Financial management records are necessary for cost analysis and the recovery of ARF costs through fees for services. These records include census records on the number of animals per day assigned to an investigator or protocol. They must also include the billing and payment records of investigators or protocols. Cost analysis records include personnel activity reports or other data for allocating salaries and wages to animal categories, space use records by animal category, cage-washing schedules and the number of cages washed by animal category, the quantities and costs of supplies used by animal category, and the cost of animals procured. Additional records might be necessary for accurate cost analysis, and the reader is referred to the Cost Analysis and Rate Setting Manual for Animal Research Facilities (CARS Manual) (NIH 2000 or http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/) for such information. Data collected for cost analysis should be examined to see whether they reveal opportunities for cost containment. For example, personnel activity reports could reveal inefficient assignment of personnel, and revision of assignments could lead to cost savings.
Compliance records are those required for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and any other applicable laws and regulations. Included in these records are those of protocol reviews and approvals, numbers of animals and species approved and used for a protocol, and reviews of animal care and use programs and facilities. Also pertinent are occupational health, faculty and staff training, and facility security records.
Records are essential but can be a substantial cost item for an animal research facility. The institution must give thought to the type and format of records and the intended uses of the data collected. Data should not be collected and recorded unless the institution foresees a need for the information. Similarly, records should not be retained beyond their useful life. Note that some compliance records must be retained for 3 years after termination of the research project. There is a large amount of interrelationship among the records kept by an animal research facility. For example, the number of animals procured and assigned to a protocol needs to be entered into animal records, financial management records, and compliance records. Because of this interrelatedness, the institution should set up a system of interrelated databases to minimize data entry.
Cost accounting is very important for the efficient and cost-effective operation of an ARF. The facility should have a system of cost accounting like that described in the CARS Manual. This manual sets forth a method whereby an ARF can allocate its costs to specific animal categories and