The NHMRC Funding Agreement requires Administering Institutions to submit annual Financial Statements and a Financial Acquittal Statement for each grant. 

NHMRC is on track to launch the third and final module of Sapphire (NHMRC’s grants management system replacing RGMS). This release will enable the submission of acquittals and financial statements in Sapphire from January 2022. A key change to this process is that financial reporting templates will be available to download from within Sapphire. 

All Financial Statements must be submitted through the grants management system. 

Guidance  to assist Finance Officers on how to upload Financial Statements through Sapphire will be provided in due course and will be available on the Sapphire Help Page.


NHMRC presented an update on Sapphire developments as part of a Post Award (Finance) Workshop hosted by the Australasian Research Management Society (ARMS) on 1 November 2021. 

The workshop was delivered in two components:

•    Part 1 of the workshop provided an overview of the key principles and expectations of Administering Institutions and Eligible Organisations (MRFF) in managing grant funding under the NHMRC and MRFF Funding Agreements, the role of the Chief Financial Officer and the Finance Officer, and expenditure of grant funds and NHMRC Direct Research Cost Guidelines interpretation. 
•    Part 2 of the workshop provided an overview of NHMRCs new grants management system Sapphire and post award functionality being deployed.

A video recording was made of the presentation and is available for viewing. 

Financial Acquittal Statement

Acquittal refers to the process of assessing and reconciling the final Financial Statement at the conclusion of the funding or after the transfer of a grant to another Administering Institute. This process enables NHMRC to ascertain whether the Administering Institution 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. NHMRC’s grants management system facilitates this reporting by building the financial reporting history of a grant as each year’s financial information is submitted in system. NHMRC will raise an invoice to recover any unspent funds at the end of the Funding Period. Administering Institutions are to return unspent funds on receipt of the invoice.

Financial Acquittal Statements will not be accepted with a negative balance.

Submission of Reports

The Annual Financial Statement must be submitted to NHMRC by 30 April following each calendar year of funding. A Financial Acquittal Statement must be submitted to NHMRC no later than six months after the funding period has been completed, or six months after termination of a grant, or one month after the transfer of a grant. Failure to provide the report(s) within agreed timeframes will result in consideration being given in accordance with the Funding Agreement to suspending payments to all active grants held by the Administering Institution until the report(s) have been submitted.

Certification

The Administering Institution’s Chief Financial Officer (or delegate) must certify that the accounts and records underlying the Financial Statements 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.

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.

Scholarship Financial Acquittal 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 acquittal. No financial report is required from an Administering Institution when the thesis 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 acquittal, these must be disclosed in the final year Financial Acquittal Statement and will be recovered by NHMRC.