CAP SBIR/STTR Phase II Administrative/Financial Reviews

When an SBIR/STTR Program Official has determined that it is likely that a Phase II proposal will be recommended for funding, the prospective awardee will be referred to this website and requested to provide documentation needed by NSF to conduct various administrative and financial reviews. These reviews are conducted to evaluate a prospective awardee's ability to effectively and efficiently manage a Federal award. If your organization has been directed to this site by an SBIR/STTR Program Official and requested to provide the documentation needed by NSF to conduct administrative and financial reviews, the documentation should be sent in electronic format (e.g. - PDF) within 10 calendar days of the date of the request to:

Financial Information Checklist should be used as guide to put together documents necessary for the administrative and financial review.

NSF uses the services of CPA firms to perform reviews of the documentation submitted. If contacted by NSF staff or a contractor to provide clarification or additional documentation, responses should be provided as soon as possible to expedite the review process. Please direct questions on completing any of the required documentation to 703-292-8244.

The table below shows all of the materials that are required for a complete CAP review. You can click on the document name for more information about a given document. When submitting your materials, please label your files with the Document Identifier and Name. The Review Material that corresponds with each document can be used for more information.

Document Identifier

Document Name

Review Material


Awardee Organization and Management Summary, NSF Form 357

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Small Business Declaration, NSF Form 359

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Documentation of Organizational Establishment and Structure

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Organizational Chart/Segregation of Duties

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Listing of Current or Recent Federal Awards

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Financial Management Systems Questionnaire (FMSQ), NSF Form 358

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Single audits

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Financial Statements

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Project Cost Ledger

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Chart of Accounts

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Compensation - Personal Services

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Allowable Costs

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Participant Support

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Subaward Monitoring Policies and Subaward Agreement

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Mandatory Cost Sharing

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Support of Indirect Costs

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Current Payroll Registers or Pay Stubs

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Indirect Cost Rate Proposal

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Financial Management or Accounting System Audits

Prospective New Awardee Guide


Year-end financial statements

Financial Information Checklist


Interim financial statements

Financial Information Checklist


Information concerning the basis of accounting

Financial Information Checklist


Accountant's compilation report, review report or audit opinion

Financial Information Checklist


Details of debt obligations

Financial Information Checklist


Tax returns

Financial Information Checklist


Capitalization Table

Financial Information Checklist


Additional Financial Information

Financial Information Checklist


Financial Support Letters

Financial Information Checklist


Accounting Principles

Financial Information Checklist


Other information

Financial Information Checklist



Financial Information Checklist


Senior Personnel

Financial Information Checklist


Other Personnel

Financial Information Checklist


Fringe Benefits

Financial Information Checklist


Permanent Equipment

Financial Information Checklist



Financial Information Checklist


Materials and Supplies

Financial Information Checklist


Consultant Services

Financial Information Checklist



Financial Information Checklist


Indirect Costs

Financial Information Checklist


Indirect Rate Proposal Adjustments

Financial Information Checklist


Complete and submit the following 19 items (when applicable) contained in the Prospective New Awardee Guide:

  1. Awardee Organization and Management Summary, NSF Form 357 (see Appendix 1)

    Complete Part 1 only.

  2. Small Business Declaration, NSF Form 359 (see Appendix 2)

    If you are a for-profit organization or small business, provide a copy of the Small Business Declaration form. If you are a non-profit organization, provide a copy of the current Internal Revenue Service tax exemption letter, which certifies the organization's non-profit status.

  3. Documentation of Organizational Establishment and Structure

    Provide an official or published statement of the purpose of your organization and of the power, which have been granted to it to enter into contractual relationships and/or accept awards (e.g. articles of incorporation, bylaws). This should include a brief description of your organization's objectives.

  4. Organizational Chart/Segregation of Duties

    Provide a copy of your organizational chart reflecting the structure of your organization. The organization's structure should allow for adequate segregation of duties. For example, no single employee or person should have complete control of accounting transactions and oversight of the daily functions of the NSF project; or be in a position that generates a conflict of interest.

  5. Listing of Current or Recent Federal Awards

    Provide a listing of all federal awards (grants, contracts and cooperative agreements) received by your organization over the past two years. Please provide the name of the agency, award number, amount, and title of the project.

