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.
Payments and accounting entries are executed by CERN at the request, and for the exclusive account, of the 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.
N.B. 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-guide;
- 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
There are different types of third-party accounts, with specific purposes. Their definition and opening procedures are summarized hereafter:
|Third-party account type||Description and features||Opening procedure|
|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.||Application form in line with the Grey Book registration, signed by an authorised responsible Finance Officer from the Institution (see paragraph 1.2). The signed application form can be attached to the Administration des codes budgétaires / Budget Code Administration (BCA) form in EDH or sent by e-mail to the Third-party Accounts service.|
|Linked to one single Institution.|
|Linked to one or several Experiments.|
|Automatic periodic invoicing of the expenses incurred since last invoice.|
|Annual expenditure budgets shall be set per Visiting Research Team account.|
|The Account Manager (TAM) and signature holders represent the institute as associated members of the personnel.|
|The Account Manager (TAM) has a responsibility to ensure activities on a third-party account are known to their institute.|
|The Visiting Research Team 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.|
|Advance payments via the EDH document Appel de fonds externes (RFF) / Request For External Funds (RFF) permitted under specific conditions (see Accounts receivable, invoicing and payment).|
|Collaboration Account||Used for experimental infrastructure investments and maintenance as defined in the collaboration MoU(s).||
Opening request via the EDH document Administration des codes budgétaires / Budget Code Administration (BCA), created or approved by the Resources Coordinator, as registered in the Grey Book or by e-mail to the Third-party Accounts service.
For the first Collaboration Account, attach the
|Financial contributions in advance from several Institutions or Funding Agencies.|
|Spending limits based on the balance of a single Collaboration Account or groups of Collaboration Accounts within the collaboration.|
|Invoicing and reminders initiated via the EDH document Appel de fonds externes (RFF) / Request For External Funds (RFF) by the Resources Coordinator in accordance with financial documents (RRB/FRC).|
|The 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.|
|Special Fund Account (limited use)||
Activities managed by CERN and not directly linked to Experiments or its participating Institutions are managed on CERN budget codes, with some historical exceptions.
1.2 Request to open a third-party account
Requests to open third-party accounts shall be addressed to the Third-party Accounts service 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 use the electronic form rather than the paper version as it includes links to other webpages and services.
The Finance Officer assigns an Account Manager (TAM) from the Institution who is registered as an associated member of the personnel at CERN. More information about the role of Finance Officer and Account Manager (TAM) can be found under Roles, access and signature rights (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. firstname.lastname@example.org). Note that this e-mail cannot be to the person assigned as Account Manager who will receive the invoices anyway.
It is mandatory to enter a valid e-mail address for the head of the Institution or the Finance officer on the opening form and important that this information is kept up-to-date. This will allow CERN's Accounting services to provide financial reporting and communications to the appropriate people. The Account Manager is required to ensure that this information is always valid, and update it using the Account Management webpage in case of change. Account Managers are regularly reminded to ensure that the information is still valid.
The signed form shall be sent electronically to email@example.com.
b) Collaboration Account
A new Collaboration Account is opened through the EDH form Administration des codes budgétaires / Budget Code Administration (BCA) and is approved by the person registered in the Grey Book as Resources Coordinator (or Spokeperson if no Resources Coordinator is nominated). For the first opening, attach the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU or equivalent for each project phase (construction, management and operation (M&O), upgrade, etc.).
A request can also be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
c) Special Fund Account (limited use)
In the past, some third-party accounts were opened for CERN agreements or collaboration contracts (K-contracts) not directly linked to Experiments or its participating Institutions.
Externally funded activities managed by CERN are now mostly managed on CERN budget codes, with some historical exceptions.
Existing accounts remain subject to the conditions defined in the existing agreements.
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 Account Manager receives an e-mail giving access to the Account Management webpage 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 (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 Third-Party Accounts service. Some information might be changed directly by the 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 Account Manager.
The Account Manager can update expenditure budget, signature rights, access to invoices and other data registered for the third-party account on the Account Management webpage.
b) Collaboration Account and Special Fund Agreement
The Account Manager can modify certain information using the Administration des codes budgétaires / Budget Code Administration (BCA) form in EDH (account description and classification). The list of signature holders is updated on the Account Management webpage.
2.2 Enter and modify data on the webpage
Open the webpage Account Management.
Click on the hyperlink of the third-party account Txxxxxx and select “Edit Item” to modify, press Save 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 Account Managers who have logged in to the site (via “Sign in” in the top right corner). A person might have signature rights without being the assigned 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 balance is zero.
Any remaining funds on a Visiting Research Team account shall be returned to the Institution through a bank transfer or a fund reallocation to another Visiting Research Team account of the same Institution, provided that the funds did originate from the Institution.
The closure of a third-party account can be requested via the Administration des codes budgétaires / Budget Code Administration (BCA) form in EDH. On-going subscriptions (phone, e-pool, etc.) can be reallocated to another account of the institute to be defined in the form.
3.2 "Clean-up" campaigns
In order to contain the financial administration and fulfill controls of third-party accounts, the Third-Party Accounts service 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.
It is the responsibility of the Account Managers to keep the registered information up-to-date 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.
|1||Return of the remaining funds.||15.03.2017|
|2||Updated application form and opening procedure||28.06.2017|
|4||Introduction of Third-Party Account instead of Team Account||07.10.2019|
|5||Procedure revised following the restructuration of FAP department.||21.03.2022|
|6||Procedure revised by the concerned service.||17.06.2022|