To ensure proper spending of taxpayers’ dollars, there’s been a continuing trend of creating open data legislation within the government. This open data movement sweeping through the Federal, Executive, and Legislative branches creates new requirements for those reliant on Federal awards.

With recent revisions to the Uniform Grant Guidance solidifying the continuum, this transparency trend doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.

Federal Regulations Timeline

It’s essential that you understand these specific legislation pieces to avoid any future financial compliance issues that could significantly impact your grant funding.

This guide dives into discussing today’s key Federal initiatives as well as details surrounding the impact each piece of legislation will have on your grant management.

 
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Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act

At the end of 2019, the GREAT Act officially became law. The GREAT Act originally came out of recommendations from pilot programs, and it creates specificity and additional layers to the DATA Act.

The GREAT Act adds detail to grant reporting and technology and adds additional performance management requirements and compliance structures for grant recipients.

Its Impact

  • Those working with Federal grants will be required to deliver single audits in a machine-readable format. They will also be required to automate grant programmatic performance and financial performance.
  • Agencies will be expected to promote and adopt new technology to reduce the reporting burden.
  • Agencies will be required to publish reports in a consolidated dataset so Federal grant data can be publicly accessible as open data.

How to Prepare

  • If you are working with Federal grants, be sure you can now deliver single audits in a machine-readable format.
  • Put in place more automation around your grant programmatic performance and financial performance.
  • Learn how to publish your reported information in a consolidated dataset, so your grant reports can be publicly accessible as open data.

Additional Great Act Resources

The Potential Impact of the GREAT Act: Q&A with Adam Roth

The Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act (GREAT Act) Introduced in the House

An Overview of States’ Open Data Policies and Initiatives [Update]

OMB Uniform Grant Guidance (UGG)

After interim requirements went into effect for new UGG requirements in 2014, a final ruling passed these guidelines in 2015. These rules have since shifted how Grant Seekers are held accountable for award performance and results by encouraging Grant Makers and Grant Seekers to collect, transmit, and store Federal award-related information in open and machine-readable formats.

In 2020, OMB made changes to UGG that will further standardize grant management business processes and data, build shared IT infrastructure, manage risk, and achieve program goals.

Its Impact

  • Auditors evaluate both grant performance and the systems put in place to manage grant performance.
  • Applicants go through a risk evaluation before award to show past audit issues have been corrected.
  • Recipients must demonstrate that they have created consistent standards and systems across internal business processes and data.
  • Recipients (and subrecipients) must record the award ID in their accounts.
  • Internal controls must be in place to demonstrate accountability over funds.
  • It’s easier for non-profits contracted by government agencies to be compensated for indirect costs (e.g., overhead) associated with fulfilling programmatic responsibilities.

Additional UGG Resources

OMB’s Recent Guidance to Grants and Agreements Revisions

Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act

The DATA Act passed unanimously in the House and Senate and was signed into law in May 2014. This piece of legislation has since standardized Federal grant data collection and aggregation and reporting and has paved the way for machine-readable data and automated grant reporting. It has also increased Federal spending transparency for better detection of waste and fraud. 

Its Impact

  • Recipients must be proactive in standardizing internal spending data and identifying data gaps within the organization. Information management processes must be aligned with new reporting requirements.
  • Federal agencies must transition from processing grant reporting via PDFs or spreadsheets to only standard data types. Grant Seekers will benefit from reporting to a single portal instead of directly to multiple government agencies.
  • Organizations that use Grant Management Software can take advantage of compliance automation. Internal reporting systems are able to sync directly with those of Federal agencies.

Conclusion

Understanding specific pieces of legislation we mentioned above, the details that surround them is crucial.

Not only can it help organizations like yours avoid potential financial compliance issues, but the transparency can help you understand the impact each piece of legislation will have on your grant management. In turn, these financial compliance issues could cause problems such as significantly impacting your grant funding.

By finding a grant management system that meets your organization’s needs, it can help you ease the administrative burden, improve your organization’s internal workflow, and help you keep up with deadlines and reporting, so you can focus on amplifying your impact in the new year.

To see if AmpliFund is right for you in 2021, request a demo today.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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