  6. Financial Management Systems Questionnaire (FMSQ), NSF Form 358 (see Appendix 3)

    Complete the questionnaire and sign the form.

  7. Single audits

    An organization that expends $750,000 or more in Federal Awards during its fiscal year must have had a single audit conducted in accordance with 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements. Provide your organization's Single Audit Reports if you have met the $750,000 expenditure requirement for both or any of your two most recently ended fiscal years.

  8. Financial Statements - More information below in Section A. Required Financial Material

    If you have NOT met the $750,000 expenditure requirement for a Single Audit, provide your organization's financial statements for the two most recently ended fiscal years. If financial statements are not audited, please ALSO submit the organization's tax returns for the two most recently ended fiscal years.

  9. Project Cost Ledger (PCL)

    Shows actual expenses from the SBIR/STTR Phase I project - reference Section D.7 and B.2 of Prospective New Awardee Guide. If a PCL from the Phase I project is not available, then the awardee organization should submit a copy of its General Ledger (GL), showing its accounting for normal organizational expenditures during its latest accounting period. The Project Expense Ledger can be queried from the General Ledger for a specific grant-project's fund/account to show revenues and incurred expenses under the grant-project. Documentation submitted should show how the organization tracks grant-project expenditures by line item, reconcile current expenditures to the amount budgeted, and keep grant-project expenditures separate from organizational expenditures.

  10. Chart of Accounts

    Please provide an up-to-date Chart of Accounts of revenue and expense codes/accounts used for recording revenues and expenses under Federal grant projects.

  11. Compensation - Personal Services

    Please provide current written policies and procedures for compensation of personal services, or salaries and wages; to address the processes for allocating, reporting, and certifying effort under Federal grant awards. Please also provide a sample of the effort reports/attendance records the organization intends to use for documenting effort charged to the NSF project. Note: SSN's and other personal data should be redacted.

  12. Allowable Costs

    Provide the current accounting policies and procedures in place at the organization governing the types of expenditures that can be made under federally sponsored projects. These should include how the organization will evaluate costs to ensure that they are necessary, reasonable, allocable and allowable. Policies should also include identification and treatment of strictly unallowable costs such as alcohol, entertainment, etc., as prescribed by 2 CFR 200 Subpart E - Cost Principles, and 420-475 - General Provisions for Selected Items of Cost.

  13. Participant Support

    If your proposal contains participant support, provide the current written policies and procedures governing participant support (who is considered a participant, what types of costs can be charged, NSF restrictions on re-budgeting out of participant support, non-recouping of indirect costs, and segregation of incurred participant support costs in the accounting system.). Please also identify in the Chart of Accounts which expense codes/accounts are used to segregate participant support costs.

  14. Subaward Monitoring Policies and Subaward Agreement

    If your proposal contains a subaward, provide the current subaward monitoring policies and procedures in place at the organization as well as a copy of the proposed subaward agreement, if already executed. If the proposed subaward agreement is not yet executed, provide a sample copy of any executed subaward agreement.

  15. Mandatory Cost Sharing

    If your proposal contains mandatory cost-sharing, provide the current cost-sharing policies and procedures in place at the organization. Please also provide an explanation of how the accounting system provides proper segregation and recording, of incurred costs.

  16. Support of Indirect Costs

    Provide a copy of the organization's current negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA). If you do not have a negotiated indirect cost rate and are requesting indirect costs in excess of the "de minimis" rate of 10% of modified total direct costs, submit a full indirect cost rate proposal for review.

  17. Current Payroll Registers or Pay Stubs

    Required for all project personnel with a proposed annualized salary in excess of $50,000 (Note: SSN's and other personal data should be redacted).

  18. Indirect Cost Rate Proposal

    Must be reconciled to the most recently completed financial statements.

  19. Financial Management or Accounting System Audits

    Copies of any financial management or accounting system audits conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) or any other federal agency during the past 5 years.


CAP performs a Financial Capability Review on every prospective Phase II grantee to ensure that the organization is financially stable, has sufficient resources to complete its research program and does not expose the government to the possibility of waste, fraud or abuse of funds. NSF will decline funding when an organization is unable to demonstrate that it has sufficient financial resources as of the evaluation date, or in its opinion, there is a risk of inappropriate use of Federal funds.

