Receivables Monitoring and Collections

Learn about receivables monitoring and collections on sponsored projects at Columbia University.


Principal investigators (PIs) and department administrators (DAs) are responsible for exercising fiscal oversight over all aspects of their sponsored projects. This includes regular review of the receivables balances to ensure that expected payments have been received and applied in accordance with the terms of the agreement. If necessary, PIs and DAs must also assist with collections activity on amounts due for their projects.

Receivables balances on sponsored projects are provided as a quick way to ascertain the cumulative cash surplus or cash deficit in relation to project expenses. The receivable balances may be reviewed on the Net Receivables Reports in the FDS environment, located under the Project Lifecycle Reports folder. Specifically, the reports available are:

  1. Sponsored Project Financial Summary (SPFS)
    • A PDF-friendly, project-level summary, useful for reviewing balances on a single award
  2. Sponsored Project Net Receivables Overview Report
    • A summary-level overview report, available in both Excel and PDF formats, useful for reviewing balances across an entire department or investigator
  3. Sponsored Project Net Receivables Report
    • A companion, project-level report to the SPFS, useful for drilling down into receivable balances to analyze individual payments

The receivables balance is a cumulative, project-to-date figure. If the cash received exceeds project expenses, the receivable balance will be negative and the project is considered to be in a deferred position; and if expenses exceed the cash received, the receivable balance will be positive and the project is considered to be an accounts receivable (or AR) position.

PIs and DAs should regularly utilize these reports to ensure that payments have been received and applied in accordance with the terms of the agreement. These reports may be reviewed monthly, during the Quarterly Financial Review, and during the Annual and Final Expenditure Validation processes. Note that while a project may be in a deferred position, this doesn’t mean that all expected payments have been received. Projects with a scheduled payment bill type, for instance, may be funded in advance of expenditures, and payments may be missing on these projects even though expenses have yet to exceed the amount received. Thus, it also necessary for investigators and administrators to be aware of the terms of each agreement and to monitor the payments received in relation to those terms.

If a question arises about a late or missing payment, PIs and DAs should reach out to the Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF) Finance and Compliance Manager to assess the situation and determine the appropriate action. Additionally, SPF may reach out to PIs and DAs to obtain information related to payment withholdings, collection items, etc. PIs and DAs may be required to assist with collections activity in order to facilitate efficient recovery of payments or resolution of other receivables issues.


Visit the Net Receivables Reports page to learn about reports available to assist with receivables monitoring.


Contact your Sponsored Projects Finance (SPF) Finance and Compliance Manager for information about receivables monitoring and collections.

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