FAQ

On this page you'll find frequently asked questions regarding the PI Dashboard. Can't find your question? Please contact us!

The PI Dashboard (found at pidash.cornell.edu) was created by Cornell University's Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) and is being developed under the direction of a faculty advisory committee and with additional faculty input on content and ease of use.

Problems

No Current Outages or Issues

Known Bugs

  • None currently

Act-As or Proxy Issues

  • Example issues
    • I support a faculty member, but I can't see them in the list of menu of names I can act-as in the top right.
    • I am a faculty member and I want to make sure someone can see what I see.
    • I am a faculty member and I want to know who can act as me.
  • To Request or Change Access
    • The PI Dashboard uses the same Act-As Proxy settings used by the Financial (OBIEE) Dashboards. The colleges and units have different guidelines for authorizing Act-As Proxy permissions.
    • Normally you can start by contacting your Business Service Center or Financial Service Center. They can work with the Authorized Authorizers for your unit to set up the access you need.
    • Administrators who can "act-as" a faculty member can see what the faculty member sees in the PI Dashboard including labor details they don’t normally see elsewhere.
  • Who Can Act-As You?
    • Eventually you will be able to see the list in the PI Dashboard.
    • Until then, contact your administrative support staff to get the list. They can look it up in the Financial Data Access Dashboard.

Don't see Projects or Accounts I should

  • Example Issues
    • I don't see a project I'm on
    • I have an non-research account, but I can't see it
  • You must be the Account Manager or PI on an account to see the project or account
    • If you are listed on a project but you don't have an account on the project (possibly because it hasn't been created yet), you won't see the project.
    • You can look up the account manager and PI on an account with the Account Attributes Report
    • If this is not as you think it should be, discuss it with your financial staff.
  • The Project must be active
  • Non-research accounts must be open

Balances and Personnel are out of date during fiscal year-end (Most of July)

Due to fiscal year-end processing, ONLY the trasaction and proposal data is updated between July 1st and about July 26th. Balances, Personnel, and all other data that is not on the "Transactions" and "Proposals" page, reflect data as of June 30th until regular updates continue on or after July 26th.

Here are the details. The account budgets and ending balances from one fiscal year is not loaded into the next fiscal year until the fiscal year closes. This means the balances available for us to use in the datamart are wildly wrong. Rather than show wildly wrong data, we have chosen to show data that's out of date.

Technically, what happens is that the account balance from the prior fiscal year is in the "year-end" period, think of it as a virtual 13th month. It is kept there until all the year-end processing is complete, at which point the remaining balance is transfered to the next fiscal year. Meanwhile all the expenses during July are reflected in in the July period, not the year-end period. Since the July period has no beginning balance or budget, the resulting balance for July is normally zero or negative, not what you want.

What if you need to know your current available funds balance? The best option is probably to ask your research administrator or financial staff. They can use Web Fianancials to sum up the year end period and July period and make allowances for accounts that revert to $0 (not normal for research or faculty descretionary accounts).

For Faculty

Faculty Action Items

To get the most useful experience out of the PI Dashboard we suggest the following:

  • Watch the Feature Tour video.
  • If you have sub-awards, correct “My Accounts” for each project so that it shows only the accounts you spend money from. Normally this is only an issue if you are PI on a project with sub-awards.
  • Enter Project and Account Nicknames as desired to make it easier to recognize your projects and accounts and communicate with your support staff.
    • The Feature Tour video describes how to do this.
    • The most common change we see is adding the account number at the beginning or end of the project title. We'll be addressing this need in the future, but for now this is the best solution.

Correct “My Accounts”

“My Accounts” for a given project is intended to include accounts you can spend money from. The default may set-up may be incorrect when sub-awards are involved, and in some other situations. Fixing this is easy:

  1. Click on the “OSP#” for the project in question
  2. Click on “Accounts Included in This Summary”
  3. Choose “Edit This List” from the menu
  4. Choose the “Remove” and “Add” links to correct the accounts

By default, “My Accounts” includes all accounts on a project where the faculty is assigned as the account manager in KFS.