The Financial Capability Review includes a review of the organization's solvency (i.e. the level of capital invested by shareholders), debt obligations, liquidity (i.e. cash resources on hand to satisfy financial obligations), historical profit and loss, cash flows, operating trends and financial commitments.

The Financial Capability Review is performed through a review and analysis of the organization's financial statements, tax returns and other information. Additional information may be requested to support an organization's financial capability such as operating budgets, cash flow forecasts, lines of credit, details of liabilities, committed investments, other grant or revenue sources, updated interim financial statements, bank statements, etc.

Section A: Required Financial Information

Applicants for Phase II funding should provide the following information to support the Financial Capability Review. Additional information may be requested by CAP after reviewing the information submitted.

A1. Year-end financial statements: An applicant should submit financial statements for the company covering the results of operations for the two most recently completed fiscal years, including:

  • Income Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Change in Shareholders' Equity

The financial statements should be prepared using the accounting principles described in the section entitled "Accounting Principles."

The financial statements should also include basic "Notes to Financial Statements" and supplementary information to help the reader understand the nature of the accounts presented.

A2. Interim financial statements: Interim financial statements for the current year should be provided if any one of the following circumstances exist:

  • The year-end financial statements submitted are more than 180 days old. For example, if a company has a December 31 fiscal year-end and is submitting financial statements to CAP on or after July 1 of the following year, the company should also submit interim financial statements covering operations of the current year up to the latest date such financial information is available.
  • The company's financial position has changed in a significant and material manner since the year-end financial statements were prepared. This could occur, for example, if the company received a significant level of new investment since year-end; the company's liabilities/debt obligations changed significantly or other developments occurred affecting the financial position of the company and which would be relevant to assessing its financial capability.

A3. Information concerning the basis of accounting: The company should provide a brief description of the basis of the accounting method used to prepare the year-end and interim financial statements. This should include a statement from the company's management or its external CPA/accounting consultant whether or not the financial statements were prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

A4. Accountant's compilation report, review report or audit opinion: If available, companies should submit a copy of their external accountant's most recent compilation, review or audit report on its financial statements; together with the related financial statements and notes thereto.

A5. Details of debt obligations: Provide a schedule of all loans and long-term debt obligations outstanding, including:

  • Name of person/organization to whom the balance is owed;
  • Balance outstanding at the latest balance sheet date;
  • Interest rate and interest payment provisions;
  • Loan repayment date (or repayment provisions); and,
  • Other significant terms of the debt (convertibility provisions, etc.).

Identify clearly all debt obligations of the company that are payable to shareholders of the company or the company's management personnel.

The total balance shown on this schedule should be equal to (or reconcile with) the loan balance reported in the company's financial statements.

For companies that have issued Preferred Stock, provide details of the dividend requirements, repurchase provisions, convertibility provisions, etc. to the extent such information is not already provided elsewhere in the information submitted.

A6. Tax returns: If the company's year-end financial statements are unaudited, provide a copy of the company's tax return for its most recently completed fiscal year.

A7. Capitalization Table: A capitalization table, also called a cap table, is a spreadsheet document that private companies use to track their securities, the equity ownership of all shareholders and the value of the equity. Several types of information are typically included:

  • Ownership percentage
  • Common shares
  • Preferred shares
  • Convertible notes and warrants (and who owns them)
  • Prices paid by investors for securities
  • Valuations

Note: If the company is an LLC, please provide a table with a breakdown of all the LLC members with their relative shares of the profit/loss of the LLC.

A8. Additional Financial Information: CAP performs additional procedures on companies whose financial statements indicate they may be in financial difficulty, or who are addressing financial solvency or liquidity issues. Applicants for Phase II funding who meet any one of the following criteria should provide the additional information listed below to enable a more complete review of their financial capability:

Indicators of Possible Financial Difficulty

  1. Solvency issue: As indicated by negative shareholders' equity on their latest balance sheet. (i.e. a shareholders' equity balance that is less than zero).
  2. For the purposes of this test, shareholders' equity consists of both (i) shareholders' equity or net worth as of the latest balance sheet and (ii) any shareholder loans or advances made to the company and reflected on the balance sheet, and which will be outstanding for at least the 2-year period while Phase II research is underway.

