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The New Administration Signals Potential Changes for Grants Management

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Grants & Assistance, Uncategorized | 4 comments

The New Administration Signals Potential Changes for Grants Management

Since the inauguration, the Trump administration has taken significant action, through executive orders and memorandums, which may affect Federal grants. The extent to which grants management will be impacted is still unclear; however, it is important for Federal awarding agencies and grant recipients to keep themselves informed. Here’s our rundown of what’s happened, what’s happening, and what’s on the horizon: One immediate impact for the grants community is that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website is...

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How a Member of the Grants Community Prepares for 2017

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

How a Member of the Grants Community Prepares for 2017

What a year. And I’m not just talking about what you’re reading in your Facebook and Twitter feeds. We managed to launch or revise six grants courses, including Internal Controls for the Federal Grants Community. These were a labor of love, and I’m excited to see how you like what we did in the classroom. But it’s early January, and it’s time to make my top 5 New Year’s resolutions for work. Feel free to share yours with me – because as we know in the grants world, crowd-sourcing is essential. 1. Figure out what the impact of the NDAA...

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2 CFR 200 Turns Two: The Research Community Seeks Greater Independence

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

2 CFR 200 Turns Two: The Research Community Seeks Greater Independence

It seems like just yesterday that I was spending my vacation frantically reading the interim final rule for 2 CFR 200. As other members of my family were making final preparations for our holiday, I was busy trying to decipher the new personal compensation requirements and attempting to figure out how best to update Management Concepts grants curriculum. As the Uniform Guidance turns two, the grants community is entering that familiar developmental stage known as the “terrible twos.” To borrow from the Mayo Clinic’s explanation of this phase,...

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Five Months Until the DATA Act Deadline: An Implementation Update

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Five Months Until the DATA Act Deadline: An Implementation Update

The deadline for agency implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) is just five months away. By May 8, 2017, all Federal agencies must comply with the DATA Act, which requires agencies to report spending data using the governmentwide data standards. The DATA Act is designed to increase transparency of Federal spending by publishing all Federal spending on USASpending.gov. Additionally, the DATA Act will, for the first time, track Federal spending throughout the entire Federal spending lifecycle. Since...

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#GPAConf16: Good Times and IDC Dreams

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

#GPAConf16: Good Times and IDC Dreams

I had such a good time at the 2016 Grant Professionals Association National Conference that I think I need a week to recover. I enjoyed meeting and reconnecting with colleagues from around the country who are dedicated to making the world a better place through grants. But there is a dark side to going to events like this—you might go to a session on a topic that causes you to look at things from another perspective. And this perspective interrupts your dream cycle with scenarios and spreadsheets on indirect cost (IDC) rates. As the person...

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Open Data: Your Future, Your Now

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Analytics, Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Open Data: Your Future, Your Now

I spent a lot of time this summer focused on our curriculum for pass-through entities (PTE) and recipients alongside implementation of the DATA Act. This past Wednesday, I took the opportunity to reflect on  these topics while I attended the Data Transparency 2016 + White House Open Data Innovation Summit. I approached my day from the perspective of what can I share with non-Federal entities (NFE). Here are my key takeaways: Open Data in Ecosystems. The question of the day seemed to be, “we have the data, now how do we use it.” From the White...

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Federal-Wide Research Terms and Conditions

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Federal-Wide Research Terms and Conditions

Last October, the National Science Foundation (NSF) published proposed Research Terms and Conditions (RTCs) for Federal awards. The proposed RTCs update the current RTCs by implementing the requirements under 2 CFR 200. In some instances, the proposed RTCs modify the requirements under 2 CFR 200 to address the unique nature of research awards. The Federal Register notice stated that the “use of RTCs is envisioned as a streamlined approach that supports the implementation of the Uniform Guidance by providing clarification, supplementary...

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The DATA Act: Expanding Open Data and Transparency

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The DATA Act: Expanding Open Data and Transparency

Last week, I had the opportunity to present Management Concepts’ “Get Your DATA Act Together” webinar. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) is designed to enhance transparency of Federal spending by making all public spending, throughout the entire spending lifecycle, available to the public in a searchable and downloadable format. In the webinar, we looked at how the DATA Act will affect the roles and job functions for anyone involved with awarding or reporting Federal spending. Federal employees will need to ensure...

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DATA Act Implementation Impact

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Grants & Assistance, Workforce Management | 1 comment

DATA Act Implementation Impact

If you’ve already read the two DATA Act reports issued by the GAO since late July, you already know that the government watchdog has documented its concerns about DATA Act implementation. It’s only eight months away. One of the things that surprised me is that OMB still does not have a complete list of the Federal agencies that will need to be DATA Act compliant. I understand the approach of starting with the 24 CFO agencies – but what about the goal of having transparency on every Federal dollar spent? Between this lack of clarity and the...

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OMB Releases 2016 Compliance Supplement and the Revised SF-SAC Form

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 1 comment

OMB Releases 2016 Compliance Supplement and the Revised SF-SAC Form

Last week, I wrote about my daily disappointment in waiting for the release of the 2016 Compliance Supplement and the revised SF-SAC Form. Well, good news, both documents are now available. On Monday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the 2016 Compliance Supplement on the Office of Federal Financial Management Single Audit webpage. This year’s Compliance Supplement is currently not available through the Federal Register or on the OMB’s Circulars webpage, as in previous years. Fortunately, with all the recent changes to...

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Anticipation Builds for OMB Audit Guidance

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Anticipation Builds for OMB Audit Guidance

For the last few weeks, the first thing I do after making my first cup of coffee is to frantically check the Federal Register. I open my browser, click on the “current issue” link, and hold my breath. Then, as is becoming all too familiar, severe disappointment sets in — there’s nothing new from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB is scheduled to release two important documents relating to audits of Federal grants: the 2016 Compliance Supplement and the revised SF-SAC form. The annual compliance supplement is guidance...

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Sustainability – Looking Beyond Federal Funding

Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Sustainability – Looking Beyond Federal Funding

Last week, I had a generational difference moment during the week’s Grant Chat – using virtual reality as a method of communicating and demonstrating grant recipient performance. Not only was I searching for the tools called out by my colleagues (Fyuse, anyone?), but I also was struck by the thought that staying current with technology options is one aspect to sustaining an organization’s mission and projects. But maybe not the most important aspect for a grant-funded organization. During the past few months, I’ve seen and heard more people...

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It’s About Control

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

It’s About Control

I had the opportunity to spend two days with a local agency and our instructor Patrick Smith. We had a good time tackling the issues of 2 CFR 200 implementation. But we know that this agency has identified a lot of follow up tasks. Some are small, while others will require full project and communications plans. By the time we arrived for the training, these local agency officials had taken the most important step – informing their leadership that they need to make policy, procedure, and systems changes to become fully compliant with 2 CFR...

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Grants.gov: Applying for Grants Made Easier

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Grants.gov: Applying for Grants Made Easier

As most grants applicants have experienced, applying for a grant is a team effort. Individuals may be tasked with separate responsibilities, such as developing and completing a budget worksheet, writing the project narrative, and collecting supporting documentation. In the final hours before a deadline, team members may find themselves frantically editing, searching for, and collating each part of the application package for submission. In October 2015, Grants.gov launched a new feature, Workspace, designed to promote the ease of team...

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Federal Grants in 2016 – Pulse Check

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Federal Grants in 2016 – Pulse Check

We’ve reached that point in the year when we start thinking about next year’s Federal Grants Update (FGU) course. This process starts with reviewing our FGU 2016 comments and looking at the ways we have already updated the content of this course. Here’s what stands out to me right now: Still getting to know 2 CFR 200. As expected, our students have a wide range of familiarity with the Uniform Guidance, resulting in a wide range of comments. Whether you and your organization have fully implemented 2 CFR 200, or you’re just now beginning to...

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Grant and Cooperative Agreement Selection Reviews Matter

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

Grant and Cooperative Agreement Selection Reviews Matter

One of our main themes in our Federal Grants Update 2016 is risk mitigation. One of set of standard procedures every Federal grant and cooperative agreement manager should have is for the application selection process. Another is for delineating between grants and contracts. We recently had the opportunity to update our Federal Assistance Law course with a legal decision. Because it is one the most significant recent legal decisions for the Federal grants community, we wanted to share this review with the broader Federal grants community. In...

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#NGMA16 Wrap Up

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

#NGMA16 Wrap Up

Pshew! I hope all of this year’s National Grants Management Association (NGMA) Annual Training Conference (#NGMA16) attendees have recovered. I know that many of us were in the midst of proposal responses….grants.gov has been busy, no? So, what did I learn at NGMA? First, as a community we need to improve our communication that the Uniform Guidance is requirement, especially to those who may not be on board with compliance yet. I heard several of my grants colleagues ask the question, “how do I explain to my [insert leader] that we have to do...

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Understanding the Federal Budget Process for Grants

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Understanding the Federal Budget Process for Grants

The Federal budget process can be a difficult concept to comprehend. I am in the (extreme) minority when I say that I find the budget process fascinating. For four years, I served as Congressman Brad Carson’s Grants Director and my responsibilities included briefing the Congressman on the Federal budget and its impact on Federal grant programs. Understanding the process can be critical in determining when Federal awarding agencies may make funds available for grant programs and the level of funding that may be available. For this week’s blog,...

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NGMA 2016 – Agenda Reflects Grants Community Challenges, Concerns

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

NGMA 2016 – Agenda Reflects Grants Community Challenges, Concerns

When NGMA released its final conference agenda last week, my gut reaction was, “Yep. These topics are spot on. This is where many of my colleagues in the Federal community.” Several themes standout: Risk Assessment. Implementation of the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) has brought this issue to the forefront for many organizations with its new requirements, and incorporation of the final rule for FAPIIS. As a community, we’ve known for a long time that we need to assess and manage risk better. It’s just really hard. Indirect Costs. Having...

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IGPW: Grant Professionals – Leading at All Levels

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

IGPW: Grant Professionals – Leading at All Levels

Management Concepts is proud to sponsor once again this year’s International Grant Professionals Week (IGPW). We’d like to take a moment to recognize the impact of grant professionals in our communities, and at all levels of government. Grants fund billions of dollars of activities we have deemed important through our governments, corporate and family foundations, and community organizations. For those of you outside of the grants world, imagine a complex relationship web of projects and resources. Behind each project and resource...

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Developing and Evaluating Performance Measures

Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

Developing and Evaluating Performance Measures

The implementation of 2 CFR 200 has required Federal awarding agencies and pass-through entities to revise and revaluate processes for grants administration. Perhaps one of the most consequential changes under the Uniform Guidance is the change in focus for accountability of Federal awards from compliance to performance. One of the goals of the Uniform Guidance is to “more effectively focus Federal resources on improving performance and outcomes while ensuring financial integrity of taxpayer dollars in partnership with non-Federal...

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President Obama Signs the GONE Act

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

President Obama Signs the GONE Act

On January 28, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency Act (GONE Act) into law. Congress designed the GONE Act to hold Federal awarding agencies accountable for timely closeout of grant awards. The purpose of the law is to reduce costs associated with maintaining bank accounts of expired grants that contain undisbursed funds or a zero balance. The law requires Federal awarding agencies to submit a report to Congress and to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that: Identifies each Federal grant...

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Performance Measurement in the Pre-Award Phase

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Performance Measurement in the Pre-Award Phase

In the last year, the grants community has had to adapt many new practices and processes to implement the requirements found in 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance). One area of concern for Federal awarding agencies, non-Federal entities, and pass-through entities is how to adequately report, monitor, and evaluate a grant project’s performance. As stated in the preamble to 2 CFR 200, the Federal government seeks to shift the focus of accountability for Federal awards from compliance with requirements to the actual performance and results of...

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Federal Grants Update 2016 – Learning from Experience

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 6 comments

Federal Grants Update 2016 – Learning from Experience

Because 3,500+ of you completed Federal Grants Update in 2014 and 2015, we realized that we had the opportunity to go a bit deeper into the key issues surrounding Uniform Guidance implementation. And there have been enough changes to 2 CFR 200 that we want you to come back to make sure you’re up-to-date (thank you, OMB, for FAPIIS). So what’s new for FGU in 2016? First, we centered on these core themes of grants management to help you delve into difficulties your organization may have had in implementing 2 CFR 200: Transparency Risk...

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What to Expect in 2016?

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

What to Expect in 2016?

Last month, one of my blog posts examined some of the significant developments for grants administration in 2015. Last year was, to put it mildly, a very busy year. In addition to implementing and complying with 2 CFR 200, the grants community also had to prepare for the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) and the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS). Adding to the workload were multiple amendments to the Uniform Guidance and a host of proposed rules affecting Federal...

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Resolve to Make 2016 a Great Grants Year

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Resolve to Make 2016 a Great Grants Year

Happy first workday to the 2016 grants community! If you’re like me, I have given up on making New Year’s resolutions at home. I like chocolate, wine, and enjoying life too much. But I usually do for work. There is something about the deadlines, personal development plans, and the recognition that I can’t do it all that makes the office a better “resolution” environment. So I present my proposed grants resolutions – feel free to adopt. Make sure I really know 2 CFR 200. Did you see Shane’s 2015 review post last month? So much changed last...

