Implementing a strong set of internal controls is critical to effectively manage grants. The turnout for our recent webinar, Creating Buy-In for System-Wide Internal Controls, made it very clear that grant managers know they need internal controls but may not have the support, resources, or know how to put them in place. Below are some of the key takeaways from the webinar. You can also view the recording to learn even more.
1. Find a starting point
Internal controls enable your organization to administrate grants in an effective way that’s consistent with ever-changing rules and regulations. Your starting point is your team. Gauge if they have what’s necessary to establish internal controls. Look over any processes already in place and review their effectiveness. Ensure you have personnel knowledgeable of laws and regulations who will keep the team up to date. Also, be sure to share the importance of having internal controls with your team. The more they understand the processes, and the need for them, the more likely they are to stick with them.
2. Build the Framework
Internal controls should be embedded within every phase of the grant lifecycle. To accomplish this, you’ll need to create a solid framework that thoroughly supports your controls. To guide you in the construction of your framework, keep in mind these five components: control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and monitoring activities. These five components are connected and must be utilized together within grant management to ensure the effectiveness and longevity of your internal controls.
3. Socialize the Changes
Whether the change or addition of internal controls within your program is sudden or gradual, it must be communicated clearly to your team—and potentially across teams if others are impacted. Provide them with a timeline, an explanation of what’s coming, and detail how and when they will be impacted. Training and support for any systems you may implement, such as a grant management, project management, or financial system, is vital as your team will need to understand how to use them so they can adhere to and maintain any policies and procedures.
Successfully establishing a strong set of internal controls for effective grant management relies on the framework you build and how effectively the changes are socialized across your organization. Check out the recording of our webinar to learn more about creating buy-in for system-wide internal controls.
Dan Holtz, CGMS, LSSGB
Director of Implementation Services
Formerly a financial analyst with the Department of Defense, Dan brought his experience aligning systems and processes with the requirements of federal programs to AmpliFund in 2018. A Certified Grant Management Specialist, he oversees a team of implementation leads and also directly manages implementation for a variety of customers. His goal is to instill best practices for data management and process creation to increase drawdown, decrease risk, and amplify the impact of grant programs.
*Photo by Wichayada Suwanachun from Canva.