  3. Liquidity issue: indicated by both a Current Ratio of less than 1:1 and a Quick Ratio of less than 0.9:1. The current ratio is the ratio of current assets to current liabilities. The quick ratio is the ratio of quick assets to current liabilities. Quick assets are bank account balances and other liquid funds.
  4. Unfunded loan maturities: Significant loans coming due within the next 2 years, and for which the source of repayment is not evident.

Provide the following additional information if an indicator of financial difficulty is present:

  • Cash flow forecast or operating budget for the upcoming 2-year period; indicating major categories of cash receipts and disbursements. Evidence must be provided to support the likelihood of actually receiving projected cash receipts;
  • Details of additional investments expected from shareholders (indicating the amount and timing);
  • New contracts or grants received; and,
  • Other financial information of the company that is relevant to understanding its financial capability and future prospects.

Additional information to support an applicant's financial capability may be requested following receipt and review of the above information.

A9. Financial Support Letters: The financial viability of some companies depends on loans, advances and credit facilities provided by major shareholders or investors. Without these credit facilities, an organization could have difficulty paying expenses and meeting its financial obligations on a timely basis.

If a Phase II applicant's financial viability relies on, among other things, the continuation of loans or credit facilities from shareholder(s) or investor(s), please provide Financial Support Letter(s) signed by such shareholder(s) or investor(s) confirming:

  1. their intention to continue providing the loan or credit facilities to the company for the 2 year period Phase II research is underway and indicate the limits of that support; and
  2. that the shareholder loans or advances that are outstanding as of the date of the letter and in the amount of $_____ will not be repaid during the 2 year period Phase II research underway if such repayment will affect the solvency of the company or its ability to meet its financial obligations in a timely basis.

A10. Accounting Principles: Applicants for Phase II funding are encouraged to prepare and submit their financial statements in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Phase II applicants are permitted to submit their financial statements on either (a) the accrual basis of accounting; (b) the cash basis of accounting; or (c) the income tax basis of accounting; provided the following requirements are met:

  1. The company provides a description of the basis of accounting and accounting principles used to prepare the financial statements;
  2. The company provides additional Notes to Financial Statements to explain the nature of accounts presented; and,
  3. The company provides a listing and description of the major adjustments needed to present the submitted statements in accordance with GAAP. Companies new to financial reporting and preparation of GAAP financial statements should discuss this requirement with its external CPA.

A11. Other information: Prospective Phase II grantees should submit any other information that they believe is relevant to understanding the financial capability and/or financial viability of their company. This includes details of any additional investments expected from shareholders (indicating the amount and timing); new contracts or grants received and other financial developments of the company that are relevant to understanding its financial capability and future prospects.

Section B: Information to Support the Budget Review

B1. Timesheet: Provide a sample timesheet in use by the company to ensure it adequately documents time spent by employees on activities performed. The timesheet and/or time recording system should meet the NSF's requirements for timekeeping systems as described at:

Sample Timesheet:
Related Information:

B2. Senior Personnel: (1) Provide a current payroll register for each employee and clearly indicate payroll period, i.e., bi-monthly, bi-weekly, etc. (2) For each named individual who is not presently employed by the organization, provide an employment agreement that states the rate of payment with the organization's considerations in determining the rate of pay. (3) For positions where specific individuals have not been named, provide an explanation of how the rates were determined and any related documentation. (4) Salaries that can not be sustained by commercial activities will be limited to the amounts supported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics salary surveys from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES). CAP will not exceed the OES mean average salaries in its recommendations. CAP also does not consider small business owners to be "Chief Executives." Standard Occupational Classifications (SOCs) should be suggested, or they will be determined without input from the small business. (See (5) NSF will only fund reasonable increases in base salaries.

B3. Other Personnel: For all "other personnel" proposed at an annualized salary in excess of $50,000, provide cost data as described for senior personnel above. If individual is administrative (i.e., accounting, secretarial, etc.), state reason they are proposed directly and not included in indirect costs.

B4. Fringe Benefits: Provide the categories of costs (FICA, health benefits, etc.) included and the related amounts. Provide calculation of the actual fringe rate for previously completed fiscal year (total fringe costs / total labor costs). (See Indirect Costs below).

B5. Permanent Equipment: Defined as non-expendable, tangible personal property, having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. However, companies may elect to establish their capitalization threshold at less than $5,000. Provide cost data from three sources which can be in the form of written quotations and/or copies of pricing information contained in catalogs, trade journals, etc. In situations where equipment can only be provided by one specific source provide a sole source justification and a written quote from that source.