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A Year in Review for the Grants Community

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

A Year in Review for the Grants Community

December 19 marks the one year anniversary of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) releasing the interim final rule for the Uniform Guidance. In the last year, the grants community has spent considerable resources in understanding the new requirements and ensuring compliance. In addition to the implementation of 2 CFR 200, there have been other notable developments that will affect grants administration in 2016 and beyond. Let’s take a look back at the significant developments in the last year. December 26, 2014: 2 CFR 200 became...

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Show Me the Data?

Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Show Me the Data?

If there is one theme I have tattooed in my brain as a result of all the conferences I’ve attended this quarter, including the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) National Conference (#GPAconf15) in St. Louis, it’s evidence. As in evidence that – The 57 data elements will achieve the goals of the DATA Act The grant-funded fleet of state patrol vehicles has been inventoried It makes sense to buy my son a video game system over another device for his birthday You can tell by that last bullet that I’m really taking this evidence theme to...

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Congress Approves Two-Year Budget Framework

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 1 comment

Congress Approves Two-Year Budget Framework

Last month, President Obama and Congress agreed to a two-year budget. The budget increases Federal discretionary spending by $80 billion over the two year period, which will be equally divided between defense and domestic programs. The agreement also suspends the debt ceiling through March 2017. The budget agreement only establishes spending levels. Congress must still approve an omnibus bill to authorize spending for the next two years. The omnibus bill must be signed into law by December 11, 2015 in order to prevent a government shutdown. A...

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Meet me in St. Louis #GPAConf2015

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Meet me in St. Louis #GPAConf2015

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m getting on a plane next Wednesday morning for St. Louis for the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) 17th Annual Conference. Maybe it will become more real once I tick “Don’t forget to vote” off my checklist this evening. Last month I started my prep for GPA National by attending the first Virginia GPA Conference. On the bus ride home I had the opportunity to reflect on what I heard and observed. First, I was struck by the increasing collaboration needed to secure Federal funding in large (and small)...

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2 CFR 200: A Living Document

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 3 comments

2 CFR 200: A Living Document

It has almost been a year since 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) became effective for Federal grants. The implementation process has provided some challenges to the grants community, such as complying with the new performance measurement requirements or understanding the new time and effort provisions. One key lesson the grants community has learned in the past year has been the need to remain informed of Federal actions affecting grant awards. The...

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Check Your Stakeholders’ 2 CFR 200 Knowledge

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 4 comments

Check Your Stakeholders’ 2 CFR 200 Knowledge

This is a bit of a mea culpa. At the end of the summer, I checked in with you on your Uniform Guidance implementation. One thing I asked you to do is, “Don’t assume that everyone knows the Uniform Guidance.” In that post, I took for granted that there is a baseline of knowledge out there. I should have stated, “Don’t assume that everyone knows about the Uniform Guidance.” If you are reading this blog that means you’ve opted-in to expanding your grants knowledge. You can chat about 2 CFR 200 at dinner parties. You may have watched all of the...

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Grants at Home

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Grants at Home

My Sunday morning ritual includes a walk with my son to our neighborhood farmers market. It’s a mix of the donut truck, county council candidates, and farmers and ranchers. My son buys the eggs, green bars, and donuts while I make my way down the line, checking out stalls from the orchard, to the couple with the elephant garlic, to my rancher, to the veteran who somehow has greens year round, and more…hungry yet? This weekend I’m going to add some “shop talk” to my hellos because I found out about a grant program that could be helping them....

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Wrap it Up – Grant Closeouts

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Wrap it Up – Grant Closeouts

Today I had the opportunity to preview some of the initial work for our upcoming FAPIIS webinar. It’s exciting to work on something new and informative. Then my brain went on a bit of a “why” tangent. I know that these new requirements stem from Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. But really – why? Yes, FAPIIS stands for the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System. We want the assurance that Federal funds invested in grants perform and are managed by good people. We...

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Risk Assessments Under 2 CFR 200

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Risk Assessments Under 2 CFR 200

The grants community is under increasing scrutiny and pressure to protect Federal funds from waste, fraud, and abuse. 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) establishes protections at each part of the grants lifecycle to protect Federal funds from risk. The Uniform Guidance also defines the responsibilities for Federal awarding agencies, pass-through entities, grant recipients, and auditors to guarantee grant funding is used for its intended purposes. One key provision in the Uniform Guidance is 2 CFR 200.205 – Federal Awarding Agency Review of Risk...

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So, How Is Uniform Guidance Implementation Going?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

So, How Is Uniform Guidance Implementation Going?

Some of you might be thinking, “It’s only four months until Christmas.” I’m thinking, “wow, only four months until the Uniform Guidance first anniversary. So how are things going?” It’s an important question that we need to ask of ourselves in the Federal grants community. Certainly we have peppered you with information about all of the things Federal agencies, pass-through entities, and recipients need to do related to the Uniform Guidance through this blog. With that in mind, it is probably time to take a step back to make sure you and your...

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Corrective Action Plans: Opportunities for Improvement

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Corrective Action Plans: Opportunities for Improvement

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of the billions in Federal Financial Assistance were spent without any violations, overpayments, or nefarious actions? While the Uniform Guidance provides a framework with checks and balances, it’s an impossible task. Why? We’re human. Fortunately, Federal agencies, pass-through entities, and auditors can put corrective action plans in place to address any issues discovered along the way. Most often corrective action plans follow a “problem-action-desired result” format, setting clear expectations between the...

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Unique Federal Grants Challenges for Tribal Entities

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Unique Federal Grants Challenges for Tribal Entities

This week we’ll focus on some of the particular issues that arise, both in general and under the Uniform Guidance, when a grant recipient is a tribal entity. Indian tribes occupy a unique place in the Federal grants environment, and they face a distinctive set of challenges throughout the grant process. First, one of the key characteristics of many Indian tribes – their remote location – creates a number of disadvantages. Lack of business opportunities, minimal Internet access, and high travel costs can contribute to slow, limited...

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Funded or Perish

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

Funded or Perish

Twenty years ago next month, my family and I boarded a plane bound for Baltimore and my freshman year at Johns Hopkins. While I never set out to be a researcher, I did have that fleeting semester that I thought about an academic career in the humanities. Once I realized that I’d have to write and publish so much, I was out. Of course, many of my classmates and friends from my time at Hopkins have dedicated their working lives to teaching and research in the natural and social sciences. What I’ve observed among these talented individuals is...

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FAPIIS is Here – What You Need to Know

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

FAPIIS is Here – What You Need to Know

On July 22, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the final rule to implement the Federal Awardee Performance Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) for Federal grant awards. FAPIIS is a system designed to ensure Federal awards are issued to reliable and qualified recipients by providing award officials with information pertaining to the past performance of applicants. The final rule is implemented by amending 2 CFR 200 and 2 CFR 180. Beginning on January 1, 2016, Federal awarding officials are required to review FAPIIS as...

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OMB Releases the 2015 Compliance Supplement

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 3 comments

OMB Releases the 2015 Compliance Supplement

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the long-awaited 2015 Compliance Supplement this week. The Compliance Supplement is annual guidance designed to assist auditors conducting single audits and to determine recipient compliance with applicable Federal laws and requirements. It has always been an important resource for the grants community, however, the 2015 Compliance Supplement has additional significance as it provides guidance on implementing 2 CFR 200. Appendix V of the Compliance Supplement identifies the list of changes...

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Tell Me How It Ends Before It Begins

Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Tell Me How It Ends Before It Begins

If you’re like me, you may love a good set of data, but sometimes it’s nice to curl up with a good novel instead. We live in a nation of storytellers – and like it or not, sometimes the data isn’t going to make the headlines. What does this have to do with grants? Quite a bit when it comes to performance measurement. A former colleague once captured it with this question: What would the leader of your organization say during a speech on what this grant accomplished? Not only is it a great question, it’s also noteworthy for when she asked:...

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What’s DUNS (Still) Got to Do with It?

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

What’s DUNS (Still) Got to Do with It?

One of the most common questions our instructors have been receiving in our classes in 2015 is, “Does my organization still need a DUNS number?” The short answer is yes. My colleague, Shane Jernigan, summed this issue up nicely in our May eClips – so nicely that I want to share it again: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the joint interim final rule implementing 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). In the joint interim final rule, OMB...

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DATA Act Implementation Underway

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

DATA Act Implementation Underway

Last month saw a significant uptick in implementation activities for the DATA Act. On May 8, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released information on the implementation of the DATA Act. OMB and the Treasury published: A list of 57 governmentwide standard financial data elements Memorandum M-15-12: Agency guidance on implementing the DATA Act A DATA Act Playbook that identifies eight key steps for agencies In May 2014, President Barack Obama signed The Digital Accountability and...

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Tracking Timesheets under 2 CFR 200

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 15 comments

Tracking Timesheets under 2 CFR 200

One of the most important, and often misunderstood, change under 2 CFR 200 the Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) is the new reporting requirements for employee compensation, found at 2 CFR 200.430. For many reasons, this provision has created much confusion in the grants community. The first difficulty comes from just trying to read the multiple subsections. I have sat in many Management Concepts classes where students have spent time just...

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Gratuity Violations Under 2 CFR 200

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Gratuity Violations Under 2 CFR 200

Federal and non-Federal entities (NFEs) should be well into the process of finalizing internal policies that conform to the new requirements under 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). The Uniform Guidance allows NFEs to adopt entity-wide changes to internal policies and systems for all awards, both existing and new, without penalty. Therefore, a NFE may apply the new requirements found in 2 CFR 200 to all awards. The Uniform Guidance contains more than...

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NGMA Recap: Moving Forward

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

NGMA Recap:  Moving Forward

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth at the National Grants Management Association (NGMA) 2015 Annual Grants Training Program held in Arlington, VA, last week. With nearly 600 in attendance, it was a rousing success. In line with current trends, the NGMA speakers and sessions reflected the shift from describing the Uniform Guidance, to the challenges associated with implementation. All of the sessions incorporated more advanced topics. One key theme that emerged among the Management Concepts team in attendance was how to cope with...

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De Minimis for IDC Rates

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

De Minimis for IDC Rates

“But how do I get a Federal agency to negotiate an indirect cost rate with me?” If I had started collecting quarters a dozen years ago for every time I heard that question, I’d have a hefty retirement fund. Now, with the Uniform Guidance, I’ll have to find a new retirement plan. The years of backlogs in negotiating rates have led the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to make a necessary and welcome concession: Every grant recipient has indirect costs, and the Federal government doesn’t have time to negotiate...

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Survey Says: Take Federal Grants Update 2015

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Survey Says: Take Federal Grants Update 2015

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to our 2015 survey. The Management Concepts team is combing through the results now as part of our continuous update process for our Grants & Assistance curriculum. One thing that stands out to me is that 42 percent of respondents indicated they are planning on taking Federal Grants Update 2015. (And that doesn’t include the 11 percent of respondents who indicated they had already attended this class.) Six Reasons to Sign Up for Federal Grants Update in 2015 You haven’t kept up-to-date...

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Procurement Policies and the Uniform Guidance

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Procurement Policies and the Uniform Guidance

In a previous blog post, we discussed changes to procurement policies in the 2 CFR Part 200 – Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). We explained the five procurement methods and other new requirements to which non-Federal entities (NFEs) need to tailor their policies. I’m going to go into more detail about what policies your organization may need to create or change and how to make those adjustments. If you work for a state government, you...

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Grants Professionals Appreciation Week

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Grants Professionals Appreciation Week

Management Concepts is a proud partner of this year’s International Grant Professionals Week. I especially appreciate that the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) recognizes the breadth of professions that our community encompasses. Last week I had the opportunity to see this diversity during a class visit in DC. Each time I am able to sit in with our students, I come away inspired by their daily work assignments. In this particular class, I met Federal employees in audit, programmatic, investigation, and administrative roles; State...

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Grants Update for Pass-Through Entities

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Grants Update for Pass-Through Entities

As part of our in-depth analysis of the Uniform Guidance on our blog, we are diving deeper on some of the important provisions we’ve highlighted – especially those we’ve received questions on during our classes. Today I’d like to talk about new responsibilities for a specific and sometimes overlooked group: Pass-Through Entities (or PTEs.) While the Uniform Guidance greatly increases the amount of accountability for PTEs, it also provides them with more detail than previous guidance in OMB Circular A-133. Pass-through entity means a...

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Cybersecurity Requirements for the Grants Community

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Last week’s headlines about the cybersecurity breach at Anthem, one of the largest healthcare providers, may have some of us taking steps to ensure that our identities are not at risk for exposure.  Aside from any personal concerns related to Anthem, leaders in the grants community should consider this breach a reminder to examine their own internal controls, ensuring that their organizations have policies and processes in place to protect their systems. One of the many changes included in the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) implemented in...

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Looking into Your Grants Performance Measurement Portfolio

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The grants management community has been dealing with the challenges of performance measurement for a long time. While the desire for accountability on how organizations spend Federal dollars is not a recent development, the new Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) seeks to enhance the answers to questions such as: Was that project worth funding? Did the project achieve the stated policy goal? Management Concepts Shane Jernigan explored these issues while the Uniform Guidance was in its proposal stage in “Grants Management in the Era of...

