Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Log-in and Email Reminder Questions

Certification Questions

Cost Transfer and HRS Error Questions

Cost Match Questions


General Questions:

  • Does the PAR system replace timesheets?
    • Timesheets are still required (the more detailed, the better). The PAR system satisfies the federal requirement that 100% of a person’s time be certified as correctly allocated after the fact (i.e., after payroll has been processed), when part of their time is spent on sponsored programs (grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, purchase orders, MOUs, etc. from an external funding agency).
    • Note: The pay indicated on the PAR record is the gross pay amount, not the net pay.  People appear on the PAR report if they are paid from sponsored programs (grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, purchase orders, MOUs, etc.) or if they are providing cost match for a sponsored program.
  • What do I do if the PI on the non-grant account is incorrect?
    • Technically, there is no PI on a non-grant account. The “PI” for the non-grant account was chosen based on cost match indicators.  Because of programming complexities, a non-grant index is assigned to the PI having the most cost match from it, or, in the event of a tie, to the PI whose last name is earlier in the alphabet. 
    • You will notice that each PAR record contains the following statement: “If an employee has payroll cost match committed on multiple grants with differing PIs, not all PIs will be able to see/enter/modify cost match within PAR. In such circumstances, submit a UMDW payroll report reflecting match to your ORSP SPS who will then manually enter into PAR. All PIs should review the InfoGriz cost match reports for accuracy.”
    • If this creates issues for your department, the PI to whom the approval is assigned may be able to forward the PAR record to the appropriate person to certify the time in the non-grant account. This may be particularly appropriate for departments whose projects do not have cost match, when the non-grant line needs to be verified by the correct responsible person.  Otherwise, anyone with first-hand knowledge of the work performed in the non-grant account can certify that line.

Log-in and Email Reminder Questions

  • What do I do if I can't log into PAR?
    • Look up your NetID at and reassign a password if necessary. You must log in to PAR as an employee (i.e., NetID must end with the letter “e”).
  • What do I do if I’m not receiving email reminder messages about my PAR records?
    • Make sure that you have created a umontana alias in Cyberbear so that you will receive your PAR email reminders. Log in to Cyberbear, click on “Personal Information,” then on “Manage Email Accounts.”  Check the box “Check one account for email delivery” next to an official University of Montana email address, such as
    • Also, add to your safe senders in Outlook. On the Home tab, click on “Junk,” then on “Junk E-mail Options,” and then on the Safe Senders tab where you can add addresses to your Safe Senders list.  This prevents UApprove messages from going to junk mail.
  • As PI, should I be receiving notifications that employee approvals have been completed?
    • The PI will receive one email, two weeks after the employee emails are sent, to remind you to go in to the PAR system and approve your employees. You will not receive an email each time an employee complete his/her PAR records.  At any time, you can check your PI dashboard and approve, even before your receive your PI email.

Certification Questions:

  • Do I have to certify both the grant line and the non-grant line on the PAR record?
    • If an employee is paid any amount from a sponsored program (grant, cooperative agreement, contract, purchase order, MOU, etc.), 100% of the total has to be verified. If you're not sure if the non-grant line is correct, contact your DRA (departmental research administrator).
  • When a PAR record has two or more lines to certify, is it possible to approve and submit just one line and then return later to submit any remaining lines?
    • All lines must be processed before the PAR record can be submitted. The submit button is not activated until all certifications or actions are in place.
  • Why doesn't my effort show as 50/50 when I’m paid for two separate jobs with differing pay rates but worked 50% on each?
    • Effort percentages reflected in PAR are based on pay amounts.  As a result, effort percentages are skewed if an individual has more than one rate of pay for different work performed.
    • For example, an individual may devote 50% effort to one position/activity for which she is paid $15/hour and 50% to a position where she makes $18/hour.  In such cases, the effort percentage for the former will be less than 50% (45.45%) and for the latter will be more than 50% (54.55%).
    • The PAR record “provides reasonable assurance that the charges are accurate, allowable, and properly allocated (2 CFR 200.430),” so it is completely appropriate that the individual review the amount of pay reflected for the work performed, and proceed accordingly.
  • What action should the PI take if an error is found before PI certification and the employee selects “not approve” in PAR?
    • The PI should agree with the employee’s action if it was correct to mark “not approve.” However, if the PI believes that the original payroll record is correct, the PI should disagree with the employee’s action and select “original distribution is correct.”
  • What is the procedure for addressing a PAR report that has an error discovered after certification?
    • Send a detailed email to your ORSP SPS (sponsored programs specialist, post-award). This email will be uploaded by the SPS to the affected PAR record, as documentation for auditors.
  • How do I know when a PAR record’s certification is complete?
    • Be sure to look at the entire record before performing your actions. If the record is partially complete, a green box will come up thanking you for submitting a partial record.  When the entire record is complete, PAR will redirect to a confirmation page thanking you for your submission.
    • In those cases where a person works on awards for more than one PI, the record won't be complete until all PIs have performed their actions. If you are a PI, remember that you must certify yourself twice:  once as the employee and once as the PI.
    • You can always use the search function to look at a particular PAR record. When you find and open the record, you can view it, or click on the Summary Report button, to see where the record is in the approval process.

