Federal Financial Assistance Reform: COFAR Webcast Recap

Posted by Timothy Tiernan on Feb 3, 2014 12:02:00 AM

Are you a grant manager who couldn’t attend last Monday’s Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) training webcast? This blog article connects you to the comprehensive overview of the new Administrative Requirements, Audit Requirements, and Cost Principles for Federal Financial Assistance (2 C.F.R. 200) and provides excerpted FAQ about the new financial assistance guidance as well as some highlights of the 4-hour-plus webcast.

The COFAR team has incorporated hundreds of public comments into their discussions and decision making. This two-year process has culminated in substantive results. Here’s some of the breakdown:

Grant Guidance Training Introduction

Video linkhttp://youtu.be/SOET4b-7my8

Presenter: Norman Dong, Interim Controller Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Notable quote: “The new guidance is part of a larger effort to focus federal grant funds on improving performance and outcomes while providing stronger oversight and accountability for taxpayer dollars. The new guidance streamlines 8 federal regulations into a single, comprehensive grants management policy guide.”

General FAQ

1. What’s the effective date of the guidance? (4:49)
The guidance will apply to federal agencies immediately. They will have six months to submit implementing regulations to OMB. Nonfederal entities will be required to comply once the implementing regulations are in effect, which will happen by December 26, 2014.

2. When does the guidance apply to audits? (5:20)
The guidance applies to audits of fiscal years beginning after December 26, 2014, which is when federal agencies will publish implementing regulations.

3. Can you give an example of where the COFAR had to make tough trade-offs in addressing divergent opinions from stakeholders? Can you give some background on the thinking behind COFAR’s decisions? (5:37)
Let’s take the Single Audit threshold as an example. “We saw a variety of perspectives on where that threshold should be set,” said Dong, with some groups recommending a higher or lower level or to keep the threshold at its current level. Striking a middle ground, the COFAR recommended the threshold be raised to $750,000—allowing audit oversight of 99 percent of the federal dollars while relieving burden for about 5,000 entities.

Training Webcast Sessions

The heart of the webcast focused on the three sections of the new federal grants guidance regulations, whose video overviews can be found at the links below. For more information, visit the COFAR website.

COFAR Training Administrative Requirements: http://youtu.be/BP3l3PjI1JQ 

COFAR Training Cost Principles: http://youtu.be/q0rWXdy2ICM

COFAR Training Audit Requirements: http://youtu.be/g-U8HGbbC-Y

About eCivis

eCivis is the nation's leading grants management software solution and the ideal platform for improving local governments' and community-based organizations' grants performance. For more information about eCivis, visit www.ecivis.com

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