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Federal Grants Update 2015 – Implementing the Uniform Guidance

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Since the Uniform Guidance went into effect in December, several people have asked me how things are going with implementation.  My answer is always, “it depends.” To someone outside of the grants community, the flurry of releases surrounding the Uniform Guidance going into effect may make it seem like everything is good to go.  After all, we’ve known that this change was coming for a long time. If only things were that easy. I joined Management Concepts just in time to participate in a session of our Federal Grants Update 2014 course. ...

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Career Resolutions for You and Your Staff

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Acquisition, Coaching & Mentoring, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management, Workforce Management | 0 comments

Career Resolutions for You and Your Staff

Each January, we all make resolutions with varying degrees of sincerity and dedication. As we get further and further from New Year celebrations, life has a way of creeping in. Achieving lifestyle changes is not solely about exercise or dieting; it should also be about improving your professional competence and positioning yourself and/or your staff for future success. This year, why not try a different resolution? Are you an individual trying to manage your career? Resolve to focus on your career. Ask for the stretch assignment. Explore...

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2015 Starts Now for the Grants Community

Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Earlier this month, we shared the Management Concepts Top Ten Important Items to Know about the Uniform Guidance. Now, we present our Supercircular New Year’s resolutions! Update your regulation bookmarks. Since the Uniform Guidance combines and replaces the eight existing regulations into one, you will want to make sure that you have both handy. You should bookmark any agency’s “adopted and amended” at eCFR.gov as well. Understand that it’s not just the rules.  During their October 2 webcast, OMB representatives emphasized that the FAQs...

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And the Supercircular is Here

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

2 CFR 200 26 Dec 2014 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the interim joint rule implementing the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) in the Federal Register today.  This action ensures that the Supercircular takes effect on schedule on December 26.  OMB did not indicate any surprises in its release – the bulk of the announcement includes agency implementing regulations.  However, Federal managers, pass-through entities, and non-federal entities will need to review the OMB-approved exceptions included today.  These exceptions are...

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The Supercircular is Coming, the Supercircular is Coming!

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In less than two weeks, the much discussed planned changes to Federal grants administration become reality. On December 26, 2014, 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements – will apply to all new Federal awards.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Federal awarding agencies are expected to release implementing regulations and additional guidance on or around the same day. To help you and your entity prepare for this exciting day, we created the Management Concepts...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Hatch Act Do’s and Don’ts For Federal Employees The Washington Post provides a refresher on the allowable and illegal activities under the Hatch Act  for the Federal workforce.   COFAR Webinar The Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) conducted a roundtable discussion on the Uniform Guidance. Specifically, panelists discussed the internal control responsibilities of recipients under 2 CFR 200 and...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. OMB Official Speaks to the Grants Professional Association (GPA) Gil Tran from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) spoke to the GPA annual conference in Portland, Oregon last week. Tran discussed how the Uniform Guidance (“Supercircular”) will transform grants management for Federal awarding agencies and grant recipients. Tran explained that the primary goals of the Uniform Guidance are to enhance...

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Countdown to the Supercircular: The Latest Information about the Uniform Guidance

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On December 26, 2014, the Uniform Guidance will be applicable to all new Federal grants. The Uniform Guidance, sometimes referred to as the “Supercircular” or “Omni Circular,” contains nearly 100 changes to grants administration and audit requirements for Federal awards.  To help prepare non-Federal entities to comply with the Uniform Guidance, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) recently published a second set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Uniform Guidance. Additional...

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How to Make Training “Stick”

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

How to Make Training “Stick”

As summer is ending and kids are going back to school, I was thinking about ways to get the most out of learning. While there are many reasons for attending a training class, most of us take training to meet a certification requirement, or because we need to improve/expand our skills. Just like we tell our kids to do in school, we know that during training, it’s important to take good notes, interact positively with our instructor and classmates, and pay attention to the lessons that are covered. Doing these things will get you through the...

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OMB Releases FAQs for the Uniform Guidance

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

The Office of Management and Budget released a second set of frequently asked questions about the Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR 200). This set of FAQs provides additional information to Federal awarding agencies and non-Federal entities preparing to implement the Uniform Guidance, sometimes referred to as the “Superciruclar.” The Uniform Guidance becomes effective for all new Federal awards on December 26, 2014. In the newly released FAQs, OMB...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Election Uncertainty Complicates Budget Decisions Congress has not passed a single appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015, and Congressional leaders are expected to introduce a continuing resolution next month to fund government operations.  Some Republican members, hopeful that their party will retake the Senate in November, are pushing for a CR that would last until January. This could enable the party...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Data Transparency: Oversight Needed to Address Underreporting and Inconsistencies on USASpending.gov The Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined agency compliance with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA). FFATA requires agencies to publish award data on USASpending.gov. Multiple government and private studies have found deficiencies in agency reporting on the website. In...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Obama Signs Executive Order Barring Anti-LGBT Job Bias The president signed an executive order amending Executive Orders 11246 and 11478 to require Federal contractors not to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered employees. The executive order does not directly affect Federal grants; however, any grant recipient awarding contracts under a Federal grant will need to ensure the contractor...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Senate Confirms Shaun Donovan to Run OMB The Senate confirmed Shaun Donovan as the next director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by a vote of 75-22. Donovan replaces Sylvia Mathews Burwell as OMB Director.  Read more here. What Life is Really Like Behind the IG Curtain Federal News Radio interviewed Brian Miller about his experience as the former Inspector General (IG) for the General Services...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Federal DATA Act Work Begins President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act in May, and Federal agencies have begun the process to prepare for the law’s requirements. The DATA Transparency Coalition examines recent Treasury Department actions to comply with the law. GSA Seeks Public Comment on FAPIIS Collection Forms The Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Donovan’s Nomination Advances in the Senate The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee voted to approve President Obama’s nominee to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Shaun Donovan.  Brian Deese is serving as Acting Director until the Senate confirms Donovan.  Federal News Radio has more information about the committee vote. OMB Calls on Congress to Eliminate...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important Federal grants-related news. National Science Foundation Releases New Grants Manual The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a draft version of the 2015 Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide. The new manual incorporates the provisions found in the Uniform Guidance (“Supercircular” or Omni Circular). The manual adopts the Uniform Guidance with only minor changes. Review the manual here. Donovan Talks Up Management in...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important Federal grants-related news.   Amendment to Eliminate EDA Funding Fails The House of Representatives rejected an amendment to an appropriations bill to defund the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA is a Commerce Department agency that awards funding to projects designed to increase employment. The vote was 129 to 280. Read more here. With Budget Deadline Still Months Away, Should Agencies Start Prepping for CR? Federal News...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important Federal grants-related news. OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement 2014 The Office of Management and Budget released the A-133 Compliance Supplement. In the Compliance Supplement, OMB announced plans to: continue to examine ways to reduce the number of compliance requirements, though no decisions have been made; maintain the basic structure of the compliance requirements, found in Part 3, regardless of the number of compliance...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important Federal grants-related news. Not Everyone Loves the DATA Act President Obama signed landmark legislation that will increase the transparency of Federal spending and not everyone is thrilled. Find out why. Homeland Security Moves Closer to Getting Off GAO’s High-Risk List The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report highlighting the progress the Department of Homeland Security is making in addressing frequent problem areas....

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important Federal grants-related news. The DATA Act is Law President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act into law on May 9th.  The DATA Act will require all federal spending to be identified on www.USASpending.gov. Financial reporting forms for grant recipients will likely have to be modified to meet the DATA Act’s requirements. Additional information about the DATA Act can be found here.  Radio Interview With the Data...

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Use the Active Voice for More Impactful Writing

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

We often lessen the impact of our writing by using the passive voice. In The Government Manager’s Guide to Plain Language, I offer some very practical guidance and examples that illustrate how government managers can add directness and impact to their communications, both with their staff and with the public. Give it a try with something you’ve written recently. See the difference? PREFER THE ACTIVE VOICE In an active sentence, the person or agency performing an action is the subject of the sentence. In a passive sentence, the person or item...

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NGMA: Embracing Change and Preparing for the Future

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The National Grants Management Association (NGMA) held its Annual Grants Training Program last week in Arlington, VA. This year’s theme, “Embracing Change: Grants Management in Transition,” focused on how the grants community can best prepare for regulatory changes associated with the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) grants reform initiative. OMB Officials provided updated information on recent activities from the Council of Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) and outlined the process for agency implementation of the Uniform Guidance...

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Assess Before You Diagnose

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

I opened my copy of Performance Improvement recently and was excited to read “An Ounce of Good Assessment is Worth A Pound of Analysis and A Ton of Cure” by Roger Kaufman. It is only natural for managers and executives to diagnose their organizations. They want quick answers. The sooner they can figure out what is causing a problem, the sooner they can focus on getting “real work” done. When I go to the doctor, I am the same way. I’ve already Googled my symptoms and think I know what’s wrong. I don’t want to spend time talking about the...

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Senate Approves DATA Act, Final Passage Expected Soon

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Acquisition, Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On Thursday, April 10, the Senate approved the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) by unanimous consent.  The Senate action follows weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations between House and Senate supporters, and the approved bill represents a compromise between the two chambers. The House, which previously approved another version of the DATA Act by a 388-1 vote in November, is expected to give final approval to the bill in the next few weeks. The DATA Act is designed to increase transparency and accountability of federal...

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Is ILT Dying?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Yes, ILT (instructor-led training) is dying, but we need not mourn its loss. Instead, we should realize we are standing on the brink of something exhilarating: the reincarnation of instructor-led training as virtual instructor-led training (VILT). The traditional brick-and-mortar ILT classroom has been smoldering for a while now. As federal travel budgets shrink and training dollars dry up (although the future of training is looking up), organizations are seeking alternatives to fill their training needs. Organizations are continually looking...

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New Requirements in the Supercircular Designed to Enhance Accountability

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Federal agencies and grant recipients face increased pressure to protect federal funds from waste, fraud, and abuse.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) identified the need to strengthen oversight of federal awards as one of the primary objectives of grants reform.  As a result, the Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements (the “Supercircular”) contains two new provisions that will promote greater recipient accountability...

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Tips for Government Managers to Overcome Writer’s Block

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Whether writing a business plan, memo, or report, one of the hardest tasks government managers face in writing is getting started. In my recent book, The Government Manager’s Guide to Plain Language, I offer some  tips to help you break through the writer’s block we all experience—and also to help you make an initial assessment of what you have written before passing it along for editing and review.   TIPS FOR WRITING DRAFTS To make the draft stage easier and more productive, consider the following steps: • Once you have a complete...

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OMB: The Supercircular is “‘Same Same’ But Different”

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On March 19th, officials from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) presented at the monthly National Grants Management Association’s (NGMA) March training.  The presentation, entitled “Reducing Red-Tape to Improve Outcomes: The Council on Financial Assistance Reform’s (COFAR) New Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200,” focused on recent actions by the COFAR to enhance grants management. The presentation provided a high-level examination of policy changes contained in the Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and...

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Learn About the Supercircular Online!

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Management Concepts is excited to announce two online sessions of our popular Federal Grants Update 2014 course. This year’s Federal Grants Update course focuses primarily on OMB’s Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements (“Supercircular”).   The Supercircular contains more than 50 policy changes for grants management that must be implemented by December 2014.  The online session is ideal for grants professionals who want to learn about how to prepare for these changes from the...

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Meet the Supercircular – Changes to Procurement Policies

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements (“Supercircular”) contains more than 50 policy changes to grants administration. Grant recipients and pass-through entities need to prepare for the changes now to be ready on December 26, 2014 when the Supercircular becomes effective. Subtitle III of Subpart D of the Supercircular details the procedures non-federal entities must follow when procuring property, goods, and services under a federal award. The Supercircular uses language from A-102...

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Contract Negotiation: The Ambiguous Authority Tactic

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management, Uncategorized | 0 comments

In The Government Manager’s Guide to Contract Negotiation, author LeGette McIntyre offers federal negotiators a host of tactics they can use to get a solid, fair deal for their agency. One of these tactics is the “ambiguous authority” tactic—which we’ve all been subjected to when we’ve bought a car! How do you employ the tactic to get the best deal for the government? Share some experiences with your colleagues and we’ll all be better prepared for the next negotiation!   THE AMBIGUOUS AUTHORITY TACTIC You can use the ambiguous authority...

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Meet the Supercircular: Prepare for the Changes Coming Your Way

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Uniform Guidance: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (the “Supercircular”) on December 26, 2013. The Supercircular consolidates eight existing grants-related circulars into a single document and establishes uniform federal grant regulations for non-federal entities. The Supercircular’s provisions become effective on December 26, 2014. To assist awarding agencies, pass-through entities, recipients, grant writers, and auditors in...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Bill On Thursday, January 16th, the Senate gave final approval to the spending plan that will fund government operations through the end of September.  The $1.1 trillion omnibus bill will avert another government shutdown for the next nine months and reduces sequester spending cuts. President Obama signed the bill on Friday. GovernmentExecutive.com has more...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. OMB Official Discusses the Supercircular Norman Dong, the Deputy Controller at the Office of Management and Budget, gave an interview to Federal News Radio on January 9th about the Supercircular. Listen to the interview here. Deal Struck on Final Appropriations Bill Congressional negotiators announced Monday night that they have reached an agreement for spending allocations for the remainder of...

