Internal controls – what does this term mean to you as a grant professional? To me, it almost sounds like "mission control." So who is commanding the post? From an accounting perspective, internal controls involve everything that controls risks for an organization, and ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations (Sawyers Guide for Internal Auditors, The Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, 2012). At the basic organizational level, most policies define internal control objectives as they relate to the reliability of financial reporting, timely feedback on the achievement of operational or strategic goals, and compliance with laws and regulations. Without internal controls, there would be no structure or guidelines with which to manage millions of dollars in public and private funding.
Grant professionals are familiar with the dance that takes place between grantors (those who provide the funding necessary to sustain organizations and government agencies), grantees (the recipients of these funds) and sub-grantees (those who have contractual or grant relationships with grantees). There are many misperceptions about the roles of each group and the intentions behind decisions that are made to support invaluable public services. This article represents the first in a series of posts about these relationships, as an attempt to provide some clarity and demystify the decision-making process behind grantors, grantees, and sub-grantees.
The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) aims to make federal spending more accessible, increase the availability of the data to the public, and improve oversight of federal funding. Passed by the House in November (H.R. 2061), the bill will be taken up by the Senate (S. 994) early this year. As referenced in my previous blog article, the legislation expands the provisions within the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), extends the Recovery Act reporting deadlines, and sets a new expiration date for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) until 2017.
Last month, the House of Representatives adopted H.R. 2061, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), introduced by Congressman Darrell Issa. The bill aims to make federal spending more accessible, increase the availability of the data to the public, and improve oversight of federal funding. The legislation is also intended to offer a way to track federal spending, reduce compliance costs, improve transparency, prevent fraud, and improve the quality of data submitted on www.USASpending.gov.
Last week I published a general overview on pass-through grants. This week I’ll discuss federal research sub-awards, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, collaborative opportunities, and my experience with pass-through funding.
The federal government allows grant recipients to act as pass-through entities in order to provide funding to other recipients. The pass-through entity receives federal funds which it “passes on” or “passes through it” to other recipients. The entity that receives funds from a pass-through entity is considered a sub-recipient. This usually occurs when a federal program lacks the organizational capabilities to provide assistance directly to the final recipients and requires support from other entities to do so.
Welcome to part 2 of our series on subrecipient monitoring and management. Part 1 offers general advice on the subject, and this next post is intended to extend those tips and offer a few annotated sources for further reading. Thanks to Linda Butler (first section) and Linda Gilbertson (other sections), grant managers from our Grants Professional Services division, for their input!
You've been awarded that federal grant after an application process that left your team with a few more gray hairs. (If it wasn't the application itself, it was SAM.gov.) You deserve some boasting time.