Troubleshooting Guide

All Users

How do I log in to the eCert system?

Enter the system through any of the following methods:

  • Link in the email notification sent to users
  • Through your action list in the Kuali Financial System
  • From the Kuali Financial System main page

How do I view previous effort certification documents (ECDs)?

All documents from prior periods can be found using the “EC Document Inquiry” tool. From the effort certification dashboard, click “EC Document Inquiry” on the lefthand navigation. You may search by:

  • Person (using the employee’s seven-digit USC employee ID)
  • Field (such as account number, school code, organization code and ECD number)
  • Specific time period (click on the “View ECDs for a different certification period”)

Why is the NIH cap not displayed?

When the NIH salary cap offset rounded to the nearest whole number is 0, no salary cap line item will be visible. This line may become visible if the effort on the grant is increased.


I have a payroll expense transfer (PET Doc) pending. How does that affect my eCert?

When a change is made on an ECD that is greater than or equal to 1 percent, a payroll expense transfer is initiated and routed to the first individual that takes action on the document.  This is typically the Preparer as they prepare the effort documentation for certification but it may also be the Certifier (if there is no assigned Preparer).  We strongly encourage PI’s to have their documents prepared first by onde of their assigned Preparers to avoid any security and/or administrative delays during the PET document submittal process.  In cases where there are several Preparers, the document will route to the Preparer that took action on the document first.    

If a payroll expense transfer is initiated but not finalized before the effort certification period opens, then the initial payroll expense transfer document must be canceled s to avoid a duplicate PET transfer document.  If there are any changes to be made to an employee’s effort during the certification process, those changes must be reflected in the final PI Certified eCert document.  Changes in effort by more than 1% in the certified eCert document will automatically trigger a “new” PET doc to be initiated in the Kuali system.

I never received a Kuali notification that an ECD had been routed to me.

When ECDs are created or routed to individuals, that individual will receive a Kuali Action List item. To ensure that you receive these emails, please be sure these notifications are turned on within Kuali.  Please note that the Kuali PET notification will go the person who first took action on the document.  This could be the Preparer of the PI.


My account has been frozen, what do I do?

Accounts are frozen immediately once the period for certification expires. To unfreeze the accounts, all past-due certifications associated with a frozen account must be completed. To determine which ECDs have not been completed, click on the “Other Certifications on Award(s)” on the main certifier ECD dashboard.

How do I determine who my preparer(s) are?

Access the “My Team” link in the lefthand navigation of the dashboard to quickly determine your preparers and reviewers.

If no Preparers are displayed, you may contact your school reviewer to have a preparer assigned to you. Certifiers may also assign a Preparer of their choosing by using the “Delegate A Preparer” link.

How do I certify effort documents for Split Research Assistants (RAs)?

The eCert system requires that all effort certification documents equal 100 percent. However, in the case of RAs whose time is split among different faculty members, the ECD will be routed to the two respective PIs with each document showing their respective salary percentages only.  Each PI should not exceed the total percentage originally allocated on their respective document as it will prevent the second PI from certifying their respective effort percentage.  In such cases, the total or “sum” of both documents must be equal to 100 percent.

Example: An RA was paid $11,250 in total over the fall semester — $2,812.50 (25 percemt) was paid from PI A’s grant and $8,475.50 (75 percent) from PI B’s grant. PI A will receive an ECD for the RA that equals 25 percent and PI B will receive an ECD for the RA that equals 75 percent.

I added a preparer but that preparer still is not able to see the document.

The Kuali Effort Certification system updates preparers every hour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monay through Friday. If at 11:30 a.m. a reviewer delegates a preparer to a certifier, the preparer will not see the certifier’s ECD until noon. If preparer delegations are made after hours, the change may not be visible until the following business day.

Can my administrative assistant or department business officer certify on my behalf?

No. Only those with direct technical knowledge of the project and “suitable means of verification” that the work was performed may certify effort on a sponsored project. “Suitable means of verification” means that the person overseeing a project is best qualified to certify the work done on that project. A PI may delegate the responsibility for certifying a research assistant’s work only to another researcher on the project who works with the student.

My effort fluctuates. How does this affect my effort certification?

As long as the percentage of salary charged over the period equals your average effort, no salary changes are required. For instance, if you expend your effort as above but charge 25 percent the first month, 20 percent the second month, and 30 percent the third month, you would certify to 25 percent effort for the quarter.

When I certify effort for research assistants, do I also certify their tuition remission?

Yes, since tuition remission for RAs can be charged in proportion to their payroll allocation, by confirming RAs’ salary and effort on a grant, you will be confirming the charges for tuition remission to the grant as well.



How do I get assigned as a preparer for a particular certifier?

Certifiers and reviewers can assign you as a preparer.

I was a preparer for a PI but now I’m not. What happened?

Only four preparers are allowed per certifier. If more than four preparers are added to one certifier, the first preparer is removed to make room for the new addition. Please contact your reviewer for further assistance.

What happens to terminated employees?

A supervisor with direct knowledge of the work performed by the terminated employee must certify the work of that employee. The department reviewer will assign a new certifier.

The home department showing for a certifier is incorrect.

Email with the employee’s name, seven-digit USC employee ID or ECD number, and the correct 10-digit home department number. Once eCert verifies the change, we will update the department information. Allow 24 hours for such changes.



How do I find the preparer(s) for a particular PI?

From the EC dashboard, click “Delegate a Preparer” link in the lefthand navigation. If you have the certifier’s employee ID, you may enter it in the first search box, and hit search. This will bring up the certifier and a list of his or her assigned preparers.

If you do not have the certifier’s employee ID number, click on the school, then the department, then the certifier name. Click the box next to the certifier’s name and a list of the certifier’s assigned preparers will show. If no preparers are listed, you may assign up to four preparers to the PI. Each PI should have at least one assigned preparer. New employees being paid from sponsored funds should be assigned a preparer prior to the opening of the next effort certification period.

How do I get access to be a reviewer?

Access as a reviewer must be given through the Training and Access program in the Office of the Comptroller. These requests can be made by the senior business officer through the User Access Request Document in the Kuali Financial System’s workflow main menu.

Why am I receiving a notification for terminated employees?

All ECDs must be routed to an active employee. Since terminated employees are no longer active, ECDs associated with these employees are flagged and routed to the appropriate reviewer. The reviewers must then determine the who had the most oversight over the terminated employee (likely a department chair if the terminated employee was a PI or a PI if the terminated employee was a research assistant or staff member).