With the increase in federal funding awarded over the past few years, many organizations are considering leveraging a Grants Management module in their existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to manage their awards. IT teams often want to use the existing ERP system because it allows them to work with the technology they already have. Finance teams want to find a way to work within their budget constraints and that tends to be a primary consideration. All the while, grants teams just want a system that can work for their needs.
Organizations need to carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of using an ERP system or a Grants Management System (GMS) before deciding which one is the best solution for their needs, and that decision is challenging for organizations of every size.
While leveraging the existing Grants Management module in your ERP system may seem like an attractive option due to the assumed cost savings and streamlined technology stack, ERP systems tend to lack the flexibility needed to manage awards and stay compliant with federal grant regulations.
Let's go through some of the reasons a purpose-built GMS may be a better fit for your organization.
Designed for Compliance
Grant management is a complex process that involves tracking and managing financial budgets, program information, and performance outcomes. These processes require flexibility to manage effectively.
Having strong financial budgeting capabilities, including the ability to track and manage indirect costs, match, and personnel and non-personnel expenses, is important for effectively managing a grant, and these are not things that ERP systems are typically designed for. A GMS is specifically designed to handle these intricacies as they relate to grants and have the necessary depth to manage grant data to stay compliant with federal guidance.
Track Grant-Specific Data
Financial tracking in grants management is different from budget tracking, and a GMS is better equipped to handle the nuances of grant funding and the ability to track expenses against grant years, rather than just budget years.
With an ERP system, you can track grant dollars, but you also need to track program information, outcomes, and performance against goals in order to effectively manage an award. An ERP system may not have the ability to easily handle multi-year grants with carryover, and they are known for being inflexible to the point that it is difficult to get the data you need. This can be a major drawback when trying to manage multiple funding streams with the same system. GMS systems like AmpliFund are designed to specifically collect this data, so you won’t have to waste time trying to make the system perform tasks it wasn’t intended for.
Customized Workflows, Reports, and Forms
ERP systems can be complex and difficult to customize, which can make it challenging to adapt them to the specific needs of grant management. A GMS is more flexible when it comes to configuring workflows and notification triggers. You can even customize reports to see your grant-related data in any configuration you would like, saving your team up to 70% in administrative time. This is all critical for ensuring the smooth operation of grant management processes that tend to differ from one organization to the next.
While a GMS is easier to customize for managing awards for a specific organization, there are also some standardized tasks that every awardee needs to perform that a GMS also manages more effectively. Take financial reporting, for example. Grant management systems like AmpliFund also come with standard reports built in, like the SF 425, and the system automatically pulls your data in to submit to grantors with a few clicks.
Unlimited Users and Stakeholders
Modified security permission roles are often necessary in grant management, and when users do have access to an ERP system, it is often challenging for them to use because it was created specifically for finance users.
Additionally, paying for every user to have access to the ERP system can be costly. In contrast, with AmpliFund, system access is provided to everyone in your grants ecosystem with our unlimited user licensing model – even your recipients – so you can support adherence to standardized processes and monitor your performance, not cost.
While integrating a Grants Management module into your existing ERP system may seem like a convenient and cost-effective option, a purpose-built GMS is likely to be a better choice for organizations looking to manage their grant awards effectively. A GMS offers the necessary depth, flexibility, and cost-efficiency to support the complex process of grant management, making it a more effective choice for organizations in the long run.
If you would like to see how AmpliFund can provide the flexibility and depth you need to manage your funding, just click below to request a demo.
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Topics: Drive Best Practices