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This Week in Grants News: Meet OMB’s Supercircular

Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. OMB Releases the Supercircular On December 26th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the final rule for the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, known affectionately in the grants community as the “Supercircular.” The Supercircular will consolidate eight grants-related circulars into one uniform set of regulations for all...

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Play Dumb to Get What You Want: The Question Tactic in Negotiation

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance, Human Resources, Leadership, Project Management | 0 comments

Play Dumb to Get What You Want: The Question Tactic in Negotiation

Negotiation skills aren’t just for entrepreneurs on Shark Tank. Federal managers can also benefit from mastering these valuable skills. In The Government Manager’s Guide to Contract Negotiation, LeGette McIntyre offers some very specific tactics that could help any fed facing a tough negotiation. Here’s a great example from the book that McIntyre calls “The Question Tactic.” Try this in your next meeting and let us know your results. THE QUESTION TACTIC In any negotiation, knowledge is power. You increase your power relative to the other side...

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OMB Announces the Supercircular Release

Posted by on Dec 19, 2013 in Grants & Assistance, Uncategorized | 1 comment

OMB will be releasing the Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards, also known as the “Supercircular,” TODAY for public inspection. OMB will be posting the Guidance on the Federal Register’s Public Inspection webpage. OMB will publish the final rule in the Federal Register on December 26th.  The Guidance is a culmination of years of collaboration between federal agencies, recipients, and other stakeholders in the grants community. The Guidance will streamline grants administration by...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. Is the Supercircular Coming This Week? With only two weeks left in 2013, the grants community is waiting to see if the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) meets its self-imposed deadline of releasing the final Supercircular by December 31st. At the annual GPA conference in November, an OMB official announced that the government shutdown has slowed the approval process, and if OMB does not...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. Budget Agreement Reached Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Paul Ryan, the co-chairs of the Congressional budget conference committee, announced a two-year budget agreement. The agreement is designed to prevent another government shutdown. The agreement provides “sequester relief” by increasing domestic spending by $22 billion for FY 2014 and by an additional $9 billion in FY 2015. Politico...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. The High Cost of Gobbledygook The Center of Plain Language released a report card grading agency compliance with the Plain Writing Act. This legislation requires agencies to use concise and simply language when drafting public communications. Read the report card here. House Members Introduced the Improper Payments Agency Cooperation Enhancement Act A bipartisan group of House members introduced...

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“This Week in Grants News” – House Passes DATA Act, Considers FIRST Act

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. House Passes the DATA Act The House of Representatives approved the DATA Act on November 18 by a 388-1 vote. The House’s actions followed the release of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score for the bill. The CBO estimates the DATA Act will cost $395 million over the first five years. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill in the coming months. The House and Senate differ on the role of...

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The Super Circular is Coming in December…or Next Spring

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Speaking at the annual Grants Professional Association (GPA) conference in Baltimore last Friday, Gil Tran, an official at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told a workshop that OMB is in the process of finalizing the “Super Circular.” Tran told the attendees that OMB is still hoping to release the Super Circular by the end of this year, but that the government shutdown has complicated matters. “If it is not out by Christmas, then we will release it sometime after the State of the Union next year,” Tran said. Tran indicated that the...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. Senate Panel Approves DATA Act The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee approved an amended version of the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act last week. The amendment removed a provision related to the Recovery Board’s role in implementing the legislation, deleted a section regarding improper payment review, and extended deadlines for agencies to implement the...

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Single Audit Deadline Extended to January

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced an extension for recipients to submit their single audit reporting packages.  The approval process for the SF-SAC 2013 Data Collection form has been significantly delayed, and therefore OMB extended the reporting deadline. The new deadline for submitting the required materials to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse is January 31, 2014. This extension applies only to single audits for the fiscal year ending in 2013. The SF-SAC is the standard data collection form used for Single Audit Act audits....

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This Week in Grants News…

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week.  Senate Committee to Consider the DATA Act The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will markup the DATA Act tomorrow. Senators are expected to consider an amendment that would alter some of the bill’s provisions. Management Concepts’ Grant Blog will provide additional information after tomorrow’s committee meeting.  Yesterday, the Federal News Network wrote an article about...

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House Committee Approves GRANT Act

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act, HR 3316, on Tuesday, October 29. The committee approved the bill on a party-line vote of 19-15. Before the vote, both sides acknowledged the need to refine the bill before the House of Representatives might consider the legislation. The bill, introduced by Representative James Lankford (R-OK), would require greater transparency of the grants award process. Agencies would be required to publish the names and employers of peer...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week.  Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2013 Congressman Lankford reintroduced the GRANT Act last week. The bills seeks to improve the transparency of the federal grants award process by requiring agencies to publish all grant agreements and closeout reports. For more information about the bill, read Management Concepts’ blog post. NIH Resumes Grant Programs The National Institutes of...

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GRANT Act Introduced in House

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the GRANT Act, HR 3316, on October 23rd. The legislation is designed to increase the transparency of the grant award process. The legislation was previously introduced in the 112th Congress, but neither chamber voted on the bill.  The legislation would increase the public’s access to the information regarding the awards process. Agencies would be required to announce all potential grant competitions for the upcoming year on their website.  The bill would also codify required elements for the Notice...

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Grants Management Contingency Plans During a Government Shutdown

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Unless Congress acts by midnight, the federal government will shut down. In preparation for a potential shutdown, OMB required all agencies to develop and publish contingency plans.  Each agency’s contingency plan can be found here.  A government shutdown will affect grant recipients. While work on most grant programs may continue, agency staff will be unavailable to provide oversight, technical assistance, or prior approval to recipients. Most recipients will also be able to draw down funds, but payment processing will be halted.  “High...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week Senate Poised to Vote on Spending Measure The Senate is expected to vote on, and pass, a bill that will provide temporary funding to keep the government open. After the Senate approves the bill, it will be returned to the House of Representatives for consideration. The House leadership has not yet indicated how they will respond. The federal government will shut down if funding is not approved by...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. OMB Issues Shutdown Guidance to Agencies On Wednesday, OMB released a memo explaining how federal government agencies should prepare for a potential government shutdown. The memo also provided a Q&A section detailing how grants administration would be affected by a shutdown. Read OMB’s memo here. 5 Reasons Why a Government Shutdown is (Likely) Coming Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post...

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Preparing for a Potential Government Shutdown

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

OMB released memorandum yesterday, “M-13-22, Planning for Agency Operations During a Potential Lapse in Appropriations,” which provides agencies guidance on how to prepare for a potential government shutdown. The memo also provides a useful Q&A section detailing how agencies must manage and administer grants during a shutdown. The memo can be accessed here.  Important guidelines for federal grants officials during a government shutdown include the following: Awarding agencies cannot issue new awards; Federal employees cannot, except in...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important federal grants-related news from the week. Congress To-Do List Crowded With Budget Headaches Congress returned to work this week after its five-week summer break and faced multiple budget-related issues that need immediate attention. The end of the fiscal year is September 30th and a continuing resolution must be in place to  avoid a government shutdown. Congress must also pass an increase to the debt ceiling or face a potential default....

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week.  Appeals Court Delays HUD Grant Reallocation A U.S. District Court has delayed HUD’s request to reallocate $7.4 million in funding from Westchester County, New York. Agency officials determined that communities in the county had “exclusionary zones” that were in violation of regulations. HUD had planned on reallocating the funding to other recipients before the end of this fiscal year, September 30th. The...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Sequestration Update Report OMB released a report updating the president and Congress on the sequester.  The report analyzed the FY 14 spending levels in the pending appropriations bills and informed policymakers that significant spending cuts will be necessary to meet the legal requirements in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.  Read the report here. Agencies’ FY15 Budget Planning ‘Tied Up in...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Aug 23, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. OMB Issues Memo to Protect Privacy Rights  The Office of Management and Budget released guidance detailing procedures on how federal agencies should safeguard and protect privacy rights when using the “Do Not Pay List.” The Do Not Pay List is a database that federal agencies are required to check before awarding funds to recipients. Read the memo here.  Grants Highlight Municipal Government...

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This Week in Grants News

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Department of Education The Department published a final rule this week that increases the reliance of performance measures in grant applications, modifies award selection criteria, and provides for the limited use of subgrants. Find out more here. Fraud Warning The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about a scam targeting furloughed federal employees. Federal employees have reported receiving...

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This Week in Grants News…

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week. Grants.gov Debuts a Redesigned Site On August 2nd, the grants community awoke to find a brand new look for Grants.gov. The website redesign is meant to provide a more user-friendly interface to find grant opportunities. The function and content of the website remains the same. Take a look for yourself. SAM.gov Anticipates Delays The homepage of SAM.gov provides unexpected and unfortunate news. Users...

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Grants Legislation Update

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In the past few months, members of Congress have proposed numerous bills affecting federal grants management. Listed below is a summary of pending legislation concerning the grants community. H.R. 882 – Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013:  This legislation would prohibit the awarding of grants and contracts to entities that are “seriously delinquent” in paying federal taxes. The House approved the bill on April 15, 2013. Additional information about the bill can be found at the following post: House Approves Bill to Prevent...

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How Congress Can Help You With Federal Grants

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

Grant writers and applicants are familiar with most of the steps in the grant application process: locate a funding source, check the requirements of the grant, compile the necessary information for the application, complete and submit the application, and then cross your fingers and hope for the best. Applicants, however, frequently omit the important step of contacting their federal elected officials. Members of Congress and their staffs can provide valuable resources to assist grant applicants with each step of the application process. For...

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Staying Up To Date in Federal Grants Has Never Been More Convenient

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Management Concepts is excited to announce an online session of our popular Federal Grants Update 2013 course. This online session is ideal for grant professionals who want to learn about the latest developments in grants management from the comfort of their own home or office. Topics for the course include: OMB’s proposed “Super Circular” The latest statutory and regulatory changes to grants management Best practices to detect and prevent grants fraud How increased emphasis on grants closeout, performance measures,  and suspension and...

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Follow #MCGrants on Twitter!

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Management Concepts Grant Blog is now on Twitter! Follow us at @Mgmt_Concepts or use the hashtag #MCGrants to get the latest grant-related information, news, and resources all in 140 characters or less.

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Agencies Required to Use Federal Award Identification Number (FAIN) for Grant Awards

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently outlined new initiatives designed to improve data quality and information of federal grant spending on USASpending.gov. In a June 2013 memorandum to the chief financial officers of federal agencies, OMB Deputy Controller Norman Dong directed agencies to 1) assign all federal financial awards with a unique identifying number and 2) validate funding information on USASpending.gov. USASpending.gov is designed to increase the transparency of federal spending by allowing the public to readily...

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2013 A-133 Compliance Supplement Released

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released the 2013 A-133 Compliance Supplement.  As usual, the document contains new programs and modifications to existing programs. There are also numerous revisions to the compliance requirements for programs funded through the Recovery Act. Perhaps the most significant change relates to the ongoing confusion regarding the simplified acquisition threshold.  The Supplement states that the $100,000 threshold remains the government-wide policy and auditors should continue to test for that...

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GAO Recommends COFAR Improves Planning and Communication

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on June 24th critical of the Council of Financial Assistance Reform’s (COFAR) strategic planning and communication with the grants community. The report, Grants Management: Improved Planning, Coordination, and Communication Need to Strengthen Reform Efforts (GAO-13-383), examines previous and current government-wide initiatives designed to reform grants management. The GAO recommends OMB and COFAR develop and make publicly available an implementation schedule of ongoing activities,...

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Supreme Court Upholds First Amendment Rights for Grant Recipients

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In a 6-2 decision released this morning, the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment rights of grant recipients. In Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society, the Court examined the power of the federal government and awarding agencies to impose certain award terms and conditions that would require a recipient to “adopt and espouse, as their own, the Government’s view on an issue of public concern.” The Court ruled that a condition of federal funding “requiring recipients to profess a specific belief” exceeds the...

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Comments for the Super Circular are Due!

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The deadline for submitting comments for the Super Circular is June 2nd. Comments must be submitted electronically through regulations.gov. To directly access the docket for the Super Circular, click here. The “Super Circular,” known formally as the Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards, is a proposal to consolidate all current regulations for grants management into a single document that would apply uniformly to all recipient entities. The purpose of the proposal is to streamline grants...

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OMB Grants Single Audit Deadline Extension

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On May 9th, OMB published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments for proposed changes to the SF-SAC form. The SF-SAC is the standard data collection form used for Single Audit Act audits. The proposed changes to the form include additional data elements, as well as modifications to existing elements. The deadline for comment submission is July 8th. OMB anticipates the SF-SAC will be available by the end of the summer. Recognizing this time frame affects audit deadlines, OMB has granted an automatic extension until...

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The DATA Act is Reintroduced

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Congress may be on the verge of approving The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act.  Last week, Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced plans to reintroduce the legislation following behind the scenes bipartisan negotiations with Senator Mark Warner, the Senate sponsor of the DATA Act. Tomorrow, May 22nd, Congressman Issa’s Committee is scheduled to markup the bill and will likely adopt the legislation with minimal changes. The DATA Act is designed to increase...