B6. Travel: Provide an itemization of travel which should include the destination, purpose of travel, number of days in travel status, and the estimated costs for items included in the amount (airfare, cab fare, car rental, per diem rates, hotel and other incidentals.) First class and business class fares are unallowable. Per diem in excess of Federal Travel Regulation limits is unallowable. No supporting detail is required for attendance at the annual Grantee Conference budgeted at $2,000 (or less) per person, limited to $4,000/year. (Federal Travel Regulation).

B7. Materials and Supplies: Provide an itemized listing of materials and supplies to include the item identification/description, vendor, quantity, price, and extended amount. Provide quotations or other appropriate documentation to support any single material and supply item with an extended amount in excess of $5,000.

B8. Consultant Services: For each consultant, provide an agreement which includes the following information: (1) the services to be provided; (2) the period of performance and the consultant's availability; (3) the qualifications of the consultant to perform the work; and (4) the rate of pay, not to exceed $600 per 8 hour day. Consultants should be chosen using a competitive selection process; otherwise, sole source justifications should be maintained.

B9. Subawards: For each subaward provide (1) a statement detailing the relationship between the awardee and the subawardee; (2) a statement describing the manner in which the subawardee budget was solicited; e.g., sole source or competitive; (3) the type of award contemplated; e.g., fixed price or cost reimbursement; and (4) an analysis to support that the subaward budgeted cost category amounts are reasonable; including supporting documentation for all budgeted cost categories if and when requested. (5) Subawardee universities and non-profit organizations that have a federally negotiated rate agreement should provide it. Subawardee indirect cost recoveries are also limited to 150% S&W. (6) Subawards should be chosen using a competitive selection process; otherwise, sole source justifications should be maintained.

B10. Indirect Costs: No documentation is required to support budgeted indirect costs plus fringe with an effective rate of 50% or less of direct salaries and wages (S&W). Documentation is required to support indirect costs with an effective rate greater than 50% S&W and is limited to 150% S&W. Indirect costs budgeted at an effective rate greater than 50% must be substantiated by a current indirect rate proposal for the most recently completed fiscal year expenses. The indirect rate proposal must clearly reflect total expenses per your financial statement and show a reconciliation. Rate proposals that do not have a clear reconciliation to total expenses as reported in the financial statements will not be reviewed and the 50% S&W "safe rate" will be recommended for funding. If available, the corresponding rate agreement should be provided; however, NSF reserves the right to make adjustments for forward pricing purposes. In the event the most recently completed fiscal year of activity does not reasonably reflect performance under the Phase II award, a budgeted rate proposal may be submitted in addition to the most recently completed fiscal year actual calculation. Budgeted rate proposals submitted without an actual calculation for the most recently completed fiscal year will not be reviewed. Budgeted pool expenses must be supported by actual cost data or evidence must be provided that a future obligation will be in place accompanied by a reliable quotation. Budgeted indirect rate proposals must include a reference column for each pool expense and each supporting document must be attached and labeled accordingly. (Indirect Cost Proposal Guidance, see Indirect Rate Proposal Submission Procedures).

B11. Indirect Rate Proposal Adjustments:

  • IR&D must be treated as a direct cost and included in the indirect rate allocation base.
  • The following expenses will not be funded as part of indirect cost pools:

    1. Patent and patent related expenses;
    2. Sales and marketing;
    3. Business development; and
    4. Manufacturing and production.
  • Indirect salaries and wages in excess of 35% total salaries and wages, less paid time off, is considered unreasonable and will be reclassified to direct costs.
  • Subcontracts will be excluded from the base unless subcontracts in the indirect cost proposal are proportionate to subcontracts budgeted in the SBIR/STTR proposal. ODCs to outside organizations may be treated as subcontracts.
  • Equipment will be excluded from the base. Indirect rates will not be applied to equipment.
  • Sales/marketing, business development, and manufacturing/production must be allocated its share of general and administrative expenses and included as part of the allocation base.
  • Facilities Capital Cost of Money (FCCM) will not be funded.

Small businesses are cautioned that it is their responsibility to provide adequate explanation and documentation to support budgeted costs. Funding recommendations will not be revised based on new documentation or explanations that are provided subsequent to the completion of budget reviews.