OMB Super Circular Arrives

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Dec 24, 2013 1:41:00 PM

It was some two years in the making, a culmination of collaborative efforts by state and local governments, tribes, research and higher education institutions, nonprofits, and the audit community. The Office of Management and Budget’s “Super Circular,” whose guidance will be released this Thursday, December 26, through the Federal Register, consolidates eight OMB circulars into one to reform how we steward federal funding.

The “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” guidance streamlines requirements from the following OMB circulars: A-21, A-110, and A-133, as well as A-50, A-87, A-89, A-102, and A-122. The Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) hosted a webcast on the Super Circular on December 20 to discuss the new guidance, giving a rundown of the history and some helpful specifics.

Finding the Happy Medium

The theme of the webcast discussion was about striking a balance between reducing waste, abuse, and fraud while decreasing burdensome red tape for grantees. In general, emphasis is shifted to performance-based requirements over compliance. According to Norman Dong, Office of Management and Budget (co-chair of COFAR), “The updated program guidance focuses more on the outcomes that need to be achieved and less on how grantees should go about the process for achieving these outcomes, all in the name of enhancing accountability for federal grant spending.”

Notably, the single audit threshold will be raised from $500,000 to $750,000. According to the OMB, 99 percent of federal grants will still be covered by the single audit, yet some 5,000 entities will be unburdened by this move. Questions or comments can be submitted to

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