Encumbrance Review

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the purpose of an encumbrance review completed by GCAS?
  2. How often are encumbrance review notifications (emails) submitted to PIs /department administrators and OVPR?
  3. How often should the PI/department administrator complete an encumbrance analysis?
  4. How often should the PI/department administrator inquire of the sub‐recipient or vendor regarding the status of their invoices?
  5. Should I be concerned about clearing encumbrances if my award end date crosses GW fiscal year?
  6. What impact does encumbrances have on the closeout of my award?
  7. What are the PI and department responsibilities around encumbrances at year end for both non‐federal and federal awards?

Q. What is the purpose of an encumbrance review completed by GCAS?
A. The purpose of an encumbrance review is to identify awards with large encumbrances and notify PIs /department admins and OVPR that invoices on hand should be submitted for processing in accordance with the Year‐End Closeout Schedule; or, ii) help identify where vendors and sub‐recipients may be behind in submission of invoicing to allow PIs and department administrators to make the necessary phone calls.

back to top

Q. How often are encumbrance review notifications (emails) submitted to PIs /department administrators and OVPR?
A.
  Encumbrances are analyzed and review notifications (emails) are forwarded by GCAS on a quarterly basis.

back to top

Q. How often should the PI/department administrator complete an encumbrance analysis?
A.
Encumbrance analysis should be completed by the PI/department administrator at the close of each month to determine if any invoices on hand should be submitted to Accounts Payable (AP) for processing.

back to top

Q. How often should the PI/department administrator inquire of the sub‐recipient or vendor regarding the status of their invoices?
A.
Inquiries to sub‐recipients or vendors should take place upon receipt of goods/services rendered or if invoices are not received per the terms of the award which generally states,
‘Invoices shall be submitted no more frequently than monthly, nor less frequently than quarterly and shall be submitted within 30 days of the end of the period covered by the invoice’.

back to top

Q. Should I be concerned about clearing encumbrances if my award end date crosses GW fiscal year?
A.
The fiscal year is not a concern if your sub‐recipient and vendors are current with their invoices through the current period.

back to top

Q. What impact does encumbrances have on the closeout of my award?
A.
Once the GWs final invoice is submitted to the sponsor and paid, it is very difficult to get reimbursed for additional costs that come through as either further payments to sub‐recipients or other expenditures. It is critical that all project related encumbrances are paid before the final reports are submitted. Further, any open encumbrances that will not be paid must be liquidated in Procurement.

back to top

Q. What are the PI and department responsibilities around encumbrances at year end for both non‐federal and federal awards?
A.
The university financial statements must reflect accurately the financial status of the University.  If your sub‐recipients and vendors are behind in invoicing, where invoices will not be received and submitted to AP by July 31st, and you are aware of services provided, you must estimate the cost of the services and submit a schedule by sponsored project to GCAS by emailing ttaube@gwu.edu or rouellet@gwu.edu.

back to top