Registration of a Third-Party Account (Teams and Collaborations)

Applicable to:  Other persons concerned, Members of the personnel


A Third-Party Account is a cost centre in CERN's books made available for the exclusive purpose of permitting the account holder to manage and keep track of incoming funds and expenditure related to it's participation in an Experiment, hosted by CERN and registered in the "CERN Grey Book". 

Payements and accounting entries are executed by CERN at the request, and for the exclusive account, of th account holder. Consequently, a Third-Party Account cannot be used for CERN core activities but only for professional activities of external parties, which occur on CERN's premises and are related to a CERN approved or recognized experiment.

Research Institutions actively participating in an experiment at CERN may request the opening of a Third-Party Account either independently or in the frame of a Collaboration. 

NB: Externally funded projects that do not qualify for opening a Third-Party Account are subject to the policies applicable to External Contributions and Fundraising.

Third-Party Accounts and their use are subject to:

  • the conditions set out in the “Conditions applicable to the opening and use of Third-Party Accounts”
  • the relevant principles, processes and financial thresholds of the CERN Staff Rules and Regulations and admin e-guides;
  • the CERN Financial Rules and Regulations;
  • any relevant decision of the CERN Management.

CERN is particularly attentive to transparency towards funding Institutions as well as prevention against tax evasion, money laundering and parking of money. 


1. Opening of a Third-Party Account

1.1 Definitions

There are three types of Third-Party Accounts, with specific purposes. The definitions and requested documentations are summarized hereafter:

Third-Party Account type Description and features Requested documentation
Visiting Research Team Account - Used for running expenses of a Team of researchers on the CERN site that are not included in the collaboration MoU.
- Linked to one single Institution.
- Linked to one or several Experiments.
- Automatic periodic invoicing of the expenses incurred since last invoice.
- Advance payments by RFF permitted under specific conditions (see Accounts receivable, invoicing and payment (Teams and Collaborations)).
- Annual expenditure budgets shall be set per Visiting Research Team Account.
- The Third-Party Account Manager has a reporting obligation towards his/her institution.
- The Third-Party Account Manager and signature holders represent the institute as Associated Members of the personnel.
- The Third-Party Account shall be closed when the Team of researchers has left and/or has no more activity at CERN, or when the conditions for use are extinct. 
Application form (see 1.2) signed by an authorised responsible Finance Officer from the Institution in line with the
Grey Book registration.
Collaboration Account - Used for experimental infrastructure investments and maintenance as defined in the collaboration MoU(s).
- Financial contributions from several Institutions or Funding Agencies.
- Spending limits based on cash balance of single Collaboration Account or groups of Collaboration Accounts within the collaboration.
- Invoicing and reminders initiated by Third-Party Account Manager (Resource Coordinator) in accordance with financial documents (RRB/FRC) with the use of RFF.
- The Third-Party Account Manager (Resources Coordinator) has a reporting obligation towards the participating institutes, generally through Resources Review Boards (RRB) or Finance Review Committees (FRC).
- The Collaboration Accounts shall be closed when the collaboration/experiment is finished or has no more activities at CERN.
Initial opening request sent by Spokeperson or Resources Coordinator (via Memo or e-mail) with reference to the Grey Book registration and
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or equivalent for each project phase (construction, M&O, upgrade, etc.).
Subsequent opening requests by e-mail.
Special Fund Account - Conditioned to the signature of an official Agreement with CERN.
- Linked to one single Institution.
- Might receive CERN funds.
- Invoicing and reminders issued by RFF and/or automatic periodic invoicing in accordance with agreement.
- A Third-Party Account Manager (TAM) present at CERN is nominated by the party(ies).
- The Third-Party Account Manager and/or the CERN person defined as the financial contact has a reporting obligation towards the party(ies).
- The Special Fund should be closed when the Agreement expires.
Agreement or K-contract signed by CERN.

1.2 Request to open a Third-Party Account

The requests to open Third-Party Accounts shall be addressed to the Teams and Collaborations Section in the Finance and Administrative Processes Department.

a) Visiting Research Team Account

The head of the Institution or a Finance Officer authorised to make financial commitments on behalf of the Institution shall fill out and sign an Application and update form for a visiting research Team Account. It is advised to fill the form on a computer rather than on paper as it includes links to other webpages and services.

The Finance Officer of the Institution should not assign him or herself as Third-Party Account Manager. More information about the role of Finance Officer can be found under Roles, access and signature rights (Teams and Collaborations) (see paragraph 1.1.).

The invoice address should be the official address of the Accounts Payable service of the Institution requesting the opening. To ensure that the address is permanently valid, it is advised to enter a generic e-mail address (ex. Note that this e-mail cannot be to the person assigned as Third-Party Account Manager who will receive the invoices anyway.

