Grants Management: 7 Reasons You Need a Team of Experts
You’ve put in the hard work in applying for a grant and it’s paid off: your organization has been awarded the grant. Now you’re ready to put those sought-after funds into play. And, as Boost Midwest well knows, the post-award phase in the grant lifecycle has its own set of requirements and best practices, whether detailed financial reporting or quarterly reports.
Grants may help fuel your organization but their administration and oversight can be a stressful, complicated process. A sole grants manager may find themselves continually up against deadlines and scrambling for information to complete required reporting.
So, what knowledge and skills are needed to successfully manage a grant? First, knowing the post-award lifecycle of grants management is key. Second is having the right team of experts to successfully complete each step.
Boost Midwest has a proven track record in helping organizations manage key phases of the post-award process—or managing it entirely, leaving you free for on-the-ground work to fulfill the grant’s mission and to search for new grant funding resources.
After all, there are 7 phases in the grants management process, each requiring its own area of expertise. Relying on one person’s expertise across all the different knowledge banks would be like a four-star hotel having one chef prepare an eight-course banquet, from the beet-and-artichoke salad to the Earl Gray crème brûlée.
Why rely on a team of experts?
1. For administration oversight and guidance.
Your grant award comes with a list of compliance requirements, some tailored to a specific phase of the grant and some related to general oversight. The role of administrative oversight monitors all aspects of grant management to make sure reporting, funds dispersal and other requirements are in compliance and that policies and procedures are being followed. A skilled post-award grant administrator is a consummate communicator who also understands the different compliance requirements for federal and non-federal grants and keeps an eye on policy and guideline changes that may happen in the middle of a grant lifecycle.
2. For new award set-up.
Before the hands-on implementation of grant-funded programs, an account set up and checklist should be established. This is especially critical when multiple grants are funding one program or, alternatively, when one grant is financing two or more programs. Any cost-sharing or matching requirements are also tracked here, as are any subcontractors that will be used in administering the grant.
3. For tracking expenditures.
Each and every cost and transaction associated with the grant award must be reviewed, approved, processed and reported back to the grantor according to their requirements. These include: requisitions, payroll authorization forms, travel reimbursement requests, and check approval requests. This critical role is also responsible for monitoring all expenditures to make sure they are in compliance with any state or federal regulations, as appropriate, and specific grantor requirements.
4. For time and effort reporting.
This reporting requirement comes with most federal grants. The National Grants Management Association advises, “Your time and effort tracking and reporting system must be supported by a strong system of internal control that provides reasonable assurance that the charges are accurate, allowable, and properly allocated.” This means using best practices to dictate supervision, policies and procedures, with methodologies and tools for measuring, documenting and reporting time and effort, and to create clear communication guidelines, including organizational charts defining responsible personnel.
The Boost Midwest grants management team adheres to best practices while keeping up-to-date on federal reporting and regulation changes, communicating necessary and new information to all stakeholders in a timely manner to help keep your grant project timeline intact.
5. For financial reporting and invoicing.
Compliance with financial reporting is critical, especially as most large grants disburse funds throughout the grant lifecycle based on the successful implementation of and compliance with the grant objectives. Experts in financial grants reporting are well-versed in reconciling grant expenditures, the timely preparation and submission of financial reports and invoices, and preparing Letters of Credit for cash draw downs, in addition to monitoring the overall cash collection for the project.
6. Award close-out.
The successful completion or close-out of a grant requires a sharp financial eye. Grants nearly always require a final financial report. Boost Midwest has found that staying on top of financial tracking and reporting during the lifecycle of the grant equals an easier close out at the end. This is when all deficits must be reconciled and reallocations, whether in salary or department lines. However, there’s more to a grant project close out than just the financials. Many grants require reporting that validates the grant award, through the positive impact of the project or other measures. Similar to tracking expenditures throughout the grant lifecycle, measuring the success of a grant project during its implementation means there will be data ready to plug in to a final report.
7. Financial auditing.
You’ve closed out your grant and are seeing the rewards from your grant project. But the grants management work isn’t over yet. Financial audits from outside audit agencies and your own organization’s annual audit require you have the needed information ready to supply to auditors. This includes subcontractor expenditures, with explanations for any agreement amendments, a list of any permanent equipment purchased with grant funds, and certified time and effort reports.
Boost Midwest has the professional experts and tools to manage any and all of the seven phases of grant management. We work with you and the grantor, as appropriate, to ensure a successful grant project from set up to close out and the phases between.
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Schedule a call with us today to learn more about how our team can help support your grants.