Grants Accounting *never* gets any love. from anyone. especially me.

Jan 03 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

I hate those bean counters. I need to purchase a piece of equipment, consistent with other equipment already in the lab. Need in these sense, the equip we have does not work with one set of experiments. Need in the sense, if we are going to make a major part of aim 2, we need this stuff.

I got a quote from company (thank you company) that provided original (wonderful) equipment. I wrote the justification to grants accounting in October. OCTOBER. In Oct, grants accounting said "you need NIH permission to move money". I said: no, I don't. I found chapter and verse why I didn't (in short, it is less than $25K, it doesn't change the scope of the work). Grants accounting, in NOVEMBER said "sure, fine". Quote expired. Got new quote. Put it in. Need this for experiments that start mid -Jan. TODAY. To-fucking-Day, Grants accounting said "nope, we were wrong, you do need permission, from NIH and a statement from the company that no one else makes this". Why ? Because there is no "equipment" line in my budget. So to add the fucking budget line needs approval.

And the company, the very small, yet very good company, is off at a meeting.  No one to write my statement. NIH is, well, NIH. I am not sure when they will get back to me.

Take home lessons: Know the rules. Know the NIH rules that pertain to you. And know where to find chapter and verse when you need it. Do not believe grants accounting. I know I am smarter than them, and that I've been doing grants longer than them. Also: I did not put equipment in this proposal, because I didn't think I needed any. Now, I learn that one always wants to put an equipment budget line in, so that you can use it later.  There are other problems with that. But right now, I've got too many fires to put out to detail it for you. But I will.


4 responses so far

  • Anon says:

    Can you get a loaner instrument from the company until you get the issue sorted out w/ your Grants Accounting folks? There are some companies that will do that. But, thanks - I'm going to keep that equipment budget line advice in mind for my next R01 submission.

    • potnia theron says:

      My plan B, supported by my (wonderful) chair is that the dept is "loaning" me the money (ie an account number) that will work Right Now, and then we will switch it to my grant account after approval comes through.

      • Arseny says:

        The most troubling thing about situations like that is that if eventually everything works for you (and I hope it will!!), grant accounting people will feel no repercussions. That's one of the most annoying aspects of academia, compared to business: different levels of management have different, sometimes directly conflicting goals.

        In theory, every time something like this happens, there should be some sort of public announcement about the costs of these inefficiencies. That much money lost; that much productivity lost; papers unpublished, etc. But it's really hard to quantify, and the administration is rarely in the mood to listen. (At least that's my impression so far).

  • Sam says:

    I like the grants accounting people at my institution. They put up with tons of crap from me, including moving money for equipment.
    Different experiences, I guess. Maybe I’m nicer? Or meaner... whatever makes more sense.

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