It is important that a valid e-mail address for the head of the Institution or the Finance officer is entered on the opening form and that this information is kept up-to-date. This will allow CERN Finance services to inform the Institution when the database is updated at the request of the Third-Party Account Manager, in particular when the modifications concern the Team Account Manager. This information is mandatory for Visiting Research Team Account and must be included on the form to open the account. The Third-Party Account Manager is required to ensure that this information is always valid, and update it using the Team Account Management webpage (TAM) in case of change. Third-Party Account Managers are regularly reminded to ensure that the information is still valid.

The signed form shall be sent electronically to

b) Collaboration Account

For each project phase, the opening of a new Collaboration Account is done through a written request from the nominated Spokesperson or Resources Coordinator and accompanied by the corresponding MoU. The opening of additional Collaboration Accounts can be requested in writing by the Collaboration’s Resources Coordinator, or by the secretariat with the Spokesperson or Resources Coordinator in Cc.

c) Special Fund Account

A Special Fund Account may be opened when an Agreement between CERN and another party necessitates the opening of a cost centre and does not qualify as a CERN activity. The Agreement must contain:

  • The purpose of the work;
  • A start date;
  • An end date or, at least, a clear condition for termination (e.g. final deliverable);
  • A clear estimate of the expense and funding profile;
  • The invoicing conditions;
  • A technical responsible at CERN, employed by CERN or the other party.

The External Funding group must be informed in advance of any preparation of an Agreement with external funding coming towards CERN.

At the termination of the Agreement, the Special Fund Account shall be closed. Any remaining funds should return to the funding party, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the Agreement. When the funding originated from several parties and the remaining funds cannot be identified as belonging to one or the other, the funds are returned pro rata to the funding or each party.

1.3 Approval of the request

When the request is approved, the nominated Third-Party Account Manager receives an e-mail giving access to the website for Third-Party Account Management together with important information on how to financially manage and check the Third-Party Account. More information about this role can be found under Roles, access and signature rights (Teams and Collaborations) (see paragraph 1.2).

2. Modify Third-Party Account information 

Any change in the purpose of a Third-Party Account shall be communicated in writing to the Teams and Collaborations Section. Some information might be changed directly by the Third-Party Account Manager as described hereafter:

2.1 Who can modify registered data

a) Visiting Research Team Account

The Finance Officer can update certain information by filling out the Application and update form for a visiting research Team Account. CERN will inform the Finance Officer about any modification request concerning the Third-Party Account Manager.

The Third-Party Account Manager can update expenditure budget, signature rights, access to invoices and other data registered for the Third-Party Account on a webpage:

Team Account Management webpage (TAM)

b) Collaboration Account and Special Fund Agreement

The Third-Party Account Manager can modify all information on a webpage:

2.2 Enter and modify data on the webpage

Open the webpage: Team Account Management webpage (TAM)

Click on the hyperlink of the Third-Party Account Txxxxxx and select “Edit Item” to modify, press OK when ready. It may take a couple of days for the modification to be approved and transferred to CERN’s main database.

Note that this page is accessible only for Third-Party Account Managers that have logged in to the site (via “Sign in” in the top right corner). A person might have signature rights without being the assigned Third-Party Account Manager, in which case the person will not have access to the site.

3. Closing of a Third-Party Account

3.1 Request to close a Third-Party Account

A Third-Party Account shall be closed when any of the following happens:

  • An authorized person (TAM, Finance Officer, Spokesperson, etc.) makes the request;
  • The Third-Party Account is unused;
  • The conditions for having a Third-Party Account at CERN have ceased to exist.

The following conditions shall be met before closing a Third-Party Account:

  • All expenses have been invoiced;
  • All invoices have been paid;
  • The cash balance is at zero.

Any remaining funds on a Visiting Research Team Account shall be returned to the Institution through a bank transfer or a TID to another Visiting Research Team Account of the same Institution, provided that the funds did originate from the Institution. The Third-Party Account Manager shall use the Closing form with remaining balance to initiate the transfer.

3.2 "Clean-up" campaigns

In order to contain the administrative management of Third-Party Accounts, the Teams and Collaborations Section periodically launches “clean-up” campaigns in order to ensure that unused Third-Party Accounts are closed and that the information in CERN’s database are up-to-date.

In order to reduce the number of requests, the Third-Party Account Managers can proactively review the Third-Party Accounts under their responsibility as described in paragraph 2 of this procedure.

3.3 Breach of applicable rules

CERN reserves the right to suspend or close a Third-Party Account that is not used for its original purpose, is in breach of the applicable rules, or for which the mandatory information is missing or outdated.


No revision Modifications Approved
1 Return of the remaining funds. 15.03.2017
2 Updated application form and opening procedure 28.06.2017
3 Complete revision 17.01.2018
4 Introduction of Third-Party Account instead of Team Account 07.10.2019