Content Faculty Can See

  • Awards
    • All Pending or Active Awards where they are PI or AM on any project account
    • All project documents for those projects
  • Account Summaries
    • All open accounts where they are AM or PI
    • Any closed accounts for the projects above where they are AM or PI
    • A special “My Accounts” summary for the project accounts they choose to group together
  • Personnel
    • All labor detail for personnel on open projects or accounts where they are the PI or AM
  • Transactions
    • All transactions in the last 90 days for all accounts where they are account manager
    • Labor detail for labor transactions
    • Purchase detail for most eShop purchases

For Research Administrators

Research Administrator Action Items

Research Administrators may want to make some preparations before their faculty use the dashboards:

  • Correct “My Accounts” section for each project so that it shows only the accounts the faculty actually spends money from.
    • By default, “My Accounts” includes all accounts on a project where the faculty is designated as the account manager in Cornell's Kuali Financial System (KFS). In some cases, particularly when sub-award accounts exist, the default accounts shown in the My Accounts section may be incorrect.
    • Detailed instructions on how to correct the My Accounts section are in the Correct “My Accounts” FAQ below.
  • Enter Project and Account Nicknames as needed.
    • If you and your faculty have a short name or nickname for projects or accounts, they can be entered into the dashboard. The nicknames will not overwrite the official titles; they only exist in the dashboard (and in a separate field from the official names).
    • The Feature Tour video describes how to do this.
  • Load Detailed Budgets for each project account.
    • By default, Sponsored Financial Services loads project budgets at the level required to invoice the sponsor. Often this is not very detailed.
    • Faculty may prefer the detailed budget from their award agreement so they can track their spending at a detailed level.
    • Detailed instructions to do this are in the Detailed Budget Loading FAQ
  • Review Account Managers for project accounts.
    • In some cases, the Account Manager for a faculty account is set to someone other than the faculty member. Since this determines what accounts a faculty member sees in the My Accounts section for a project in the PI Dashboard, these accounts may appear as "missing" and therefore it's important to check in KFS to make sure your faculty member is assigned the account manager role on all accounts where they may spend from.
    • The guidelines for who should be the account manager on an account are located in this DFA procedure.
    • Detailed instructions for reviewing and changing account managers are in the Account Manager Review FAQ.
  • Review Act-As Permissions.
    • The only way an administrator can support a faculty member in the PI Dashboard is if they can act as them. You may want to ask for act-as privileges for people who don’t have them now.
    • The PI Dashboard also makes it easier for a person to see labor details they don’t normally see elsewhere.
    • More details about how to do this are listed in the Act-As Permissions Review FAQ.

Detailed Budget Loading

By default, project budgets may not reflect the detail in the award documents. You may want to have the detailed budget loaded so you can track your spending rate on a detailed basis.

In many cases the department or the Business Service Center Staff can correct this using a budget adjustment eDoc. Here are the details:

  • By default SFS loads the budget at the level required to invoice the sponsor.
  • Department or Business Service Center staff, depending on the arrangement, can use a Budget Adjustment eDoc to distribute this budget to the detailed budget on the award. Please be sure that the detailed budget does not roll up to something that conflicts with the approved sponsor budget. Specifically:
    • NIH awards modular budgets as direct/indirect line items. The unit can process a Budget Adjustment (BA) eDoc to enter the budget as proposed for the direct costs. This would be a reduction in general expense (direct costs) and budgeting for the line item categories as proposed.
    • Referencing non-modular budgets, units can re-budget to specific object codes within each line item category awarded, but re-budgeting between line item categories shouldn’t occur unless there is an agreement modification. This will ensure that the project will present the budget as awarded and the spending as incurred.
  • This eDoc routes to the account’s Fiscal Officer and SFS for approval and is then posted as part of the nightly batch processing.

Documentation on the Budget Adjustment eDoc may be found at www.dfa.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/fp-budget-adjustment.pdf.

Account Manager Review

The faculty member responsible for spending money out of an account should be the Account Manager (AM) for the account. If they are not, they will not be able to use the PI Dashboard to review the transactions on those accounts and those accounts will appear to be "missing". In the past, faculty members often didn't have an easy way to review their accounts and transactions, so having the AM set to someone other on their accounts wasn't as much of an issue as it is now.

Here is an excerpt from DFA's SOP for setting up accounts providing guidelines for who should be the AM on an account.

  • [The Account Manager field should contain the] Cornell NetID of the individual who is responsible for ensuring that:
    • funds are spent and managed according to the goals, objectives, and mission of the organization;
    • funds are being spent according to a budgeted plan; and
    • the allocation of expenditures is appropriate to the function identified for the account.
  • For research accounts or faculty discretionary accounts, this is the faculty member responsible for the activity.
  • For non-sponsored / non-faculty discretionary accounts, this is the individual who is responsible for financial oversight of the account within and across the organization.

The Account Manager can be changed by your Financial Transaction Center or your department finance staff. They will use Account Global or Account eDoc.

