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Financial Administration

As soon as you receive your Notice of Award or Funding Letter from the funder, you will need to start arranging the financial administration of your award. It is important that you contact your research institute for help if you have any questions – each site has its own process.

PHSA's most active research sites have on-site personnel to help researchers complete all the steps to set up their projects: the Child & Family Research Institute and the Women's Health Research Institute each offer financial administration services at the institutional level; at BC Cancer, financial administration is provided at the departmental level.

The research funds for your project may be held in accounts either at your university or at PHSA. For federally-funded research projects, the primary fund holder will always be the university although funds may subsequently be transferred from there if needed. Grants from other funders can be held directly in a PHSA research account.

Regardless of your funding source, you'll want to set up your financial administration to ensure the most efficient processes for purchasing supplies, paying salaries and managing your research project account. Check with the finance manager at your research site to determine the most appropriate arrangement for you.

Your onsite research administrator will act on your behalf as a liaison with your university or PHSA. They will ensure you have all the required documents and certificates, that your grant information is updated in UBC's RISe system and that all the financial details are completed so you can start using your funding.

About overheads

UBC and PHSA each use different systems for calculating and charging overhead, or indirect costs. Please note that if you transfer funds from a UBC account into a PHSA account, you will not be charged overhead twice.

UBC overhead is only applied when expenses are charged against the project grant. The system automatically calculates the overhead on each expense.

PHSA charges overhead when revenue is received into an account. If funds transferred into a PHSA account are considered revenue, overhead charges are applied (depending on the rules of the account). If funds are being transferred into a PHSA account to credit a salary or another expense, they are considered an expense reduction and overhead is not charged.

Principal investigators (PIs) are responsible for the management of their individual research accounts. The account holder must ensure their research account is administered in compliance with the policies of the institution where it is held (PHSA or university), in addition to the policies of the individual funding agency. If there is a conflict between institutional and granting agency policies, the granting agency's policy will prevail.

PHSA and UBC provide ledgers after each accounting period. These must be reviewed by the principal investigator and/or research team to ensure all account activity adheres to its applicable policies and procedures. In addition, it is the PI/research team's responsibility to ensure that expenses billed to the project are appropriate and that unbilled expenses are identified and tracked.


Procedures for procuring computer/telephony equipment and devices for use in research projects vary depending on which institution holds the grant funding (PHSA or university). If you are purchasing equipment that will be used at a PHSA research site, you need pre-authorization approval by the appropriate IM/IT department.

Not purchasing through PHSA? If your funding is held at a university, please follow your university procurement procedures.


Capital assets are those assets that cost in excess of the minimum capitalization threshold and meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a useful life expectancy of more than one year;
  2. Are held for the continuing purpose of rendering a service, for administration or research, or for the maintenance, repair or construction of other assets; and
  3. Are not intended for resale in the ordinary course of operations.

The minimum capitalization threshold for assets is as follows:

  • Equipment (including office furniture and equipment and clinical equipment) - $5,000 
  • Information management systems: Computer hardware, servers and related software, databases; major computer systems software - $10,000 
  • Facility projects - $50,000
  • Tenant (leasehold) improvements - $50,000

Supply Chain is responsible for the capital purchasing process and is required to adhere to PHSA procurement policies, which includes obtaining formal quotes and issuing purchase orders (POs). For more information, see the purchasing page on PHSA POD (password protected). 

SOURCE: Financial Administration ( )
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