Tips for Reading the PI Dashboard Monthly Update

  • The PI Dashboard sends an update via email to each PI or Account manager with an active research account.

  • The email provides a snapshot update of the financial information in the PI Dashboard.

Goals for the Monthly Update

  • Help faculty track and plan their research finances more effectively.

  • Decrease late salary transfers.

  • Provide the same data used for effort certification monthly.

What's Included?

  • Who you're paying: For each person who is being paid on one of your projects or federally- appropriated accounts, the % distribution for the previous month.

  • Balance updates: For each sponsored project or federally-appropriated account, the Balance as of the day the email is sent.
    Note: The balance does not include outstanding commitments or IDC.

The update also includes a quick glance graph showing how your spending is tracking against the budget through the end of the current project period.

Everything in the email is available in the PI Dashboard. No “new” information.

Balances — What accounts are included?


In the PI Dashboard and the monthly update email, your default balances and charts include all project accounts where you are the account manager. The accounts are displayed in the My Project Accounts list. 

Generally showing the sum of all your accounts on a project is what you want. For instance, it sums the separate accounts used to pay people with appropriated and contract benefits.

That said, you might want to change this list to remove accounts that you won't spend out of, for instance accounts for subawards or prior years (on projects that have one account per year). If you do change the list of accounts, all balances and charts will reflect the totals from the accounts you have opted to include. The accounts you exclude are listed separately below the My Project Accounts section and are not included in the monthly Research Finances Update email.


Where is My Project Accounts List?

  • In the Details Panel
  • On a Project Page

How to Change the List?

Click the pencil icon and move accounts in or out of the list. 

update account list.png

Remember that the balances and charts in the PI Dashboard and the monthly update are based on the accounts you include. If you change from the default, the balances you see in the PI Dashboard may not match those you see in other financial reporting tools.


Spending Trend Charts — Are you on track to spend your money?

If the budget has been loaded normally, the graph can help you see if you are on track to spend your project budget by the time the budget period is complete. The light grey shows the budget loads and helps you see if your budget has been loaded normally. The red reference line indicates what the dark grey expenditures would match if you spend your money exactly evenly over the period.

spending trend focus-3.png
  1. First account created. Pre-award accounts can be set up before the award has been signed by all parties.
  2. End of current budget period, regardless of termination dates of accounts. 
  3. Dark gray shows cumulative spending. Spending may start after accounts are set up, creating white space at the beginning of the chart as in the example.
  4. Light gray shows the budget increments, which may be added after accounts are set up or even after spending starts. (Pre-award accounts, for example.) 
    • Budgets can have a stair step pattern, reflecting a new increment arriving in each period. 
    • Budgets can show a decrease, for example, if a budget increment is logged to the main account and then transferred to another account not included in the Spending Trend graph. 
  5. The red line shows what your spending trend would be if spending were evenly spaced across the life of the project. It's meant as a reference because projects can have uneven spending patterns. 
  6. Spending graph ends on the current day of the current month.