to: students, materials and supplies, tuition, scholarships, participant support, printing/duplicating, postage, long-distance/telex, animal care, human subjects payments)

Indirect Costs

Facilities & Administrative Costs

  • Is the calculation of F&A cost consistent with SUU's federally negotiated base and rate as stated F&A agreement?
  • If sponsor limits indirect cost recovery, is there an official statement from the funder which indicates the policy on indirect cost?
  • All awards that are below the 45% SWB, will require a F&A Justification found in the Post-Award Workbook.