PTA Initiation and Setup

The SeRA System

All sponsored Projects account setup is initiated via the SeRA system. Account setup transactions are triggered by an award being accepted and processed by a Stanford Institutional Representative in OSR, RMG or ICO. 

Some key features of the SeRA Account Setup (aka Sponsored PTA Manager) module:

  1. Replaces the OSR electronic PTA System (ePTA)
  2. Eliminates OSR paper forms (38 Early PTA Request, 39 University Research PTA Request and 40 Extended PTA Request)
  3. Creates an online routing and approval process within SeRA
  4. Allows for real time status look-up of PTA setup transactions
  5. Includes PTA information from the Notice of Award

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PTA Setup for New Awards

Once the AAN (Award Approval Notification) is generated by the SeRA (Stanford Electronic Research Administration) system, a parallel transaction for setting up the account is created.

  • For new projects, a New PTA Setup transaction is automatically generated by the SeRA system and assigned to a department administrator.  The department administrator has the opportunity to create the PTA architecture that will facilitate management of the project. Budget allocations should align with the budget as approved by the sponsor.
  • Some elements of the award process will drive automatic configuration in the Account Setup transaction (e.g. inclusion of cost sharing or subawards).
  •  At this stage, the department administrator should review the AAN, Agreement and budget details. Any questions should be directed to the IO (Stanford Electronic Research Administration) noted on the AAN, who processed the award.  
  • The department administrator should complete the desired award configuration and budget allocation details and then route to OSR (Office of Sponsored Research) for completing the account setup.

The new PTA Setup transaction is then routed to an OSR accountant who will review the agreement, budget details and configuration detail information provided by the department administrator. If the information is complete and accurate, OSR will submit and baseline the budget in Oracle to complete the process.

The NOA (Notice of Award) will be sent out via the SeRA system once the New PTA Setup Transaction has been completed. The NOA content is similar to the AAN, however it will now include PTA details.

OSR strives to complete the PTA setup transaction within five business days of receiving the desired award configuration and detailed budget allocation for a particular award.


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PTA Setup Cost Sharing Accounts

If cost sharing is committed, that is, proposed by Stanford and accepted by the sponsor, then it must be accounted for as cost sharing. As part of the New PTA (Project Task Award) Setup or PTA Setup Amendment transactions, the SeRA (Stanford Electronic Research Administration) system will automatically create unique cost sharing PTAs as needed. 

Cost sharing tasks are given the designation of the 700 task series with budget and expense tied to the sponsored project period and carried over the fiscal year end (corresponding to the primary sponsored agreement).  In many instances, when the cost sharing funding source is coming from different schools/departments, or if there are multiple investigators whose cost sharing commitment needs to be tracked separately, multiple tasks can be set up to accommodate this complexity.  Cost sharing PTAs will be listed on the SeRA Notice of Award along with the other PTAs set up in support of a particular sponsored project.

For the purpose of identifying federal vs. non-federal and mandatory vs. voluntary cost sharing, four (4) Oracle Award Purpose codes are used: 


Cost sharing PTAs are budgeted with the committed cost sharing appearing in the Expense Control column of the Monthly Expenditure Statement.

Overdraft Cost Sharing

If the department administrator becomes aware of cost overruns after the sponsored project end date, contact your OSR (Office of Sponsored Research) accountant to request a cost sharing PTA be set up for overdraft purposes.

If there are cost overruns at the end of an award and a cost sharing PTA has not yet been established for this purpose, the OSR accountant will contact the department administrator to discuss setting up a cost sharing PTA as part of the closeout process. OSR will notify the department when cost sharing PTAs are setup in Oracle. The Oracle Award Purpose code for overdrafts is INR OVERDRAFTS.

An overdraft does not represent cost sharing but it must be charged to a cost sharing account in order for it to be properly reflected in the calculation of the F&A (Facilities & Administrative) cost rate.

Timing of Funding the Cost Share PTA

The best practice is to fund the cost sharing account at the inception of the PTA. At minimum, the cost sharing PTA(s) must be funded by the end of each fiscal year and at the end of each award period. Cost sharing PTAs cannot be in overdraft at the end of the University's fiscal year.  Department administrators must provide the funding source when providing the cost sharing PTA attributes.  The funding source can be from one or more of the following sources:

  • Gift fund
  • Endowment income fund
  • Designated/special fund
  • Operating budget (not allowed in SoM - School of Medicine)

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Early PTA Setup

An early PTA (Project Task Award) allows you to open up a PTA prior to receipt of an award or while an award is being negotiated. This allows you to begin charging expenses to the project at the PIs risk.

When you request an early PTA, the PI must identify a guarantee PTA with unrestricted funds to cover the costs in the event that the award does not materialize. 

Once the award is received, an early PTA becomes the project PTA. The project is already setup in the SeRA (Stanford Electronic Research Administration) system. An early PTA can be requested in the SeRA system. If human, animal subjects or stem cells are involved, certification is required that protocols have been filed for review and that no expenses involving those activities will be incurred until the final protocol approval is granted. 

What Not to Do

Do not charge early expenses to an unrestricted PTA when spending in advance of a fully executed award because it is very difficult to separate costs that benefit a sponsored project from other costs in an unrestricted PTA.

You would have to transfer the early expenses to the proper PTA once the award is executed, and provide careful documentation of how they benefit the project. Additionally, depending on how the expenses are incurred, the costs could be considered unallowable. The CAS (Cost Accounting Standards) language states: 

The costs of any work project not contractually authorized, whether or not related to performance of a proposed or existing contract, shall be accounted for, to the extent appropriate, in a manner which permits ready separation from the costs of authorized work projects.