Cost Transfer and HRS Error Questions:

  • What happens when we submit a payroll cost transfer for an employee and the cost transfer is processed by ORSP the following month? Will both months be wrong on the PAR report?  Should neither should be certified?
    • PAR records show the original payroll only. The adjustment is certified on the cost transfer form and will not show in the PAR system.  The cost transfer form will be attached to the PAR record when it comes to ORSP for approval.
    • Just like on the paper T&E system, you should mark the origination index (moving from) as “department must process Cost Transfer,” but certify the destination index (moving to) if it appears on the PAR record. This makes sure the amount already in the destination index (moving to) is certified.
  • When do I attach a cost transfer form to a PAR record?
    • If you have a cost transfer ready to submit to ORSP when the PAR record is processed, you may attach it to the PAR record. However, it is more important to submit the PAR record in a timely fashion.  You can still send cost transfers to ORSP after you complete the PAR record, as was true with the paper T&E forms.
    • Remember that you should mark the origination index (moving from) as “department must process Cost Transfer,” but certify the destination index (moving to) if it appears on the PAR record. This makes sure the amount already in the destination index (moving to) is certified.
    • You don't have to attach a cost transfer form that has already been submitted to ORSP, because the ORSP SPS (sponsored programs specialist, post-award) will attach the completed cost transfer form to the record. If you do attach a cost transfer form, please indicate in the comments section if the form has already been submitted or if this is a new cost transfer form that still needs to be processed.
  • What kind of documentation should I attach if there was an HRS error?
    • You should attach documentation, preferably email correspondence that you had with HRS, about correcting the payroll error. The documentation should clearly show the correct payroll allocation.

Cost Match

  • Does the PAR system know which employees should submit cost match?
    • The PAR system doesn't know which employees should submit cost match.  The employee (or PI) has to initiate the cost match actions.  Every record for every employee has a cost match action available, which should be ignored if there is no required cost match on the project. Your award document will indicate whether or not cost match is required.
  • Will the PAR system automatically forward cost match actions to PIs?
    • There is no notification that it is necessary for PIs to enter cost match.  However, at the top right side of the PAR record, there are two cost match tables.  One shows the cost match budget and the cost match submitted for grant.  The other shows the cost match budget and the cost match submitted for the employee.  There is also a link to the InfoGriz cost match reports.
    • The employee or PI actively initiates the submission of cost match, and the above tools are at their fingertips on the PAR record.  With the paper T&E system, the PIs weren't notified to assign cost match and the PI had to know who still needed to provide cost match.  PAR is an improvement, since the PI can see how much cost match has been provided to date, both by grant and by person.
  • Do you recommend that PI’s share cost match information with employees for employees to enter into the PAR system?
    • It is important that PI’s share cost match information with employees, as it may be easiest for employees to enter cost match on their own PAR record. Keep in mind that the PAR record will go to the PI of the grant index (rare) or the “PI” of the non-grant index (typical) which is providing the cost match (see below).
    • Because of programming complexities, a non-grant index is assigned to the PI having the most cost match from it, or, in the event of a tie, to the PI whose last name is earlier in the alphabet. Departments will need to communicate cost match requirements internally.  However, if cost match is missed, contact your ORSP SPS (sponsored programs specialist, post-award), who can enter cost match manually if it is missed at the departmental level on the PAR record.
  • How does a PI correct cost match, if the employee made an error when entering cost match?
    • The PI should first agree with the employee’s action, which means that the PI agrees with the salary allocation only. Then the Cost Match box will be activated, and the PI can edit the cost match that was entered by the employee.
  • Can I put the cost match in the comments section?
    • If cost match is only mentioned in the comments section, the PAR record won't be routed to the SPS. Cost match should be entered in the appropriate cost match section of the PAR, so that it routes correctly to the SPS for completion.
  • Can I indicate cost match for an award before the award start date?
    • Cost match must fall within the period of performance for the award, so it must fall between the start and end dates of the award.
  • When I have an index that is providing cost match to more than one project, how do I add more than one cost match record?
    • Enter the cost match for the first project, then click save. Another blank record will then appear to which more cost match can be added.  Be sure to click save after each cost match record is entered.


  • Why am I receiving a PAR record to certify for an employee, when I am the PI?
    • If the employee does not have a umontana alias set up, you will receive the employee record. You should remind the employee to set up a umontana alias (if appropriate).
    • Sometime it is appropriate for the PI to certify on the employee’s behalf, for example, if the employee is a temp or seasonal, not a permanent employee. Also, remember that SP (student payroll records) are automatically certified by the system.
  • What options can I use if someone else should approve the PAR record?
    • If you are temporarily out of town, with no access to UApprove but with access to email, you can forward your reminder email to an appropriate person. That person can then perform all the verifications of PAR records for which you are responsible.  Be sure to differentiate between the employee email (PAR for the employee only) and the PI email (PAR for all employees working on the PI’s awards).
    • PIs can forward individual PAR records or their PI dashboard to someone else if that option is activated on the top right side of the PAR record.
    • You can assign a proxy (rare occasions) if it will be impossible for you to verify PAR records for an extended amount of time. See the Approval Proxy Settings in your profile.
  • As PI, I’m getting late notices and employees are no longer available to certify their records.  What should I do?
    • If someone is no longer here, the PI can go to the PI Dashboard and forward that PAR record to himself/herself.  He/She can then click on the link in the email he/she will receive and approve the PAR record on behalf of the individual.  It is completely appropriate for the PI to do this since the PI must have intimate knowledge as to how that employee spent his/her time on the project.  Then the PI will need to approve again as PI for the record to be complete.