Who CARES: The Importance of Transparency & Oversight of Federal Relief Funds

Still recovering from the events of 2020, many organizations across the nonprofit and public sector spectrum, as well as those in public health, are entering fiscal year 2021 struggling to provide continuity in public services and speed up recovery efforts. Declines in revenues and a shrinking workforce have made it necessary for these organizations to rely on federal recovery funds to help them meet the public’s needs.  

In times of financial distress, many entities are hiring outside agencies and third-party resources to bridge the gap in services. The expertise of third-party resources is especially valuable when it comes to grants administration and monitoring. 

This article explores several key benefits of using third-party resources to bridge the gap in federal grant responsibilities.

Bridging the Gap with Targeted Support & Solutions

Third-party resources can offer support, a fresh perspective, and specialized training and experience that can help community leaders move forward with confidence. They also help validate community decisions and lend credibility and transparency that help agencies respond to critics. These outside resources can contribute in the following ways:

  • Having specialized skills and training not found among current employees. 
  • Providing insight to changes and updates to government compliance and regulatory requirements.
  • Lowering labor costs.
  • Bringing in a wide range of resources and specialists to apply their knowledge to unique problems.
  • Providing an objective, outside perspective to internal processes. 
  • Performing specialized tasks and alleviating employee workload.
  • Bridging the gap of a downsized workforce. 
  • Providing checks and balances to agency procedures and adding a level of transparency to the public. 
  • Providing time-saving guidance in preparing for required Single Audit reports.

Leveraging Federal Grant Compliance Expertise

With billions of dollars of COVID-19-related grant money available, many organizations are administering federal funds for the first time, either as pass-through entities or subrecipients. Federal awards—grant monies in particular—come with several compliance requirements and risks. The Office of Management and Budget provides the Uniform Guidance as a set of guidelines for administering grant awards, but these cost principles and audit requirements can be confusing and overwhelming to even a seasoned government agency.  

Contrary to what the name might imply, the Uniform Guidance isn’t a static set of rules but rather a living document subject to updates in the form of an annual compliance supplement and addenda. An organization unfamiliar with these requirements and adjustments runs the risk of losing funding, or even worse, it could find itself under investigation for misappropriation and be required to pay back any funds it may have received. 

Some organizations may not have time to keep track of the many regulatory and compliance requirements involved in federal awards. Fortunately, they don’t have to. A strategically chosen third-party contractor with a team of consultants and advisors dedicated to staying up to date on these complex issues can be an invaluable resource, bridging the gap in the required grants administration services. This can help in dotting the i’s of compliance with regulatory requirements, setting up the appropriate monitoring processes, and preparing for required audits, all while saving time in the process. 

How We Can Help

We know your organization is in the trenches helping citizens recover and return to normal life. We want to help. For years, we have used our expertise and insight in grants management and Single Audit requirements to help organizations successfully administer and monitor federal grants as well as prepare for the subsequent required audits. Below are just some of the services we can provide:

  • End-to-End Grants Management & Compliance – We can assess your organization’s grants management policies, procedures, and processes to assist management in identifying possible weaknesses and potential improvements in internal controls over the grants management life cycle and compliance with federal grantee requirements.  
  • Single Audit Preparation – Whether you’re preparing for your first Single Audit or you’ve had one for years, our trusted advisors can help you navigate the Uniform Guidance regulations and compliance requirements, develop internal controls, and gather the necessary information to help your Single Audit go more smoothly.   
  • Financial Monitoring/Compliance/Internal Controls – With dedicated advisors who focus on serving nonprofit and governmental clients year-round, complemented by our numerous professionals who perform financial monitoring, internal audits, and compliance assessments, we have the experience and level of commitment you require. 
  • Regulatory Compliance & Implementation – BKD knows current regulations are rapidly evolving and actively works year-round to help our professionals and clients stay apprised. Our experienced advisors can help you understand newly proposed and enacted regulatory provisions. 

As a General Services Administration (GSA) contract holder, BKD also offers the following under the GSA Multiple Award Schedule: 

  • Due diligence and support services
  • Budget and financial management services 
  • Management and financial consulting 
  • Acquisition and grants management support 
  • Business program and project management services
  • Risk assessment and mitigation services

BKD can tailor a solution to meet your specific needs and improve service delivery outcomes, comply with policy requirements, reduce costs, and manage waste. 

Please note that this information is current as of the date of publication. Reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor™ or submit the Contact Us form below if you have questions.

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