You did your best to plan your project budget in detail and ensure the project is financially feasible. However, in such an innovative project, there are many unexpected factors that may impact the budget estimation.
The good news is that the EC gives some flexibility in this regard, and you are allowed to transfer amounts between budget categories. However, be reminded of the guiding principle – the total project budget and the maximum grant amount cannot increase!
What is allowed?
To cover unexpected expenditures, first look for savings in other categories. There are two options to update the budget, in principle you are allowed to:
- transfer costs – if the incurred costs turn out to be lower than the estimated costs, the difference can be allocated to another budget category,
- declare unforeseen costs – not planned in the original budget but later proved necessary to properly execute the project.
Be aware that, in principle, budget shifts should not affect the scope of the project, meaning you should achieve the same project objectives as planned in the Grant Agreement.
How to request budget shifts?
If you plan to update the budget breakdown, don’t forget to get in touch with the EC Project Officer and check if the proposed transfers can be approved. In some specific cases, an amendment to the Grant Agreement may be required. For example, changes in subcontracting are normally more complicated and you may need to amend the contract with the Commission.
Check your Grant Agreement! Some specific rules may apply to your project, for example, transfers between budget categories going beyond a certain threshold percentage require an amendment.
Make a list of all budget shifts and prepare a good justification for changes.
Approval is at the discretion of the granting authority, therefore, the more detailed and accurate explanations, the better chance of being accepted.
Finally, keep in mind that all budget deviations must be flagged and duly justified in the periodic report, regardless of prior notification to the project officer.
If you are not sure how to deal with the budget shifts, we can help! Contact us at email@example.com for more information and guidance.