Cost Centers are a breakdown of the account (budget and fund combination) to capture income and expense details in "subaccounts." Cost Centers are used to separate funds within the same award as needed. For example: to separate by Principal Investigator (PI) in the same College or outside the College or by Task.
Sister accounts can also be created when funds are being distributed outside of the awarded College, Unit, or Department under the same award. Sister accounts separate funds in to different account (budget) numbers while maintaining the same fund number.
When possible, Cost Centers should be used in place of sister accounts. Cost Centers allow the funds to be distributed to the "subaccounts" while keeping all funds in the same account. Cost Centers should be created before budgeting funds. If Cost Centers are created after funds are budgeted, the budgeted funds will need to be re-resolved manually. Cost Centers are typically created by the college financial office, please contact your specified financial office for more information. Information on setting up Cost Centers can be found here.
Some of the benefits of Cost Centers are:
- Cost Centers allow you to manage the award under one account for reporting purposes.
- Reports can be run on a specific cost center or the account as a whole.
- Funds can be allocated to multiple PIs in the same or different colleges.
- Ability to provide advanced reporting when required with multiple tasks.
- Ability to provide advanced invoicing when required.
- Allow controls to be monitored by the administrating college. Information can be found here.
- Cost Centers are required for tracking Cost Share/Matching. Please see Cost Sharing/Matching.
If a Cost Center is set up for a PI outside of the college administering the grant, access can be granted to a specific Cost Center to allow an employee to resolve P-Card charges and run reports. Information on this can be found here.
Sister accounts require extracting information from various colleges which limits the Research Administrator's ability to report on the award. There are times when sister accounts are unavoidable. You can find more information on sister accounts here.
For General Funds - if the fiscal year process has taken place, remember to close the cost center for both fiscal years or it will automatically carry over. If reviewing Cost Centers before carryover funds have been received, you must look at both fiscal years to get a true balance on the Cost Center.