This stage is split into four sections:
A. Financing of EU projects
The EU co-funding is managed by the Coordinator (institute), who is responsible, in line with the conditions specified both in the Grant and Consortium Agreements, for its distribution among the partners. In H2020 the Coordinator can ensure that, within the specified conditions, partners who fail to meet their obligations receive no (further) funding, and the consortium is able to adapt the project budget appropriately.
Soon after the signature of the Grant Agreement (up to 30 days), the Project Coordinator should receive a significant fraction of the overall funding, called pre-financing and should distribute it to the other partners.
At contractually pre-determined reporting periods, typically every 12 or 18 months, CERN (and all other participants) will have to submit a financial claim (through the Coordinator, if that is not CERN) to the EC, reporting on all costs that have been incurred to the project during the reference reporting period. Further funding for the project will only be made available when the aggregate claim has been approved by the EC.
The special Guarantee Fund, created in FP7 to cover the financial risks incurred by the EU and the participants during the implementation of FP7 projects, continues in H2020. The Guarantee Fund is a kind of insurance contract to guarantee the financial losses of the projects that may be due, for example, to defaulting partners who fail to meet their contractual obligations and deliverables. This contribution of each project to the Guarantee Fund is equivalent to 5% of the total EC funding, which is withheld with the first payment (pre-financing), and is restored with the last payment (after the end of the last reporting period).
B. Eligible costs
In H2020 all costs borne by CERN related to the execution of a project may be claimed as eligible costs and reimbursed up to 100%. In order to be considered for reimbursement, costs incurred by the beneficiaries in the course of the project, must satisfy the eligibility criteria laid down by the Grant Agreement (for more details on eligible and ineligible costs, see Article 6 of the H2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreement).
Eligible costs can be direct and indirect costs.
C. Project accounting at CERN
Detailed explanations about the principles for accounting and financial follow-up of EU projects at CERN can be found on the External Grants section website.
Once the maximum EC contribution for CERN’s participation in an EU project has been agreed by the project consortium, the CERN Scientist in Charge has to ask External Grants section for the estimated CHF equivalent, which should be used as a basis for any preliminary budget planning. When the first payment from the EC is received, the External Grants section will fix the exchange rate, which shall be used for budget planning for the full duration of the EU project, unless significant changes occur. Consequently, the Scientist in Charge will provide External Grants and the DPO(s) concerned with a budget breakdown in CHF by year and by nature (Materials/ Personnel) for the full duration of the EU project.
In collaboration with the Scientist in Charge and DPO(s) concerned, the External Grants section ensures the creation of the EU project structure via EDH. Once the EU project structure is created, the DPO(s) will initiate the creation of the necessary budget codes in collaboration with External Grants.
The internal CERN procedures for the preparation of cost claims (Financial Statements to the EC) require that for each element of the financial claim, the personnel costs, the equipment costs, and the travel costs must be clearly separated. Any such costs must be recorded in the accounts through (one of) the budget code(s) attributed to the project.
It is very important that all orders made on the project codes for both equipment and personnel, and the related entries in the accounts, should mention the project name, and originate from or be authorised by the CERN Scientist in Charge, or by another participant in the project who has been given the right of signature to these budget code(s).
D. Reporting and preparation of financial claims
Financial Statements need to be prepared at the end of each reporting period, typically every 12 or 18 months, depending on the duration of the project. The model for Financial Statements is laid out in Annex 4 of the Grant Agreement.
Attention must also be given to the question of appropriate justification. A project file with all relevant documentation for project expenses, e.g. invoices, orders, travel claims, etc., must be maintained in case an audit is requested by the EU (this may take place up to 2 years after the final payment).
The folder contains CET extracts of the project budget code(s), which should be printed out and held by both the project administration and by External Grants section service.
For expenditure on equipment, the Finance Department stores the original documents, such as the requisition, order and invoice. However, it must be ensured that the requisition and order were authorised by the Scientist in Charge (and not by a CERN staff member, however senior, having no specific role in the project).
For personnel expenditure Finance and HR departments store the original documents (e.g. fellow or staff contracts). It must be ensured that every person working for the project, especially on a part-time basis, has completed the necessary timesheets (through PPT EU), signed by his supervisor.
|The External Grants section prepares Financial Statements for EU projects and obtains Audit Certificates from an external company, if needed.