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Finance Helpdesk Newsletter #35

Upcoming Finance Helpdesk Workshops

Finance Helpdesk Helpline

Proposed changes to the FP7 Model Grant Agreement

Framework Programme 8 (FP8) Plans

Marie Curie Reporting Clarifications


Upcoming Finance Helpdesk Public Workshops:


2011 Workshop dates announced:

03/02/2011         1 Day FP7 Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

22/02/2011         2 Day Marie Curie Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

24/02/2011         1 Day FP7 European Research Council (ERC) Workshop in Brussels, Belgium

01/03/2011         3 Day in-depth FP7 Financial Workshop in London-Heathrow, UK

11/04/2011         2 Day Marie Curie Financial Workshop in London-Heathrow, UK.

30/05/2011         3 Day in-depth FP7 Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.



Finance Helpdesk Customised Workshops:

The Finance Helpdesk has developed workshops which cover all aspects of the EU Framework Programs.


The Finance Helpdesk would be happy to come to your organisation and give one of our customised workshops


Below is a list of the Standard In-house workshops that we provide. Please click on the links for more information and a Sample Agenda:


General Workshops

1 Day Grant Agreement Negotiation Workshop

Financial Workshops

1 Day Financial Workshop
2 Day Financial Workshop
3 Day In-depth Financial Workshop
1 Day Financial Marie Curie Workshops
2 Day Financial Marie Curie Workshops
3 Day Financial Marie Curie Workshops
1 Day European Research Council (ERC) Workshop

Proposers / Proposal Writing

1 Day Proposers Workshop
2 Day Proposers Workshop
2 Day Proposal Writing Workshop


Please note that we can customise each workshop and tailor it to your specific requirements.

Finance Helpdesk Helpline:

The Finance Helpdesk accountants are standing by and ready to answer any FP7 financial questions that you may have.

This service is Free of Charge.

To ask us a question, please ensure that you are registered with the website. Helpline questions can be submitted here. We try to answer any questions we receive within 3 Days.

If you have not received an answer from us, please ensure that your mail server has not filtered our answer as "junk"

Note: Information that is sent to us via the helpline is held in confidence. The questions we receive may be made anonymous and added to the Website Financial info and FAQs.


Proposed changes to the FP7 Model Grant Agreement:

The Commission has proposed changes to the current FP7 Model Grant Agreement.

Below, we quote the Commission Explanatory note on the subject.


"DG RTD intends to launch a proposal for a Commission decision with short term measures for simplifying the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programmes.

The purpose of this draft decision will be to adopt, inter alia, the following measures that if adopted will result in changes in Article II.14.1 of the Grant Agreement:

1.       The first short term measure concerns the use of average costs for charging direct personnel costs to Seventh Framework Programmes grants. The currently applicable acceptability criteria for average personnel cost methods, defined by Commission Decision C(2009) 4705 of 23.06.2009. Beneficiaries claim that these criteria are excessively restrictive and not in line with common accounting practices, in particular in the private sector.


The proposed Decision will provide revised implementing rules concerning the use of average personnel costs and replaces the earlier Commission Decision. The Decision will notably remove the criteria for the acceptable deviation between average costs in a personnel category and the actual costs related to the individual persons working in Seventh Framework Programmes projects. This will allow for the acceptability of the majority of average personnel cost methods actually applied as usual accounting practice by beneficiaries, in particular in industry, including the cost-centre based methods. This change should represent a better alignment between the requirements of the Commission and common accounting practices thus avoiding, additional administrative burden for the beneficiaries.


2.       The second short term measure concerns problems related to the funding of SME owners or physical persons bringing their work effort into Seventh Framework Programme projects but not receiving a salary registered in the accounts of the entity. Currently, the value of this work can be reimbursed only if these entities ask for an ex-ante certification of an average cost methodology that has to be approved by the Commission.


To overcome this situation, a new method for assessing the value of the work of such entities should be introduced. This method should be based on the scale-of-unit cost system used in the "People Specific Programme"3 for researchers with full Social Security coverage."


Please note that these are NOT finally approved yet, as soon as they are, we will let you know.


Framework Programme 8 (FP8) Plans:

Discussions have already started on the plans for FP8 Due to start in 2014.


Below are some first ideas for FP8:


·          Uniform interpretation of rules, enhanced user support, guidance, transparency and IT tools, use of prizes in selected areas

·          Revision of acceptability criteria for average personnel costs

·          More flexibility on obligation to open interest-bearing accounts

·          Lump sum option for SME owner-managers

·          Wider use of lump sums, flat rates, scale-of-unit costs

·          Move towards result-based funding

·          Pruning the rates/ methods/organisation combinations

·          Role of programme committees in project selection

·          Broader acceptance of usual accounting practices

·          Extended eligibility of average personnel costs

·          Some restriction to the variety of reimbursement rates and indirect cost methods

·          Remove recovery of interest on pre-financing

·          Applicability of the rules for participation to all intervention mechanisms


Note: these are just ideas at this stage.


Marie Curie Reporting Clarifications:

Clarifications regarding Reporting on “Evidence of Costs” prior to the 2011 Workprogram. This is relevant for ongoing reporting for Grant Agreements in force prior to the 2011 Workprogram.


Below are a few clarifications for FP7 Workprograms up to and including 2010:


·          For Category D, the beneficiary is not required to declare actual expenditure incurred. However, where the Commission/REA obtains evidence that the beneficiary is not supporting the participation of the researcher in research and training activities as described in the proposal and reflected in Annex I of the Grant Agreement, it may decide that the conditions for granting the flat rate are not fulfilled. In such cases it may decide to refuse payment of this flat rate.


·          Also, flat rates (scale of unit costs) provided under categories E-I are not subject to justification of actual costs incurred. However, they nevertheless remain subject to justification that the eligibility conditions for the allowance based on the flat rates are fulfilled. The only exception is category G (Management) which is treated as a real cost category in IAPP and ITN, and where you need to show an auditor someone's timesheet, invoices for audit certificates etc.


·          Importantly, please note that the above statements are only "guidelines" and an auditor might ask for proof that monies given by the EU for Category D, E and F were used for the project, and that no profit was made by the Beneficiary. We therefore recommend that for categories D and E all evidence of costs are kept by the Beneficiary.


·          For Category G (Management), please refer to the relevant Marie Curie Workprogram in force for your contract and to the type of Marie Curie Action.


·          For category B (travel allowance), it is important to be able to show an auditor that these amounts have been paid to the researcher. No evidence of costs is required by the EU.



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