Best Practices: Requesting Advance Accounts

Requesting an Advance Account will allow you to receive a Fund-Project ID Number before an award is fully executed by campus. With an Advance Account, PIs may begin incurring expenses directly on an award, rather than delaying the start of a project or placing expenses on unrestricted funding until an award is finalized. Requesting Advance Accounts are strongly recommended. Guidelines on how and when to request an Advance Account follow.

To determine whether you may be eligible, discover the appropriate procedure, and learn what kind of financial responsibility is required when an advance account is received.

When should Advance Accounts be requested:
1. Award notification has been received, but finalization (full execution) is prolonged (e.g., negotiation of terms/conditions is taking place, campus award set-up is delayed, award has to be returned to sponsor for full signature, official agreement/contract is pending from sponsor).
2. Award allows 90 days pre-award spending – especially when pre-award spending is a condition of the award, accounts should be set up right away to accommodate your ability to begin work on the project and to apply pertinent costs directly to the award.

How to request an Advance Account:
Advance Accounts are to be requested through WISPER. Access the appropriate WISPER record number for which you wish to request an Advance Account. Then,
1. Select the Approvals tab
2. Click the Add Approval button
3. Using the drop down box for approval type, select “Request Advance Award”.
4. Enter additional justification or information to assist the Division in their review in the Approval Text box. Note that each Division may require additional justification, attachments or information in order to process this request. Please contact them if you are unsure of your Division’s requirements.
5. Select the Administering Division from the Division Drop down.
6. Click the Add Approval button.
(A Desk Reference for submitting a request through WISPER is available on RSP’s website at:

Please be sure to work with the appropriate person in your department for Advance Account requests, since all Advance Account requests must be made with the explicit consent of the department.

Regardless of the reason for an Advance Account request, there must be an official indication from the sponsor that funding is forthcoming. Notification needs to include the award begin date and projected award amount. Email notifications are allowable. When from an institution under which we are receiving a subcontract, the notification needs to be from the institution – not from the PI of the project.

Financial Responsibilities:
When an Advance Account is granted, such is done with the assumption that the award will be finalized/fully executed. Departments/PIs must be prepared to cover any costs incurred should funding not be granted or contract negotiations not be completed successfully.

Need Assistance:
Please do not hesitate to contact Ginger Frietag in CALS Research Division at 890-1648,