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COSO Releases Updated Internal Control-Integrated Framework

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On May 14th, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO), an initiative of five private sector organizations that develop guidance on risk management and internal control, released an updated Internal Control-Integrated Framework. The Integrated Framework is widely used by entities in evaluating their internal control systems to reduce the potential for fraud. The revised Integrated Framework reflects the changes to business practices and regulations since the original Framework was published in 1992. The Framework is used by business...

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SAM.gov Webinar

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The General Services Administration (GSA) will hold a free webinar to assist individuals in using SAM.gov.  The webinar will assist individuals in creating SAM.gov accounts, migrating permissions from the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database, and updating existing registration. A recording of the webinar will be available for individuals who cannot attend at the assigned time. The information for the webinar is below: Date: Wednesday, May 15th Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm  EST Registration webpage: http://gsa.gov/portal/event/form/170683...

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Draft Legislation Would Alter the National Science Foundation’s Peer Review Process

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Multiple websites have reported on draft legislation that would alter the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) grant award process. According to the reports, Congressman Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is drafting legislation that would require the Director of NSF to certify each awarded project: is in the interest of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science; is the finest quality, is ground...

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House Approves Bill to Prevent Delinquent Taxpayers from Receiving Grants and Contracts

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill yesterday that would prevent entities from receiving grants and contracts if they are “seriously delinquent” in paying federal taxes. The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013, H.R. 882, would require grant applicants to submit a certification indicating if their federal taxes have been paid in full. Federal agencies would be required to initiate debarment procedures against recipients that file false certificates or are found to have serious delinquent tax debt. Agencies...

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OMB Extends Grant Reform Comment Deadline

Posted by on Mar 23, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just a quick note: OMB is extending the deadline for submitting comments on its “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” relating to the grants management requirements overhaul. The new comment deadline is April 30. To read the original February 29 Federal Register notice describing OMB’s ideas for reforming grants management, click...

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House Committee Approves Bill to Limit Grant Awards to Delinquent Taxpayers

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved a bill yesterday that would limit an agency from awarding a grant if a recipient is delinquent in paying federal taxes. The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013, H.R. 882, would require grant applicants to submit a certification indicating whether they have fully paid their federal taxes. Federal agencies would be required to initiate debarment procedures against recipients that file false certificates or are found to have serious delinquent tax debt. The language in the...

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OMB Officials Discuss the Proposed Uniform Guidance

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Financial Management, Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

OMB officials discussed the proposed “Super Circular” today at the monthly National Grant Management Association (NGMA) training luncheon held in Washington, D.C. The officials discussed some of the proposed changes that would affect grants management, with one official labeling the entire process Extreme Makeover: OMB Edition. The “Super Circular,” known formally as the Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards, is a proposal to consolidate all current regulations for grants management into...

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GAO Releases Redbook Update

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The GAO recently released the annual update to the Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, more commonly referred to as the Redbook. Two GAO opinions referenced in the update are important for the grants community. The first important GAO opinion concerned the authority of the Social Security Administration to carry out two grant programs after the authorization for appropriations had expired. The GAO determined that as long as the underlying program authority is still valid, appropriations in the authorizing statute do not have to be...

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The Sequester is Here

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in Acquisition, Financial Management, Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Barring a last minute compromise, the  sequester will become a reality tonight. In preparation for the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, OMB released a memo yesterday detailing the effect of the sequester on important government functions. Included in the memo is an explanation of how grant funding will be impacted. The excerpt from the memo about financial assistance is provided below. “Given the widespread use of grants, loans, and other Federal financial assistance to non-federal entities (e.g., State, local and tribal, non-profit...

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OMB Wants Your Input on Grants Management Reform

Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

As promised, OMB has set out a list of recommendations about ways to improve grants management — and now is your chance to comment. The notice appeared on OMB’s website earlier today, but the official version will not be published in the Federal Register until next Tuesday. This “Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance” briefly outlines the reform ideas OMB is considering, which could reshape the entire landscape of federal grants management. OMB is targeting all aspects of grants management: audit, cost principles, and uniform administrative...

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Are You Ready for a New OMB Circular?

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget is working on a draft “omnibus circular” that would consolidate and revise the current uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit circulars. While details are sketchy, the new circular could represent a significant change for grants management. For example, OMB may raise the single audit threshold, consolidate the current cost principles into one set, and set standards for merit-based reviews of grant applications. OMB officials say a Federal Register notice inviting comments on the...

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Help Us Help You!

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

We need your help to plan our upcoming class schedule and training. Where would you like us to schedule classes? Are there additional courses you’d like to see offered online? What new courses or products could we offer to meet your training and professional development needs? Your answers to these and other questions will help us improve our grants management training curricula. Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey. We ask that you complete the survey by February 25th. To access it, click here. Your feedback is greatly...

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Free Webinar for SAM.gov Information

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The General Services Administration (GSA) will hold a free webinar to assist individuals in using SAM.gov.  The webinar will assist individuals in creating SAM.gov accounts, migrating permissions from the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database, and updating existing registration. A recording of the webinar will be available for individuals who cannot attend at the assigned time. The information for the webinar is below: Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Time: 1:00pm EST Registration webpage: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/event/form/160683...

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OMB to Host Webinar on Proposed Guidance

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

OMB announced plans to hold a webinar on the proposed Uniform Guidance on February 8, 2013 at 11:00 am EST at www.cfo.gov. The webinar is free and preregistration is not required. The webinar will explain the proposed policy changes and how the grants community will be impacted. The Guidance was published last Friday. It is designed to provide a uniform policy for federal grants by consolidating and updating government regulations. A copy of the Guidance, along with other useful documents, can be found here. The chart below identifies the OMB...

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OMB Releases SuperCircular

Posted by on Jan 31, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Tomorrow’s Federal Register will publish OMB’s “supercircular.” The official name of the proposal is the OMB Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrate Requirements for Federal Awards. OMB has published the supercircular and additional resources on its webpage. One resource is the “Crosswalk from Existing Guidance to Proposed Guidance.” This chart explains all the proposed changes. The following is the link to the OMB supercircular and provided resources. The public will have 90 days to provide comment on the proposed changes....

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Federal Grants Update 2013 Course

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Information about Management Concepts’ annual Federal Grants Update seminar is now available. This one-day course is a great way to keep track of the latest developments in grants management and to learn about pending changes that may impact your day-to-day grants work. This year’s course will focus on the increased emphasis on program assessments and performance measurements in grant applications, improved oversight of  the closeout process, recent legislative and regulatory changes to grants management, and COSO’s updated internal controls...

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The Fiscal Cliff, Sequestration, and Federal Grants

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In recent weeks, the media has been in a near non-stop reporting frenzy analyzing the daily offers and counteroffers by the major players in the “fiscal cliff.” One local channel in the Washington area has even begun to broadcast a clock counting down the days until the nation plunges off the fiscal cliff. While national polling suggestions a majority of the American public is “very closely” or “fairly closely” following the negotiations between President Obama and Speaker Boehner, many remain confused about the details of the fiscal cliff...

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Federal Grants Management and Legalized Marijuana

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On Election Day, voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures that decriminalized the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. In direct conflict with these state laws is the federal Controlled Substance Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Many employers in these two states face uncertainty on how to implement drug-free workplace policies. These laws also present potential legal questions to grant recipients. Currently, all grantees are required to implement and adhere to the...

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Super Circular Update

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Only a few weeks remain of 2012 and OMB still has not indicated when the draft super circular will be released. While rumors seemed to indicate OMB was on the verge of releasing the draft regulations a month ago, there have not been any new developments. Management Concepts is hearing that individuals who have seen the portions of the draft regulations have called them “vague” and “ambiguous” and that OMB is continuing to revise them. Management Concepts continues to monitor developments and will update this blog when we hear of...

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Senate Adopts Whistleblower Protections for Grantees

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Last week, the Senate agreed to an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act designed to strengthen whistleblower protections for employees of contractors, subcontractors and grantees. The amendment prohibits employers from firing or punishing employees who report abuse, waste, or fraud relating to Federal grants or contracts. Individuals believing that they have been punished by an employer would be able to file a complaint with the Inspector General’s office of the awarding agency. The amendment also prohibits employers from waiving the...

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Is OMB Close to Releasing a Draft “Super Circular?”

Posted by on Nov 2, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Rumors abound that OMB is on the verge of releasing the draft “super circular” of changes to federal grant policy. In February, OMB issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance recommending changes to the administration of federal grants, costs principles, and A-133 audit requirements. Over 300 comments were submitted to OMB by the April 30th deadline. Since then, OMB has been consulting with agency officials in developing a draft of the proposed changes. Once released in the Federal Register, the public will have a sixty day window to...

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Nation Faces Sequestration

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The presidential election is a week away, and the winning candidate will immediately face a dire economic situation known as “The Fiscal Cliff.” This term applies to numerous budgetary factors all occurring simultaneously at the end of this calendar year. These factors include sequestration, the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax breaks, and the expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Sequestration may have the most significant short-term impact on federal grant recipients and subrecipients. The Budget Control Act of 2011 requires...

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New DATA Act Introduced in the Senate

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a new version of the DATA Act (S.3600) after the previous version passed the House but died in the Senate.   This version differs in several ways from the previously introduced version, including a new design for the accountability board. This new version eliminates the creation of an independent board which would have had control over all federal spending, including management of USAspending.gov, subpoena power, and other oversight tasks (see our post from June 15, 2011).  The newly introduced DATA Act...

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GAO Examines Challenges to Grant Administration and Management

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on September 25, 2012 entitled “Grants to State and Local Governments: An Overview of Federal Funding Levels and Selected Challenges.” The report provided a synopsis of federal assistance programs, the grant awards process, and funding levels of federal grants over the last thirty years. The GAO did not examine any new issues regarding federal grant programs, and instead summarized previous audit reports focusing on the challenges in implementing and managing federal assistance...

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GAO Sustains Housing Agencies’ Protest for HUD’s Improper Use of Cooperative Agreements

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently sustained protests by several housing agencies who asserted that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) use of a notice of funding availability (NOFA) was improper in seeking to obtain contract administration services.   Instead, the protesters contend, HUD should have used a procurement instrument for these services. (GAO B-406738) In March of this year, HUD issued a NOFA providing for cooperative agreements to be issued to public housing agencies (PHA) for the...

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GAO Updates Grants Community on Streamlining Efforts

Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Yesterday at the NGMA monthly training session, representatives from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) gave participants some insight on what to expect regarding grants streamlining efforts. Tom James and Betsy Hosler of the GAO introduced a “New Streamlining Engagement” effort that will: “1) Evaluate the progress OMB and other federal grant governance bodies have made toward streamlining grants management across federal grant-making agencies; and 2) Assess what further actions should be taken to streamline grants management across...

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Grants Management Certificate Program™ Hits Milestone

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

We generally don’t use this space to toot our own horn, but this is a special occasion. Last week, the Grants Management Certificate Program graduated its 5000th student. On behalf of all of us here at Management Concepts, we’d like to thank all of the Certificate Program candidates who allowed us to assist them with their career development over the years.

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Court of Appeals Rules Against Cornell University in False Claims Act Case

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On September 5, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s judgment finding that Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and Dr. Wilfred van Gorp, a former faculty member, submitted false claims on grant renewal applications and progress reports from 1999 through 2001. The case is U.S. ex rel. Daniel Feldman v. Wilfred van Gorp and Cornell University Medical College. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the grant to Cornell and Dr. van Gorp to provide training to post-doctoral fellows researching...

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OMB Tells Agencies to “Test” New Forms

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Beginning in August, federal agencies will have to “test” new or revised forms to ensure that the forms and instructions are clear and easy for users to understand. This requirement was issued by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) through an August 9 memo to the heads of all federal agencies. In the text of that memo, OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein wrote: “With respect to Federal forms, simplicity and ease of comprehension are exceedingly important. In recent years, agencies have made important efforts to simplify and...

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OMB Releases 2012 A-133 Compliance Supplement

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Ok, I’ll be honest. I haven’t looked at it yet, so I can’t comment on what’s included. But it’s finally here so I wanted to let everyone know ASAP. OMB just released the 2012 A-133 Compliance Supplement. It can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133_compliance_supplement_2012 Enjoy! And keep checking the blog. I’ll be posting items of interest when I come across...

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Comments Sought on Streamlining Regs

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The following was just posted on the OMB blog. Since it is rather succinct and complete, I thought it best to just copy and paste it. So here is what OMB is doing… How can we continue to streamline, simplify, and improve rules and regulations? Which rules should be eliminated, streamlined, or made more effective? How can we reduce reporting and paperwork burdens? What are the best ways to cut regulatory costs? We’re looking for your ideas. In January 2011, the President directed all executive agencies to undertake an unprecedented...

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Health Care Ruling Leaves Many Questions About Grants

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just a quick note regarding the Supreme Court ruling on the health care act and its potential impact on federal grants. Part of the decision expressly addresses the issue of whether Congress has the authority to set conditions upon the receipt of grants. The short answer is: yes, it can, as long as those conditions do not constitute “coercion.” The Court said that in this case, the threat of withholding 100% of Medicaid funding from states that did not want to participate in the expanded coverage program was coercion and was therefore...

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What Happened to the DATA Act?

