Research & Innovation - Participant Portal H2020 Online Manual

Audits and certification

As a beneficiary of H2020 funding, you must keep supporting documents that may be required for:

  • certification of your financial statements (CFS)
  • voluntary certification of the methodology used to calculate unit costs (CoMUC)
    – for beneficiaries declaring direct personnel costs as unit costs
  • audits

Certificate on Financial Statements (CFS)

The CFS is a factual report produced by an independent auditor or Public Officer. Its purpose is to enable the European Commission or grant awarding agency to check whether costs declared in the financial statements are eligible.

A separate CFS must be submitted for each beneficiary (and linked third party) that requests total of EUR 325 000 or more as reimbursement of actual costs and unit costs calculated according to its usual cost accounting practices.

Submitting the CFS

The project coordinator must send the CFSs to the Commission or grant-awarding agency, with the final report, within 60 days of the end of the last reporting period.

For more details, see the Grant Agreement (Article 20.4) for multi-beneficiary grants or mono-beneficiary grants.

Content and format

The CFS should be based on the model in Annex 5 to the Grant Agreement and consist of:

  • the terms of reference, signed by the beneficiary/linked third party and the auditor/Public Officer.
  • the auditor’s independent report of factual findings. This report must be issued on the auditor’s or Public Officer’s letterhead, dated, stamped and signed by the auditor/Public Officer.
Contact

For any questions about the CFS, you may contact the Horizon 2020 Helpdesk.

Certificate on the methodology for unit cost (CoMUC)

The CoMUC is a factual report produced by an independent auditor. Its purpose is to enable the European Commission or grant awarding agency to:

  • identify your usual cost accounting practices
  • check that you have used a suitable unit cost accounting methodology (a methodology is suitable if it ensures that direct personnel costs declared as unit costs comply with the Grant Agreement).
Submitting a CoMUC methodology certificate

Submitting a CoMUC methodology certificate is optional. Doing so will help prevent problems later on if your grant is audited.

The certificate may be submitted at any time during the implementation of H2020 framework programme via e-mail to the following functional mailbox: EC-H2020-Unit-Cost-Methodology-Certification@ec.europa.eu.

For more details, see the see the Grant Agreement (Article 18.1.2) for multi-beneficiary grants or mono-beneficiary grants.

Content and format

The CoMUC methodology certificate must be drafted in accordance with Annex 6 to the Grant Agreement and consist of:

  • the terms of reference, signed by the beneficiary/linked third party and the auditor/Public Officer.
  • The auditor’s independent report of factual findings which includes a table
    • statements to be confirmed by the beneficiary/third party
    • all the procedures to be performed by the auditor and
    • all the standard findings to be confirmed by the auditor
    The report must be issued on the auditor’s or Public Officer’s letterhead, dated, stamped and signed by the auditor/Public Officer.
Assessment of methodologies

The Commission assesses methodologies against the criteria in the Grant Agreement and related Annotated Grant Agreement. It checks that:

  1. cost accounting practices are applied in a consistent manner, based on objective criteria, regardless of the source of funding;
  2. the hourly rate is calculated using the actual personnel costs recorded in the beneficiary’s accounts, excluding any ineligible costs included in other budget categories;
  3. annual productive hours are calculated according to one of the three methods allowed in the grant agreement
    1. 1720 annual productive hours (pro-rata for persons not working full-time) or
    2. the total number of hours worked by the person for the beneficiary in the year (individual annual productive hours) or
    3. the standard number of annual hours generally applied by the beneficiary for its personnel in accordance with its usual cost accounting practices (must be at least 90% of the standard annual workable hours).
Response

Within 60 calendar days, you will normally receive an answer about the acceptance or rejection of the certificate.

Once the Commission has accepted a methodology certificate, that methodology can be considered approved for all actions until the end of the H2020 framework programme – unless checks by the Commission reveal that it is not being properly implemented.

Subsequent changes in methodology

You must notify the Commission of changes to the methodology you use. You may also submit a new certificate reflecting the changes.

CoMUC costs

The costs of producing a CoMUC methodology certificate are eligible as long as the methodology is approved by the Commission and related costs fulfil the eligibility conditions.

Contact

For any questions about the CoMUC you may contact the Horizon 2020 Helpdesk.

AUDITS

The European Commission may order an audit of your H2020 grant during the project or at any time up to 2 years after the final payment. Any claimed ineligible costs will be recovered or deducted from the next payment.

If there are any systematic errors, the Commission may extend the findings of the audit results to non-audited grant agreements or non-audited periods. Besides these corrections, other measures may be taken, including penalties.

If you have submitted a CoMUC, the auditor will ensure that you have applied the approved methodology consistently.

FAQ Reference documents Useful links