Last time we looked a shocking report on the condition of federal grant management in the City of Detroit–undoubtedly an area in need of support from federal funds.
Changing entrenched grant mis-management can seem like an impossible task.
However there are several places to start gaining a toehold.
Here are three suggestions:
Suggestion #1: Accountability
Creating a structure that supports accountability to critical to proper grant management.
If “everyone” is responsible, than no-one is responsible.
In most settings the Program Director is responsible for ensuring federal funds are spent as intended and that spending to meet the program objectives is happening on schedule.
Suggestions #2: Training
Too often only a few people working on the grant are familiar with the Federal Administrative Requirements and Cost Principles.
If you want people to do the “right” thing, they have to know what that is.
Training of all personnel involved in spending grant funds should include both the general requirements that come with accepting federal funds, and also any specific terms and conditions that apply to individual grants.
Suggestion #3: Monitoring
It’s not enough to make a Program Director “responsible” and then never check again.
Just like we mentioned creating a structure to support accountability, similarly a structure to provide monitoring and oversight of the grant management should be taking place during the life of the grant.
An Ounce of Prevention
With the financial struggles Detroit faces, it is unconscionable that grant-mismanagement will keep them from receiving and using all the federal dollars they are entitled to receive.
Benjamin Franklin was correct when he observed “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I can only shake my head when I think of the short-sightedness of not putting trained, grant professionals in place from the start to prevent waste, fraud and abuse and also make sure the programs are meeting their intended targets.
Is It Too Late?
Time and time again, the oversight band-wagon happens after the money is long gone.
Will the Feds eventually check that strong internal controls in place prior to releasing the funds?
Or will we continue to read these types of stories in the future?
What do you think?
Lucy Morgan CPA, MBA
CEO, Compliance Warrior
P.S. If you’d like to find out more about how to avoid grant management problems and pitfalls?
Check out Grant Management Boot Camp training that helps that helps people work through these issues.
Click the link below for your type of organization to get more information about our courses and to get signed up.