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Earlier this year there was a flurry of activity and far-ranging discussion surrounding a new DATA Act, legislation that would impose strict new reporting requirements on federal agencies and grant recipients. But what happened to that proposed measure? Apparently, it has died in the Senate. During a Sunday morning talk show, Rep. Darrell Issa, the bill’s primary sponsor in the House, was discussing the Republican agenda when he said “we want to be jobs and the economy,” Issa said. “The Data Act passed unanimously out of the House, and it’s...

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In Case You Missed It

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Deployment of SAM, the new System for Award Management, is being delayed until late July. SAM is a project sponsored by GSA that will consolidate numerous grants and contracts databases into one location. This consolidation will give users one central point for finding information, and also one login site for accessing data currently housed on sites such as EPLS, CCR and numerous others. GSA originally planned to launch Phase 1 of the project in late May, but is now indicating that it will be late July before it goes live. For more...

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Tips for Cross-Agency Coordination

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Looking for some advice on how to design a collaborative network? The IBM Center for The Business of Government just published a new report that highlights the successes and challenges of users who have implemented cross-agency collaborative networks. In the introduction to the report, the authors say: Government agencies face increasing internal and external pressure to share information and to communicate across agency boundaries. Multiple-organization collaborative initiatives are far more complex and difficult than technology-based...

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Some Progress Seen But Grant Closeout Remains A Challenge

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Nearly $800 million in undisbursed federal funds remained in expired grant accounts at the end of fiscal year 2011, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. And while some agencies have taken steps to reduce that amount and speed the grant closeout process, more work needs to be done. In a May 2012 follow-up to a 2008 report, GAO repeated its basic recommendation: OMB needs to establish governmentwide guidance for grant closeout. In the 2012 report, GAO noted that while the total amount of undisbursed funds in FY...

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SAM Is Going Live Soon — And It Will Impact Grantees

Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The General Services Administration (GSA) is undertaking a federal acquisition streamlining effort that while targeted to contracting, will nevertheless have an impact on the grants community. On May 29 GSA plans to move the functions currently hosted by the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) into a new System for Award Management (SAM). SAM will consolidate nine acquisition databases that track pre- and post-award contract data across the entire federal civilian and Department of Defense...

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330 Comments — Now What?

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Now that the comment deadline on OMB’s grant reform proposal has passed, it’s time for the agency to move on to the next phase of the massive initiative: reading, analyzing, and acting on those comments. In February, OMB released a set of draft “ideas” for reforming governmentwide grants management policies, affecting everything from how agencies announce notices of funding availability to audit requirements. The proposal is centered around two major themes: consolidating and revising the current eight circulars into one; and making that one...

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New Recipient, Fed Reporting Bill Clears House

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

With the buzzwords “accountability” and “transparency” cited over and over, the House yesterday approved the DATA Act, a measure that would impose strict new reporting requirements on federal agencies and grant recipients. Recipients would have to report at least quarterly on receipt and use of federal funds. Similarly, federal agencies would have to report at least quarterly on all obligations and expenditures of federal funds. The Treasury Department would also report federal agency obligations and expenditures, and all of this information...

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Agencies To Begin Using Do Not Pay Web Site

Posted by on Apr 12, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Federal awarding officials now have a new tool to help them confirm individual and entity eligibility before making any grant, loan, contract, or benefit payment. Launched today, the new Do Not Pay List web site is a single point of entry for accessing relevant data. The portal allows federal agencies to to access data sources including the Death Master File, the Excluded Parties List System, Treasury’s Debt Check Database, and the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. The site also offers data analysis of information from other...

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NIH Begins Testing RPPR

Posted by on Apr 3, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

This month the National Institutes of Health will begin pilot testing the new governmentwide Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). Seven institutions will pilot the RPPR for NIH beginning in April 2012. During the initial pilot the RPPR will be used only for progress reports under awards that do not require submission of an annual detailed budget (i.e., awarded under the Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process or SNAP) and for individual fellowships. NIH anticipates expanding the pilot in the summer of 2012 to include all Federal...

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OMB Extends Grant Reform Comment Deadline

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just a quick note: OMB is extending the deadline for submitting comments on its “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” relating to the grants management requirements overhaul. The new comment deadline is April 30. To read the original February 29 Federal Register notice describing OMB’s ideas for reforming grants management, click...

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Keeping Tabs on the DATA Act

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

I picked up some very interesting information about the DATA Act at last week’s NGP webcast. According to Cornelia Chebinou (NGP co-chair and the director of NASACT’s Washington, DC office) The legislation that will eventually be debated on the full House floor will be significantly different than the measure that came out of the House committee. The House is using a “manager’s amendment” to make significant changes to the bill. There were few details on what the changes would be, but one thing that was mentioned was the fact that the bill...

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It’s Your Training; Tell Us What You Want

Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

We need your help to plan our upcoming class schedule and training. What classes would you like to see offered in various locations? Are there other cities where you think we should offer training? What new courses or products could we offer to meet your training and professional development needs? Your answers to these and other questions will help us improve our grants management training curricula. Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey. We ask that you complete the survey by April 1. To access it, click here. .Your...

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Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Amend Hatch Act

Posted by on Mar 8, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to update the nearly 75-year-old Hatch Act, a law that governs the political activities of federal, state, and local government employees. The Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 would make three major changes: • State and local government employees covered by the Hatch Act would be allowed to run for partisan elective office. • The Merit Systems Protection Board (which rules on alleged Hatch Act violations) would have more options for penalties. Currently, the only penalty,...

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OMB Wants Your Input on Grants Management Reform

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

As promised, OMB has set out a list of recommendations about ways to improve grants management — and now is your chance to comment. The notice appeared on OMB’s website earlier today, but the official version will not be published in the Federal Register until next Tuesday. This “Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance” briefly outlines the reform ideas OMB is considering, which could reshape the entire landscape of federal grants management. OMB is targeting all aspects of grants management: audit, cost principles, and...

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Are You Ready for a New OMB Circular?

Posted by on Feb 21, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget is working on a draft “omnibus circular” that would consolidate and revise the current uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit circulars. While details are sketchy, the new circular could represent a significant change for grants management. For example, OMB may raise the single audit threshold, consolidate the current cost principles into one set, and set standards for merit-based reviews of grant applications. OMB officials say a Federal Register notice inviting...

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Federal Grants Update 2012 Is On The Way!

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

We’ve just posted information about our annual Federal Grants Update course to the Management Concepts web site. This one-day seminar is a great way to keep track of the latest developments in grants management and to learn about pending changes that may impact your day-to-day grants work. This year we’ll be discussing OMB’s plans for consolidating and revising the grants management circulars, new grants oversight boards, A-133 audits, suspension and debarment, and much more. Classes start the first week in April and run throughout the summer...

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GRANT Bill Focuses on Preaward Issues, Single Audits

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

There has been a lot of talk in Congress about grants accountability, but mostly in the realm of post-award administration. Now comes a bill that addresses those topics before an award is made. HR 3433, the s-called GRANT Act, would call for some rather dramatic shifts in the way discretionary grants are awarded. For example, federal agencies would have to establish and publish merit-based selection criteria. And before an award is made, agencies would have to evaluate whether the applicant is capable of properly managing federal awards and...

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OMB Creates New Grants Policy Council

Posted by on Oct 31, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget has just created a new Council on Financial Assistance Reform to ”foster more efficient and effective federal financial management.” The council will work with the Government Accountability and Transparency Board and federal agencies to: coordinate the development and implementation of a standardized business process, data standards, and IT work with key stakeholders  to eliminate unnecessary regulatory, reporting, and grant agreement requirements and increase flexibilities for satisfying grant...

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New Real Property Reporting Form Released

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget has approved a new Real Property Status Report Form, providing grantees with a governmentwide form for reporting on real property status or seeking disposition instructions. The General Services Administration published the form (SF-429) as interim final last September, but OMB returned it to GSA in December 2010 for further revisions. OMB has now approved the revisions. The report has a cover sheet and three attachments: A. General Reporting; B. Request to Acquire, Improve or Furnish; and C. Disposition or...

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Join the Conversation About Recovery Act Oversight

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Log in next week (Oct. 17-24) to join an online conversation discussing ways to prevent fraud and abuse in federally funded Recovery Act programs. This week-long public dialog is sponsored by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and the National Academy of Public Administration. While the scope of this discussion will focus primarily on oversight of Recovery Act funds, the sponsors are also interested in ideas related to the oversight of other federal spending that might be applicable to Recovery Act dollars. Some of the...

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Agencies Told To Spend Remaining Recovery Money

Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In a recent memo, the Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies to send out the remaining Recovery Act funds as quickly and efficiently as possible — or they could be returned to the federal treasury in two years.  OMB said “there remain billions in discretionary Recovery Act funds that, although they have been obligated, have not yet been outlayed. In light of the current economic situation and the need for further economic stimulus, it is critical that agencies spend these remaining funds as quickly and efficiently...

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GAO Releases “Semi-Final” Yellow Book

Posted by on Aug 24, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

December Update: It is now final. In mid-December, GAO released the final version of the Yellow Book. Click on the link below to access the standards, as well as a summary of the major changes. GAO just released a new version of the Yellow Book that “contains the intended content for the final 2011 Revision of Government Auditing Standards. GAO plans to formally issue the 2011 Revision Government Auditing Standards later this year after the AICPA has completed its clarity revisions.” In the 2011 revision, GAO is establishing a “conceptual...

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Let OMB Know What You Think About the FFR

Posted by on Jul 29, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Do you have comments on the usefulness of the Federal Financial Report (SF-425), how it could be improved, other ways to collect the same information, or similar ideas about the collection of financial information? Well, OMB wants to hear from you. In the July 28 Federal Register, OMB invited comments on the renewal of the SF-425. OMB is currently not planning to make any changes to the data collection form, but in the notice, it specifically said it was interested in receiving comments on: “How the SF–425 and SF–425A are an improvement over...

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Comments Sought on Potential Changes to 2 CFR 220

Posted by on Jun 30, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Federal agencies are asking for your help in finding ways to reduce the administrative burdens and costs associated with cost principles compliance in federally sponsored research projects. Colleges, universities, grants offices, associations, and others involved in research have until July 28 to offer their ideas. For several years, a federal interagency task force has been looking at 2 CFR 220 (Circular A-21) with respect to its application in federally sponsored research at educational institutions. That task force has gathered preliminary...

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What’s the Future of Grants Management?

Posted by on Jun 24, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Yesterday, a House subcommittee held hearings on “Improving Oversight and Accountability in Federal Grant Programs.” Officials from OMB, GAO, federal agencies, and the private sector all testified. And while (in my opinion) there was not a lot of new information or new ideas, the fact that Congress is now paying more attention to grants management is a fairly significant development. So here is a link to the subcommittee’s website, where you can find testimony and watch a recorded version of the hearing. I’m curious to see what action...

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More Transparency, More Reporting?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

It seems it is not a matter of whether, but when, the federal government will impose new reporting requirements on recipients of federal financial assistance. On the same day, President Obama issued a new executive order on the matter while a key member of Congress introduced legislation that could have a drastic impact on grants management. Both the executive order and the legislation have the ultimate goals of increasing transparency (read increasing reporting) and reducing waste. And both are based largely on the lessons learned through...

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What’s New in the Compliance Supplement?

Posted by on Jun 8, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

I’ve been looking at the recently released 2011 A-133 Compliance Supplement and found several items of interest (at least to me) that I thought I would pass along. OMB added a a new element to the core compliance requirements to alert auditors and program officials as to whether the reporting requirements of the Transparency Act apply to a particular program. The compliance supplement also explains that, at the current time, “this reporting at the program level may be “Not Applicable” for several different reasons: (1) there are no subawards...

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A-133 Compliance Supplement Is Here!

Posted by on Jun 1, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Finally, the Office of Management and Budget has released the 2011 Circular A-133 audit guidance document. As usual, new programs have been added, other programs have been deleted, and individual program descriptions have been updated. In addition, OMB has added guidance and references relating to Transparency Act reporting, and clarified reporting requirements and auditors’ responsibilities relating to Recovery Act funding. Watch this blog for additional information in the future. In the meantime, go here to view or download the Compliance...

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Still Looking for the A-133 Compliance Supplement?

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

So are we. Nearly two months ago I wrote in this blog that OMB might be close to meeting its goal of releasing the 2011 Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement by the end of March. But it’s now May and OMB has yet to publish the annual audit guidance. In fact, at the recent National Grants Management Association annual conference, OMB’s Gil Tran said it might be “several weeks” before the document is released. This would put the publication date well into mid- or late May.  Auditors, grantees. and federal program...

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A Few Thoughts on the CR

Posted by on Apr 14, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

This week Congress will vote on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. I’ve been looking at the proposal and noticed a few things that might be of interest to grants professionals. First, while the theme of transparency and accountability grow, Congress is planning to slash funding for electronic government initiatives by about 75 percent. This would impact sites such as USAspending.gov where the public has access to information about federal aid recipients. With only $8 million to...

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OMB Shutdown Guidance

Posted by on Apr 7, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just about an hour ago, OMB issued guidance to agencies about how to prepare for a federal government shutdown. I haven’t had a chance to read through the whole thing yet, but I thought it important to let everyone know as soon as possible. The memo is available here. I’ll pass along any other information I come across as soon as...

