Nine months after its initial proposals, the EC has issued a revised Annex II to the FP7 grant agreement to simplify its financial rules. The changes, however, relate only to average personnel costs, which are used by relatively few participants.
Large organisations which use averages will welcome the new conditions, which allow them to use their usual calculation methods, provided they are based on actual costs and exclude estimated or budgeted amounts. They are also allowed to use their usual way to calculate productive time if this is based on auditable data, a privilege not enjoyed by other Framework Programme participants. The requirement to have their calculation methods pre-approved by the EC disappears, though they can still opt to do this.
SME owners who do not receive a salary also face a change. In FP6, the EC accepted dividends paid to SME owners as eligible personnel costs. In FP7, this practice was possible only if the method to calculate the costs was first approved by the EC. This requirement is now replaced by claiming personnel costs based on those devised by the EC for the Marie Curie programme. However, SME owners whose calculation method was approved before the new Annex II was published can continue to apply that method.
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