Master and Associate Accounts

An associate account is an SL account that is linked to another SL account through its budget and for financial reporting purposes. You must designate the master account when you create the associate account. An associate account inherits the master's map code.

A master account may have multiple associates, but an associate can have only one master account. Associate accounts are usually only made for sponsored award accounts and not internally funded accounts. An award should have only one master account, but may have multiple associate accounts.

Associate accounts are created for a number of special cases. The most common reasons for associate accounts are:

  1. When a single award must use two or more indirect cost (IDC) rates. In FAS, an account cannot have more than one indirect cost rate at the same time. An award will have more than one applicable IDC rate if parts of the project will be conducted both on and off-campus or if it contains participant support costs. In this case, the master account is used for the on-campus costs, and an associate account will be created for the off-campus costs, and so on.
  2. To segregate costs in a large award that is comprised of several distinct projects. In such a case, an associate account can be created for each separate project under the award.
  3. For cost sharing accounting which will be dealt with elsewhere.
  4. When a PI and co-PI are in different divisions or departments. In this case, it is best to create an associate account for each additional participating department and assign the exec and dept codes to the accounts accordingly. This will allow administrators across divisions to better track expenses for their departments and also allows for a more accurate recording of IDC allocations by department.

Associate accounts should have the same short name, and award details as the master account. However it is best to make the long name more descriptive of the account's purpose rather than copying the master account. For instance a master account named "modeling deep-sea pyroclastic flows" might have an associate titled "pyroclastic flows (off-campus)" or "pyroclastic flows (cost share)".

Associate accounts are linked to the master in the budgeting process, but other updates to the master will not automatically be updated in the associates. For example, budget begin/end dates, account names, PI, authorized signer, and account administrators must be separately updated for each account. Likewise, account freeze flags can be applied to the associates and not the master account. Also, master and associate accounts must be closed separately each with its own closing memo.

Sometimes it is useful for an associate account to have a different authorized signer and/or account administrator from the master account. One example is when an associate is assigned to a different department or division from the master. In such cases it is important to coordinate the closing process with all of the administrators involved.