NHMRC grantees are required to submit Financial Reports under the relevant Funding Agreement.
A Financial Report Summary dashboard is available in Sapphire showing the status of:
- annual financial statements (now called Regular reports)
- final acquittals (now called Final reports)
- Transfer Acquittals (now called Transfer reports).
Details of financial reports yet to be submitted (due or overdue) will be available to download from Sapphire. If there are multiple reports due for a grant across multiple years, only the earliest year due will be included in the template download and count.
Administering Institutions (AIs) are advised to prioritise overdue reports for submission as Sapphire will only accept reports in sequence.
Financial reporting process
- All financial expenditure data reported to NHMRC is to be consistent with the relevant grant guidelines and the Direct Research Cost Guidelines.
- Financial reports are managed in Sapphire through a separate Financial reports tab (they no longer show as ‘milestones’ on the Grant Milestones tab).
- Details of previous grant financial reporting is available via the Grants - Financial Acquittals dashboard.
- Financial reporting templates are available to download from Sapphire for Regular, Final and Transfer financial reports. The template allows bulk upload.
- Details on error handling is included in the Grant Management SOP – 2.4.1 Submit Statements on the Sapphire help page. All errors identified and preventing an upload must be addressed before the upload is successful.
- The template is in .xlxs format and will download data for all financial reports due and available to submit at the time of the template download. All previous financial reports are to be submitted prior to the Final financial report for the grant.
- Note sequential period reporting explained at point 8.
- The template can be downloaded by financial report type: Regular (previously referred to as Annual Financial Statement), Transfer and Final - or as a single, consolidated download covering all report types where a financial report is pending submission or overdue.
- The template download will include a combination of pre-populated fields and fields for AIs to enter their expenditure data.
- Pre-populated fields should not be deleted or overwritten as this will create an error.
- Sapphire will calculate fields that are based on information in system (Grant identifier; income = grant funds paid; balance brought forward = previous report final result).
- If you do not intend to submit all due reports at the same time, as the template download includes all grant financial reports due, you will need to remove rows for grants that will not be uploaded in the submission.
- If an expenditure category applies to a grant scheme, the field cannot be left blank.
- Zero expenditure in a reporting period will not create an error as there may be instances where this is a valid entry.
- All financial reports will only be able to be uploaded in sequential order. That is, financial reports for all previous report periods must be submitted before the report for the following period becomes available as:
- Information will only download into the template for grants that have had all financial reports submitted.
- If there are outstanding Regular reports, these are to be successfully submitted before a Final or Transfer report is submitted.
Submission of financial reports
For NHMRC grants, Regular reports must be submitted to NHMRC by 30 April following each calendar year of funding. Final financial reports must be submitted to NHMRC no later than six months after the funding period has been completed, or six months after relinquishment or termination of a grant, preferably earlier. Transfer reports must be submitted within one month of the date the transfer is approved by NHMRC or the effective date of the transfer, whichever is the later.
Failure to provide report(s) within agreed timeframes will result in consideration of possible actions in accordance with the Funding Agreement.
Categories for financial reporting
Reporting in Sapphire is to follow the template categories as follows and guidance to assist finance officers on how to upload financial statements through Sapphire is available on Sapphire Help.
We are aware that IRIISS grants expenditure categories were incorrect and are being updated. IRIISS grant financial statements were provided an extension until system updates were put in place. These reports should now be submitted.
The field Funds previously returned to NHMRC should be rarely used and is for use in instances where funds have been invoiced for recovery due to overpayment or error during the research activity duration. For example, where in early 2022 double indexation on payments in January and February could not be offset against future payments, invoices were raised and sent to AIs.
Salary expenditure is reported based on the grant guidelines under which the grant was funded.
- Salary & Allowances is used for People Support Schemes where the objective is to support a single investigator and provide a maintenance allowance.
- Scholarships & Stipend is only for use where a post graduate scholar is supported by a NHMRC Post Graduate Scholarship (refer to the Direct Research Cost Guidelines).
- Salary is used for salary payments to investigators and researchers supported by the grant funding. Where guidelines specify a limit on salary payments to a Chief Investigator, it is expected that as per the Funding Agreement the detailed expenditure is available to provide to NHMRC on request. We may ask for this information as part of evaluations or compliance activities.
- Travel & Allowances is for reporting of travel and travel related expenditure for NHMRC People Support Schemes, MRFF Fellowships, TRIP Fellows and ARC/NHMRC Dementia grants and NHMRC Post Graduate Scholarships (and may apply in very limited circumstances for Independent Research Institute Infrastructure Support (IRIISS grants) if allowed under the grant guidelines). All other schemes should include this expenditure into ‘Other Research Costs’.
- Equipment is an expenditure category for IRIISS grants, Equipment grants, Research Support and Investigator Grants for valid expenditure under their grant guidelines and the DRC guidelines.
- Other Research Costs is for expenditure that is not salary or equipment for Research Support grants including Investigator Grants. This field is not for use for People Support Schemes or MRFF Fellowships. For ‘the research costs’ allowed under the Postgraduate Scholarship scheme, TRIP Fellows and ARC/NHMRC Dementia grants these should be included under Travel and Allowances.
- Participating Institution Expenditure is for entry of the total expenditure reported by all participating institutions to the relevant grant for the reporting period. It is expected that participating institutions are reporting an expenditure breakdown to the AI that will be available for review when a grant is audited or additional reporting is requested, such as for evaluation purposes.
- Funds Transferred to New Admin Institution is to record the amount included in the transfer acquittal that has been, or will be, paid to the receiving AI. It is expected that funds are transferred between institutions as soon as practicable once the transfer is approved by NHMRC to minimise the disruption to the grant. The transfer acquittal does not need to be approved by NHMRC prior to the transfer of funds as we expect the amount to have been agreed between the releasing and receiving institutions/organisations.
Final Reports (Acquittal)
Acquittal refers to the process of assessing and reconciling the Final financial report at the conclusion of the funding or after the transfer of a grant to another AI. This process enables NHMRC to ascertain whether the AI has satisfied their obligations to manage the funds as required by the Funding Agreement. The total funding received for the duration of a grant must be reported on a year-by-year basis.
Sapphire facilitates this reporting by building the financial reporting history of a grant as each year's financial information is submitted in system as Regular reports, culminating in a Final Report. NHMRC will raise an invoice to recover any unspent MREA funds at the end of the funding period. AIs are to return unspent funds on receipt of the invoice.
Final financial reports will not be accepted with a negative balance.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (or delegate) of the AI must certify off system that the accounts and records underlying Regular, Final and Transfer reports have been maintained in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and the responsible officer (or delegate) must certify that all funds provided for that research activity have been used for that research activity in accordance with the terms of the Funding Agreement. The CFO and responsible officer who have certified will need to be listed as part of the upload process and are to be approved nominated position holders in Sapphire.
Unspent funds and extensions to the funding period
If it is anticipated that the research activity will not be completed in the approved funding period, a variation to extend the grant must be submitted to NHMRC, before the end date of the grant. Late extension requests submitted after the existing end date of the grant are unlikely to be approved other than in exceptional circumstances where a grantee variation request was unable to be submitted for consideration within the funding period.
Scholarship Final reporting
The process for acquitting a Scholarship (PhD or Masters) at the end of the approved funding period is identical to other grants. However, the $500 thesis allowance should be shown as spent in the Final financial report. No financial report is required from an AI when the thesis allowance is subsequently paid to the scholar as the funds have already been acquitted. Where there are unspent funds, other than the thesis allowance, at the time of the Final financial report, these must be disclosed in the Final report and will be recovered by NHMRC.