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Management Concepts Needs Your Help

Posted by on Mar 21, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

We need your help to plan our upcoming class schedule and training. What classes would you like to see offered in various locations? Are there cities where you think we should offer training? What new courses or products could we offer to meet your training and professional development needs? Your answers to these and other questions will help us improve our grants management training curricula. Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey. It should only take about 5-10 minutes. We ask that you complete the survey by April 1. To...

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CCR Troubles? You’re Not Alone

Posted by on Mar 9, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

According to a recent post on the Grants.gov blog, the installation of new hardware and software at the Central Contractor Registry has caused a severe processing backlog. Both new CCR registrants and those looking to renew their current registration are being affected. Although the technical problems at CCR  have been resolved, there is still a backlog and the delay could impact an entity’s ability to submit a timely grant application through Grants.gov. Applicants experiencing delays are encouraged to contact the relevant federal awarding...

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Does Flexibility Equal Change?

Posted by on Mar 4, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

President Obama recently issued a memo to federal agencies that, in my opinion, could have a significant impact on grants management practices and policies. In the memo, entitled Administrative Flexibility , Obama focused on two areas: coordination and collaboration efforts lead by OMB, and agency streamlining. Two of the directives to OMB could be especially significant for entities involved in grants management. Obama directs the office to “review and where appropriate revise guidance concerning cost principles, burden minimizations, and...

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A-133 Compliance Supplement MAY be Coming Soon

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget recently provided AICPA’s Governmental Audit Quality Center a draft version of the 2011 OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement for review. While only AICPA members can currently access the document, it could be an indication that OMB is on track to issue the guidance very soon. In the past, the Compliance Supplement was traditionally updated each spring, but in recent years the guidance has been released later and later. The 2010 version was not posted to the OMB website until July. In response to a...

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No Changes for Procurement Under Grants

Posted by on Jan 28, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

If you purchase goods or services using federal grant funds, you might be interested in this: the simplified acquisition threshold for procurements under grants has not changed, even though the FAR level was recently increased to $150,000. The threshold for grants – which is detailed in OMB’s grants management circulars – is based on the FAR’s underlying statute, not the FAR itself. According to OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management, an interagency workgroup is looking into whether OMB should change the grants threshold to $150,000 for...

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Just Announced: Federal Grants Update 2011!

Posted by on Jan 19, 2011 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Information about Management Concepts’ annual Federal Grants Update seminar is now available. This one-day course is a great way to keep track of the latest developments in grants management and to learn about pending changes that may impact your day-to-day grants work. This year we’ll be discussing GPRA, subaward reporting, transparency and accountability, audit guidance, presidential and congressional priorities, and more. Classes start the first week in April and run throughout the summer in cities around the country. We can also bring the...

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Congress Clears GPRA Reform

Posted by on Dec 22, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Congress has just approved major changes to the Government Performance and Results Act, pushing for not only better performance from federal agencies and programs, but also better reporting and more transparency. The measure calls for federal agencies to identify their top priorities, publicly report program results, and identify ineffective and duplicative federal programs. Each federal agency would designate a Chief Operating Officer and a Performance Improvement Officer with primary responsibility for pursuing cost-savings through the...

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Subaward Data Beginning to Appear

Posted by on Dec 8, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 2 comments

It’s nearly two years late, but information about subawards under federal grants is now available on the USAspending.gov website. In early December, the site began posting subaward information associated with new prime grant awards over $25,000, as required by the Transparency Act. According to OMB, so far data on 930 subawards in areas such as health, food and nutrition, and transportation has been displayed.  OMB expects that number to grow very quickly as new information becomes available and new subawards are made. I looked around...

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OMB Offers Funds for Program Innovation

Posted by on Oct 20, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

 The Office of Management and Budget is planning to distribute $37.5 million to help federal agencies support innovative projects that improve federal assistance programs delivered through state and local governments.  The Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation will support initiatives that improve payment accuracy, improve administrative efficiency, improve service delivery, and remove access barriers for eligible beneficiaries.  The first step is for entities to submit pilot ideas. OMB will evaluate those ideas, solicit more...

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Audit Review Guide Available From CIGIE

Posted by on Oct 13, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Are you interested in audits? Do your job responsibilities entail audit reviews? Want to know what a quality audit looks like? The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity & Efficiency (CIGIE) has a revised Guide for Quality Control Reviews of OMB Circular A-133 Audits. The guide is a fairly easy-to-understand tool that offers a checklist of issues to consider when evaluating the quality and reliability of a single audit. It will help reviewers determine whether the audit was conducted in accordance with applicable standards and...

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New Real Property Reporting Form Released

Posted by on Sep 28, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Federal agencies now have a new standard report they may use to collect information about the status of real property funded with federal assistance awards. On September 16, the General Services Administration (on behalf of the Grants Policy Committee) released the new Real Property Status Report. The as-yet-unnumbered standard form has four parts – a cover page and three attachments. Attachment A is for General Reporting, Attachment B is a Request to Acquire, Improve or Furnish property, and Attachment C is a Disposition Request. The...

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OMB To Conduct Webinar on Transparency Act Reporting

Posted by on Sep 15, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

I just learned that OMB is sponsoring a webinar to discuss the new Transparency Act (FFATA) subaward reporting requirements. The Town Hall Meeting is Thursday, Sept. 23, from 10-noon. For more information, click...

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New Award Terms Set for FFATA, DUNS/CCR

Posted by on Sep 14, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Today the Office of Management and Budget issued regulations requiring federal agencies to include new award terms in their grants and cooperative agreements. First, agencies must now include language requiring applicants to have DUNS numbers and to maintain current registration in the CCR. The term will be included in awards for grants and cooperative agreements effective Oct. 1 2010, while the deadline for other assistance recipients – such as those receiving loans, subsidies, insurance, food, and “direct appropriations” – is...

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OMB Details Subaward Reporting

Posted by on Sep 2, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In another new memo promoting open government, OMB offers details of how the fast-approaching Transparency Act subaward reporting process will work and the related responsibilities of federal agencies, prime grantees, and subgrantees.   For example, in any new awards issued as of October 1 2010, federal agencies must include a new award term that delineates the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) subaward reporting requirements. Prime grantees will be required to register in two systems to meet the act’s subaward...

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GAO Invites Comments on Revised Yellow Book

Posted by on Aug 24, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

GAO has released the 2010 draft revisions to Government Auditing Standards (the Yellow Book). Comments on the proposed changes are due Nov. 22, 2010. The revisions consolidate many of the current Yellow Book chapters, and amend language and requirements to align with AICPA standards. But one of the most significant changes is a shift in the Yellow Book approach to auditor independence. Rather than establishing a specific list of “do’s” and “don’ts”, GAO is proposing a “conceptual framework” for...

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2010 Compliance Supplement Released

Posted by on Jul 30, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The 2010 A-133 Compliance Supplement is now available on the OMB website. As usual, changes have been throughout the guidance to reflect new statutory and regulatory requirements, and to make technical and clarifying revisions. But perhaps the most important change, at least for this year, is the information on the Recovery Act and its impact on single audits. The Recovery Act discussion is found in Appendix VII, which is called a rather vaguely named  “Other OMB Circular A-133 Advisories.” The guidance addresses the impact of...

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Obama Signs Improper Payments Act

Posted by on Jul 26, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

President Obama has signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010, requiring federal agencies to identify programs most at risk of improper payments, take steps to address those risks, and use a variety to tools to recapture payments that were made in error.  Specifically, the head of each federal agency must review agency programs and activities every three fiscal years and identify those that are susceptible to “significant” improper payments. Significant improper payments are those that total either $100 million, or 2.5...

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AGA Recap

Posted by on Jul 15, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Well, it’s been a while since I posted to this blog, so this one will make up for the lack of frequency in the amount of volume. I attended the Association of Government Accountants Professional Development Conference earlier this week and want to share a summary of some of the sessions I attended. My notes are fairly basic and lack some context, so if you need more info, please feel free to contact me directly (lhayes@managementconcepts.com), or post to the blog. Here we go… Grants Management Line of Business Danny Werfel,...

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Agencies Ordered to Check ‘Do Not Pay’ Lists Before Making Awards

Posted by on Jun 21, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In an effort to stem payments to ineligible individuals and entities, President Obama has ordered federal agencies to check nearly half a dozen existing databases before making any financial assistance award – including grants. In a June 18 presidential memo, Obama said that in the preaward phase, agencies must consult, where appropriate, the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System, the Department of the Treasury’s Debt Check Database, the...

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OMB Tells Agencies To Cut 5 Percent From FY 12 Budgets

Posted by on Jun 9, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

President Obama’s themes of tying performance to funding, and tightening the discretionary budget belt will carry forward into fiscal year 2012 and beyond. In June 2010, OMB issued budget guidance to federal agencies that are now working to develop their FY 12 budget requests for submission to OMB. The guidance, which came in the form of two memos, directs agencies to “identify the programs and subprograms that have the lowest impact on your agency’s mission and constitute at least five percent of your agency’s [FY 10] discretionary...

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OPM Plans New Grants Management Series

Posted by on May 26, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is circulating a proposed job classification series that would specify and standardize the use of the job title “Grants Management Specialist.” Federal law requires OPM to establish official position titles to include a basic title (e.g., Grants Management Specialist) and optional titles such as “lead” or “supervisor”. Agencies must use the official position titles for human resources management, budget, and fiscal purposes. According to...

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HHS Invites Comments on Proposed Conflict of Interest Regs

Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to overhaul its researcher financial conflict of interest regulations and is inviting public comment on the proposed changes. Among other things, the changes would expand the scope and coverage of the regulations, amend the definition of “significant financial interest”, expand research institutions’ responsibilities for identifying and managing conflicts of interest, and strengthen the federal government’s oversight roles and responsibilities. The conflict of...

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Once More, From OMB…

Posted by on May 5, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget has issued yet even more guidance aimed at stepping up recipient reporting under the Recovery Act. And this time, the memo directs federal agencies to take very specific steps to enforce compliance. Memo 10-17, issued May 4, details five specific steps awarding agencies must take and sets specific deadlines for doing so. Nothing in the memo is especially new, but the fact that OMB included deadlines for agency actions is noteworthy. In summary, federal agencies must notify their recipients of the reporting...

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All Agencies Must Move Back to Grants.gov

Posted by on Apr 27, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In a new memo, OMB has directed all federal agencies to once again begin using Grants.gov now that the portal has been upgraded and is capable of handling a large influx of proposals. The system was overwhelmed last year after enactment of the Recovery Act, and OMB had allowed agencies to move away from Grants.gov and to use alternative methods for receiving applications. But according to the memo, recent upgrades and planned improvements have alleviated any risk that Grants.gov might fail and all agencies must move back to Grants.gov for...

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Let Us Know What You Think

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 1 comment

We need your help to plan our schedule for next year. What classes would you like to see offered in various locations? Are there cities where you think we should offer training? What new courses or products could we offer to meet your training and professional development needs? Your answers to these and other questions will help us improve our grants management training curricula. Please take a few minutes to complete our online survey by clicking here. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and is for informational purposes only....

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OMB Tells Agencies to Begin Posting FFATA Subaward Data

Posted by on Apr 7, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Nearly four years after it was enacted, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act is once again on OMB’s radar. According to a recent memo, OMB is revamping the USAspending.gov site, creating a new mandate for ensuring the accuracy of Transparency Act data, and perhaps most notably, establishing a deadline for agencies to begin reporting subaward information. Agencies have been reporting primary recipient award data to USAspending.gov for several years, but now they must begin to collect and report subaward data by October...

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Obama Calls for Tough Action Against Nonreporters

Posted by on Apr 7, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Recipients of Recovery Act funds that have not filed the required reports detailing their use of funds and their programs’ progress may soon find themselves facing severe consequences – including the loss of funds, suspension and debarment, and even punitive actions. In a new memo, President Obama directs federal agencies to “further intensify their efforts” to improve reporting compliance and to report the identities of noncompliant entities. While the vast majority of recipients filed reports, the White House...

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Is Grants Management a Government-Only Function?

Posted by on Mar 31, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

If you would like to voice your opinion on this question, now is your opportunity. The Office of Management and Budget is seeking input about what constitutes “inherently governmental” functions as it works to develop new guidance for determining whether federal agencies should contract out certain tasks or whether the work should be performed by government employees. Some activities seem obviously governmental, such as hiring federal workers or establishing federal policy, but other areas are less clear. And while much of the...

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OMB Amends 2 CFR Part 176

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Wow, it’s been a busy week in the area of grants management… On March 25, OMB amended 2 CFR Part 176 – the award term for the Recovery Act – to reflect changes in U.S. policy regarding Buy America requirements as they relate to international agreements with certain countries. Specifically, OMB has amended the threshold that applies to international Buy America agreements, added an international agreement to the Buy America policy, and added a country to an existing agreement. If you’re interested, you can view...

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Comments Invited on Personal Property Reporting Form

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Now is your last chance (probably) to comment on the proposed governmentwide standard Tangible Personal Property Report Form (SF-428). Yesterday (March 25), the General Services Administration issued a Federal Registernotice inviting comments on the form and announcing that it is sending it for final information collection review before making the form available for governmentwide use. This form is a result of the government’s ongoing streamlining effort which includes issuing standard grants management reporting forms for all agencies...