Act-As Review

  • Reasons to Change Permissions
    • Administrators who can "act-as" a faculty member can see what the faculty member sees in the PI Dashboard. This may cause you to increase the number of poople who can act as someone.
    • The PI Dashboard also makes it easier for a person to see labor details they don’t normally see elsewhere. That might make you want to decrease the number of people who can act-as someone.
  • Who Can Act-As You?
    • Eventually you will be able to see the list in the PI Dashboard.
    • Until then, contact your administrative support staff to get the list. They can look it up in the Financial Data Access Dashboard.
  • Changing Permissions
    • Different colleges and units have different guidelines for act-as access.
    • Your administrative support staff can work with the Authorized Authorizers for your unit to set up the access you need.

Content Research Administrators Can See

  • Accounts and Transactions
    • You will see accounts for which you are AM
    • You will see transactions for those accounts including labor and eShop purchased items
    • You will see labor information for all people funded by your accounts
  • Act As
    • Your “Act-As” privileges are the same as in the Accounting Dashboards
    • You will see exactly what your faculty see, including labor transactions
    • Any changes you make to “My Accounts” or Nicknames will be there for the faculty member to see as well
  • Accounting Dashboard Access Models that are NOT supported
    • Since this is an investigator focused tool, ONLY the PI/AM and Act-As access privileges are supported.
    • Specifically, the following access models that are supported in the accounting dashboards are Not supported in the PI Dashboard
      • Labor access control – If you can see anything in the tool, you can see the associated labor detail
      • Staff accounting – Allows access to all accounts at the university.
      • Local account access control – Allows access to specific accounts, or the accounts administered by a specific department or college.

Other Dashboards - Compared to PI Dashboard

  • PI Dashboard
    • Targeted for Faculty
    • Financial, labor, and proposal data
    • Access control based on being PI or AM on the account, or being able to act as someone.
    • Searching functionality limited to transactions reports. Faculty don't have enough accounts to require a search interface.
    • Mobile and modern browser friendly
  • RA Dashboard
    • Targeted for Research Administrators
    • Proposal, Award, Labor, and Financial Information
    • Access Control is very rich, allowing people to see some or all accounts and some or all labor, and some or all project information.
    • Rich searching functionality
    • Generates Current and Pending report for any faculty member
    • Not mobile or modern browser friendly
  • OSP Portal
    • Legacy portal targeted for Research Administrators
    • Provides data about research proposals, awards, and negotiations (no expenditure or staffing cost data)
    • Originally built in the late 1990's
    • Is the only solution for the following:
      • Submitting project change requests for: Compliances, No Cost extensions, Budget Revisions, Change in Scope, Change in Personnel, Change in Committed Effort, Other Changes, and Attaching Files (e.g.: technical or financail report)
      • Submitting the date a deliverable was submitted to the sponsor
      • Requesting a Subaward
      • Requesting a change order for Subaward
      • Note: these forms will be implemented in the RA Dashboard by summer 2016.
  • Account - Award Portfolio
    • Targeted for Faculty
    • Provides financial data similar to the PI Dashboard. Currently provides more data, particularly labor data
    • Not as easy to use as the PI Dashboard and not mobile or modern browser friendly
  • Web Financials Dashboards
    • Targeted for Financial Administrators and, to a lesser extent, Faculty
    • Financially focused dashboard similar to the RA Dashboards
  • Accounting Dashboards
    • Targeted for Financial Administrators
    • Large range of financial dashboards

About the Project

Faculty Advisory Committee Members

The PI Dashboard would not be nearly what it is today without the help and guidance of our faculty advisory committee and our faculty usability testers:

Faculty Advisory Committee Members

  • Paula Cohen, Professor, Biomedical Sciences
  • John Lis, Professor, Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • John March, Associate Professor, Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Kim O’Brien, Professor, Nutritional Sciences
  • Lars Rudstam, Professor, Natural Resources
  • Frank Wise, Professor, Applied and Engineering Physics

Usability Testers

  • Poul Peterson, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  • Anna Thalacker-Mercer, Assistant Professor, Div. of Nutritional Sciences
  • Bettina Wagner, Associate Professor, Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
  • Itai Cohen, Associate Professor, Physics
  • Chris Fromme, Associate Professor, Molecular Biology & Genetics
  • Kyle Shen, Assistant Professor, Physics

Timelines for PI Dashboard

Please visit our roadmap page for the latest release schedule.

PI Dashboard Feature Requests

We would love to hear your ideas on how to make the PI Dashboard more useful. Please don't hesitate to send us a message with your feedback.