Expenditure Finalization and Validation

Learn about expenditure finalization and validation on sponsored projects at Columbia University.


Following the expiration of a sponsored project, the University is required to reconcile the project and submit a final financial report to the sponsor. The final financial report is prepared by Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF) and sent to the sponsor by the due date specified in the terms and conditions of the agreement.

In advance of submitting the final report, and in preparation for closing out a sponsored project, Principal Investigators (PIs) and Department Administrators (DAs) are expected to conduct a thorough review of the project, execute all transactions required to finalize expenditures, and provide a final validation of expenditures to the SPF Finance and Compliance Manager. They must also reconcile receivables to ensure expected payments have been received and applied in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

In advance of the final expenditure validation, a thorough review of the project and finalization of expenditures must be conducted by performing the following steps. Note that all transactions must be approved and posted to ARC by the validation due date.

Once the expenditure review is complete and expenses have been finalized, the PI and DA are required to respond to the SPF-issued final expenditure validation request, confirming that expenses charged to the project were incurred in support of that project and that charges comply with all applicable terms and conditions. Distinct validations are required by both the PI and DA, though the DA may forward the PI’s validation or vice versa.

This validation must be provided to SPF by the due date specified in the validation request. This is also the date when expenditures must be finalized, and at the end of which, ARC will automatically inactivate the activities on the project, prohibiting further expenditure activity.

The expenditure finalization and validation due date will either be 40, 60 or 90 days after project termination, depending on the sponsor and award type:

  • 90 days: for NIH & NSF prime grants and cooperative agreements
  • 60 days: for all other prime awards and NIH & NSF contracts
  • 40 days: for all inbound subawards made to Columbia

Should SPF fail to receive the validation in advance of the financial reporting deadline, SPF will assume that expenses in the system are appropriate, report them to the sponsor and proceed to close the project. Any changes to expenditures deemed necessary after that point will be disallowed unless they are expenditure credits.


Learn more about expenditure finalization and validation in the Sponsored Projects Handbook and the Financial Closeout Reference Guide.


Locate your Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF) Finance and Compliance Manager on the SPF Department Assignments List under Staff Directories, and contact them for information about expenditure finalizations and validations.

Still have questions?

Visit our Service Center.