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What Are Cost Accounting Standards?


This provides information about Cost Accounting Standards. The Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) set forth broad policies governing sponsored project financial administration. The Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) 48 CFR 9905.501, 9905.502, 9905.505, and 9905.506 were included in the revised cost principles of the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 at Part 200.419.

Cost Accounting Standards

  • Cost Accounting Standard 9905.501 requires consistency in estimating, accumulating, and reporting costs
  • Cost Accounting Standard 9905.502 requires consistency in allocating costs incurred for the same purpose
  • Cost Accounting Standard 9905.505 requires proper treatment of unallowable costs
  • Cost Accounting Standard 9905.506 requires consistency in the accounting periods used for cost accounting

Cost Accounting Standard (CAS) 9905.502 states “All costs incurred for the same purpose, in like circumstances, are either direct costs only (can be charged to a grant) or indirect costs only (must be paid with unrestricted funds) with respect to final cost objectives.” Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 then goes on to list specific costs that the federal government considers to be normally charged indirectly, “Items such as salaries of administrative and clerical staff, office supplies, postage, local telephone costs and memberships”.

Receiving a CAS Exemption

The Uniform Guidance does allow for exemptions where cost items normally treated as indirect (F&A) costs may be charged directly if certain conditions are met.

To receive a CAS Exemption you will need to complete a CAS Exemption Form and submit to the Division of Sponsored Programs for final determination.


Cost Accounting Standards

The Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) consist of nineteen standards promulgated by the Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) designed to ensure uniformity and consistency in the measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs to contracts with the United States Government. CAS covers a variety of costs such as depreciation, pension plans, personal compensation, indirect costs and other areas of cost accounting.

Direct Costs

Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored award, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy. Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as either direct or indirect costs. Where an institution treats a particular type of cost as a direct cost of sponsored awards, all costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances shall be treated as direct costs of all other activities of the institution.

Federal Sponsored Award

Any Federal grant, contract, or cooperative award received directly by the University of Florida as well as subawards received by the University under Federal Sponsored Awards to other organizations.

Indirect (F&A) Costs

Costs incurred for common or joint objectives [of the University] and not readily assignable to a particular sponsored award, instructional activity or other institutional activity, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved. “Facilities” is defined as depreciation on buildings, equipment and capital improvement, interest on debt associated with certain buildings, equipment and capital improvements, and operations and maintenance expenses. “Administration” is defined as general administration and general expenses such as the director’s office, accounting, personnel, and all other types of expenditures not listed specifically under “Facilities.”

Last Reviewed

07/31/2021: reviewed content


2 CFR 200 Quick Reference Guide

Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200

48 CFR 9905 – Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) for Education Institutions


UF HR Toolkit – CAS Exemption Process


RSH260: Cost Principles

RSH206: Cost Principles Advanced Topics

RSH282: UFIRST Awards

RSH212: Post Award Overview


Cost Analysis: (352) 392-5778

Contracts and Grants Accounting: (352) 392-1235