Do not use another sponsored PTA to fund expenses that you intend to move later. The expenses would be considered both unallowable and unallocable. 

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Forms to Setup or Modify PTAs


PTA  System/Form/Procedure

SeRA Proposal Types and their Impact on PTA Setup

View User Guide


Committed Cost Sharing

Early PTA 

Extended PTA 

University Research PTA 

Changes to existing PTAs in Oracle Financials, such as incremental funding, modifications, and amendments

SeRA Sponsored PTA Manager

Sponsored Research Project PTA Attribute Changes 

Attribute changes for PTAs are not initiated in SeRA

Use Stanford GA PTA Maintenance

If not available, contact your OSR Accountant

OSR Overdraft Cost Sharing Request

Email Request to OSR Accountant

Fellowships with no SPO # OSR Form 36
Request for Expenditure Allocation PTA 


Non Sponsored PTA  System/Form/Procedure
 PTA Set-up Request for non-sponsored PTAs

Quick Steps: Request New PTA

Capital Accounting and Fund Accounting

Service Center PTA Request Form 

Changes to ROLE-related attributes for Principal Owner

Mass changes to PTAs

 PTA Role Change Form

Changes to Org Codes, Contact your school accountant


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University Research PTA Set Up

After receiving an internal award, complete a PDRF  (Proposal Development Routing Form) with the following attachments:

  • Award Letter and Cover Sheet
  • Approved Budget
  • Any required protocol approvals

OSR (Office of Sponsored Research) will initiate the PTA set-up process. The setup process for University Research Awards follows the same path as all other sponsored projects through the SeRA (Stanford Electronic Research Administration) system.

The Setup Process

  1. After the PDRF for the University Research Award is received and processed by OSR, OSR will process the associated award transaction and an Award Approval Notification (AAN) is created and emailed to the project stakeholders.
  2. A New PTA Setup transaction is automatically generated and assigned to a department administrator via the SeRA system for review and completion of the desired award configuration and entry of the budget allocation details.
  3. The New PTA Setup transaction is then routed to OSR for review of the information provided by the department administrator.  If the information is complete and accurate, OSR will submit and baseline the budget in Oracle to complete the process.
  4. The Notice of Award (NOA) will be sent out once the New PTA Setup transaction has been completed. The NOA will now include PTA details.

To Begin Spending

Upon notification that the PTA has been set up, the department is to contact the awarding organization to create an iJournal Funds Transfer to transfer University funds to cover the amount of the award.

Not sure if your internal award is considered University Research? 

See Research Policy Handbook 13.2 Categories of Sponsored Projects for more information.


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Transaction Controls

Transaction controls are used to block the use of designated expenditure types for new sponsored projects and new cost sharing awards.


Many of the hundreds of expenditure types now available for use on sponsored projects may not be appropriate for use on sponsored projects, or may be considered unallowable or only be appropriate in certain circumstances.


Blocking the use of expenditure types that are inappropriate for use on a sponsored project will prevent administrators from charging unallowable or unallocable expenses to the award, will reduce the number of journals and other time-consuming adjustments administrators must make, and reduce further unnecessary costs to the departments. 


OSR will assign transaction controls at the project level (the “P” in P-T-A) when OSR sets up PTAs using project templates in Oracle. The project templates will address these six areas:

  1. Unallowables – not chargeable on federal or state awards

  2. Administrative Charging on Federal Awards (Major Project)

  3. Stipends on Research Awards (example NIH R01 awards)

  4. Expenditure types that would not be charged to any sponsored projects (example: ET 51610 LD Clearing Account, Cost of Goods Sold, COGEN , etc.)

  5. Expenditure types that are chargeable to federal/non-federal awards only  (example: animal care charges (VSC),  NSF participant costs)

  6. Capital Equipment and Fabrications  - The default is SU owned,  with the ability to change to non-SU or no capital equipment/fabrication

A list of available Oracle Project Templates can be found here.

To find out what Project Template assigned to your sponsored Project, run RM3 #180 PTA Configuration Report.

What Administrators Can Do

When an expenditure type cannot be charged on a sponsored project, make sure you understand why the expenditure type is not useable:

  • Review the job aid “Error Messages:  expenditure type cannot be used because of a project  transaction control for example error messages when a project transaction control is making an expenditure type unchargeable.

  • Run the RM3180 PTA Configuration Report for a listing of all project transaction controls on the award. (See the job aid: Transaction Controls on the RM3 #180 PTA Configuration Report.

Once you have determined a project transaction control has made the expenditure type unavailable for charging, do not pick another expenditure type just because it is chargeable. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I using the correct expenditure type?
  • Is this an expenditure type that is restricted to a specific award type (federal/non-federal)?
  • Am I charging administrative expenses to a federal award that is not “administratively intense" (major project)?
  • Is this a charge that is not allowable on any sponsored project?
  • Am I correctly charging the appropriate capital /fabrication expenditure type?
  • Am I incorrectly charging stipends instead of salary on a research award?

Once you determine the expenditure type is chargeable on the sponsored award, the department can request that the expenditure type be made available for charging by completing the OSR Form Request to Make Expenditures Types Chargeable/Non-Chargeable. This form can  also be used to make expenditure types non-chargeable as well.

  • Transaction Controls on the RM3 #180 PTA Configuration Report -- provides guidance about transaction controls and how they restrict the use of expenditure types on your project. 
  • Error Messages  --  expenditure type cannot be used because of a project transaction control displays examples of error messages when a project transaction control makes an expenditure type nonchargeable.
  • Expenditure types and their definitions can be found using the Expenditure Type Query Tool and/or the Expenditure Type Definitions and Rules.

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