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OMB Issues More Recovery Act Guidance; Focuses on Audits

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just days before the next Recovery Act reporting cycle begins, OMB has issued further reporting guidance for federal agency personnel and recipients. In the March 22 memo, OMB addresses data quality, technical issues, and the importance of single audits, among other topics. Some of the specific items covered in the memo include the actions federal agencies must take during the new “continuous corrections” phase of the reporting cycle, a new category of data quality that federal officials must now review, immediate actions that...

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Court Says ACORN Funding Ban is Unconstitutional

Posted by on Mar 22, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

A federal district court has ruled that Congress’ ban on funding for the controversial ACORN organization is unconstitutional, and OMB has rescinded an October 2009 memo that had directed agencies to stop funding the nonprofit. Here’s a little background:  ACORN is a nonprofit social justice organization that conducts voter registration campaigns, offers free tax return preparation for low-income individuals, provides low-income housing counseling and similar community development projects. However, the group and its affiliates...

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Recovery Act Programs Taxing Federal Resources

Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

A new report confirms what most of you in grants management probably already knew: implementation and administration of Recovery Act programs has put a strain on the federal grants workforce. The Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board surveyed the 29 agencies charged with handing out Recovery Act funds. Review of Contracts and Grants Workforce Staffing and Qualifications in Agencies Overseeing Recovery Act Funds showed that most agencies felt staffing was inadequate to operate Recovery Act programs, or that if the staffing level was...

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After a Year, GAO Sees Improvement in Recovery Act Accountability, But Still Room for Improvement

Posted by on Mar 3, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Now that the Recovery Act is one year old, the Government Accountability Office is taking a look back — and a look forward — at how state and local agencies have used the money they received, and the efforts being made to improve accountability for those awards. Most of the nearly 200-page report deals with specific programs and agencies, including Medicaid, Transportation, and Education, but GAO also addresses issues relating to recipient reporting, and a significant amount of attention to the OMB A-133 single audit process. GAO...

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OMB Invites Comments on New 2 CFR Parts

Posted by on Feb 23, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget is accepting comments on a set of proposed regulations that would impact several parts of the governmentwide grants administration process. While the impetus for the proposed new rules is a legislative mandate to create a governmentwide database of information about large, potentially high-risk grantees, OMB’s proposal also addresses other areas, especially preaward. It represents the office’s ongoing efforts to relocate governmentwide guidance into one central location – Title 2 of the...

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Here’s an Update on Federal Grants Update 2010

Posted by on Feb 8, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Information about Management Concepts’ annual Federal Grants Update seminar is now available. This year we’ll be discussing transparency and accountability, audits, standard forms, and more. These one-day classes start the first week in April and run throughout the summer in cities around the country. Click here to see dates, locations, topics, and registration...

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Standard Research Report About to Hit the Streets

Posted by on Jan 15, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The National Science Foundation – on behalf of the Grants Policy Committee and the Research Business Models Subcommittee – is accepting final comments on the new governmentwide Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) format, while at the same time putting the format out for use by federal agencies. In a Federal Register announcement, NSF said agencies may now use the new standard format, which is designed to help streamline the reporting process for grantees as well as allow federal awarding agencies to more easily analyze,...

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How Would You Improve Grants.gov?

Posted by on Jan 12, 2010 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Grants Policy Committee is preparing a response to a GAO report about the timeliness of grant application submission through Grants.gov, and they want help from the public. The GPC’s Preaward Workgroup is drafting an OMB response to the July GAO Report, “Grants.gov Has Systemic Weaknesses That Require Attention.” This workgroup is specifically focusing on the GAO recommendation regarding the timeliness of applications. Some of the issues being addressed by the GPC workgroup include what constitutes a timely application, how to...

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New Recovery Act Guidance Addresses Data Quality, Nonreporters, and Jobs

Posted by on Dec 21, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 1 comment

Well, as most of the nation’s capital braced last week for a weekend blizzard, the Office of Management and Budget was busy releasing new guidance on the Recovery Act reporting requirements. The memo released late Friday afternoon targets three areas: steps that federal awarding agencies must take to ensure the quality of data being reported by Recovery Act recipients; how federal agencies are to deal with recipients who have not reported or who have persistent reporting problems; and how recipients are to calculate and report the...

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Grants Management Reform Bill On The Move

Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Yesterday the House passed its version of a bill to reauthorize the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act, pushing OMB even more to create a one-stop web portal that would consolidate all grant application and management functions and standardize the process governmentwide. The House version of S. 303 is similar to the Senate bill passed in March 2009. Both direct OMB to beef up Grants.gov so that it serves not only as a central location for grant applications, but also for grants management. The legislation continues the...

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States, Locals Invited To Comment on What Works

Posted by on Dec 11, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 1 comment

On a new website, Partner4Solutions, the federal government is asking state and local governments for ideas on reducing improper federal payments. The website and request for input are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce the estimated $98 billion in improper payments made in fiscal 2009. “We know that states and local governments are already addressing these issues head-on and have identified many innovative approaches. We see this as an opportunity to better understand some of the on-the-ground best practices....

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OMB Again Tells Agencies to Focus on Recovery Act Reporting

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Once again, the Office of Management and Budget is directing federal awarding agencies to step up their efforts to ensure recipients meet their reporting responsibilities under the Recovery Act. And for those recipients who don’t comply, federal agencies will be taking action. In a new memo, OMB Director Peter Orzag says that while a large number of recipients did report on Recovery Act projects in the first reporting period, a significant number failed to do so. He reminded federal agencies that failure to report constitutes...

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Agencies May Still Have To Pay ACORN

Posted by on Dec 1, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just a quick follow-up to the ACORN posting from last week. The Justice Department in a new memo said the recent law that prohibits funding for the controversial nonprofit does not prevent federal agencies – specifically HUD – from honoring existing contractual obligations with ACORN. The fiscal 2010 Continuing Appropriations Resolution states, “None of the funds made available by this joint resolution or any prior act may be provided to [ACORN], or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations.” Justice...

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Are There “Minimal” Value Single Audits?

Posted by on Nov 24, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

President Obama’s most recent Executive Order aimed at reducing improper payments by federal agencies includes an interesting item. Not only does it direct OMB to examine the effectiveness of single audits in detecting and preventing improper payments, but it also asks for recommendations on how to “streamline or eliminate single audit requirements where their value is minimal.” Most of the Executive Order is aimed at identifying which federal programs are most vulnerable to improper payments, setting targets and action...

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ACORN and Federal Grants

Posted by on Nov 23, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Many of you may have been following the ACORN story with interest, but now I’m wondering if the actions of the beleaguered nonprofit might have a potentially broader impact on federal grants. ACORN is a nonprofit social justice organization that conducts voter registration campaigns, offers free tax return preparation for low-income individuals, provides low-income housing counseling and similar community development projects. In recent months, however, the group and its affiliates have come under fire after hidden cameras allegedly...

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A New Look at Performance Measures?

Posted by on Oct 30, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The newly formed bipartisan Senate Budget Committee Task Force on Government Performance held its first hearing yesterday, with testimony from several experts on government efficiency, including the new OMB Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients. While several themes were discussed, most were not new ideas or concepts. However, there are two I thought interesting. First, legislators are attempting to play a role in measuring performance, not just in their role of developing the federal budget, but also to instill some form of...

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What Will Become of GPC?

Posted by on Oct 23, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

It seems there are discussions about merging the Grants Policy Committee and the Grants Executive Board in an effort to coordinate the two aspects of the federal grants community. As its name implies, the GPC is in charge of establishing policies to implement grants streamlining efforts. The GEB, on the other hand, has authority over the business side of the streamlining effort, including Grants.gov and the Grants Management Line of Business. But soon the two boards may merge into one. Tom Cooley, chair of the GPC, said at a recent National...

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First Agency to Incorporate New FFR

Posted by on Oct 8, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In tomorrow’s (Thursday) Federal Register, the US Agency for International Development will publish a notice amending its grants management regulations to reflect the governmentwide switch to the new Federal Financial Report (SF-425/425A). OMB developed the new form as a standard reporting format for all federal assistance recipients, replacing the (Financial Status Report  (SF-269/269A) and the Federal Cash Transaction Report (SF-272/272A). Federal agencies were to begin using the new SF 425/425A no later than Oct.1 of this year, and...

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A More Open Federal Register

Posted by on Oct 6, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

If you think the contents of the Federal Register can be informative but have found the data hard to use and sort through, there is some good news. The Federal Register has been converted into XML, a form of text that allows users to browse, reorganize, and customize the data in just about any way they want. For example, rather than browsing the daily contents of the Federal Register by agency or department as you used to do, you can now rearrange the information to see what announcements might affect your grant program or join real-time...

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Are You Texting? Wait a Minute…

Posted by on Oct 5, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

President Obama has prohibited federal employees from texting while they drive, but the ban may not stop there: federal agencies will now be “encouraging” their recipients and subrecipients to also ban employee texting while on government (or company) business or in government vehicles. The Executive Order, issued October 2, prohibits federal employees from text messaging while driving on official government business or while in government-owned vehicles. It also directs federal agencies to consider adopting education and...

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Agencies To Help Grantees Report on Recovery Act

Posted by on Sep 14, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Registration on the new FederalReporting.gov website – where grantees must post information about their work under the Recovery Act – is lagging and OMB wants federal agencies to help. In a just-released memo to federal agencies, OMB outlined three steps that federal agencies must “take immediately” to help recipients and subrecipients register with and submit information to FederalReporting.gov. First, agencies are to begin targeted outreach to remind recipients of their reporting and registration obligations. OMB...

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Just a Reminder…

Posted by on Aug 20, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

That the new website FederalReporting.gov is now live and both federal agencies and recipients of Recovery Act funds are being encouraged to complete the one-time registration. Although reporting will not begin until October, agencies are encouraged to register now, well in advance of the October date. The new site is where recipients will submit the required Recovery Act funding and project reports and where federal agencies will review and comment on the information before it is posted to the public Recovery.gov website....

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Here’s a Handy Recovery Act Checklist

Posted by on Aug 6, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The online newsletter Government Executive has posted a checklist that may be useful for those responsible for monitoring or administering Recovery Act grants. The list summarizes the major reporting requirements for the next three months, organized by deadline date. You can view the checklist...

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OMB Posts New Recovery Act Audit Guidance

Posted by on Aug 6, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

OMB has published additional guidance for auditing Recovery Act programs and signaled that even more is on the way. The guidance was published as an addendum to the 2009 OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement and is now available on OMB’s website. The guidance goes into detail on a number of issues  related to auditing these new programs, such as checking allowable and unallowable activities. However, it still does not address one of the more complicated areas of Recovery Act program administration: reporting. OMB says “at this...

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OMB Clarifies Recovery Act Lobbying Restrictions

Posted by on Jul 28, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In an effort to improve the transparency of Recovery Act awards, the Obama Administration is restricting lobbying efforts by potential recipients, and making any lobbying activities that do occur visible to the public. OMB has just issued a memo to federal agencies that updates the lobbying restrictions that were imposed on Recovery Act funds. In essence, after competitive grant applications have been submitted, there can be no oral communication between federal agency officials and anyone regarding that specific project, whether or not they...

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Get Ready To Register

Posted by on Jul 21, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

I’m listening to one of OMB’s Recovery Act reporting training webinars and wanted to alert everyone to an important upcoming date they just announced: on August 17, registration will open on the new FederalReporting.gov site. All federal awarding agencies, prime recipients, and designated subrecipients must register with the system in order to submit, review, post, and correct the reports required under the Recovery Act. Entities are encouraged to register early on FederalReporting.gov; ideally at least 45 days before the Ocotber...

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Grants.gov: Good, but Could be Much Better

Posted by on Jul 15, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

While Grants.gov has made the grants process somewhat easier for both federal awarding agencies and potential applicants, the Government Accountability Office says the web portal has systemic problems that need to be addressed. GAO’s report echoes many previous reports about Grants.gov. For federal agencies, the benefits of using Grants.gov include eliminating the need to develop agency-specific electronic systems and making their funding opportunities available to a wider audience. For grantees, the online search and apply portal...

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Recovery Act Training Details Announced

Posted by on Jul 10, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

OMB has just announced the dates (July 20-23), topics, and registration information for the Recovery Act reporting webinars. The two-hour sessions are intended for federal agencies, prime recipients, and subrecipients,  and will focus on major sections of the reporting guidance published on June 22. For information or to register, go to the Recovery.gov...

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Training on Recovery Act Reporting Coming Soon

Posted by on Jul 8, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

During the week of July 20, federal officials plan to conduct a series of web-based training sessions covering the recently issued Recovery Act reporting guidance (see blogs below). The sessions will be aimed at helping recipients and subrecipients understand the new reporting guidance issued June 22 and the online technologies that will be used for the reporting. We have no information yet on when, where, or what these sessions will entail, but we wanted to give everyone a heads-up about the training. I’ll post more information once...

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Some Notes About the New Reporting Guidance

Posted by on Jun 30, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Tucked inside OMB’s latest guidance on Recovery Act reporting are several items of interest that I wanted to point out. First, there should be an addendum to the 2009 Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement coming out very soon. OMB provided a list of all Recovery Act guidance, including an “Addendum to the Single Audit Compliance Supplement – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” that should be out by June 30. I haven’t seen it yet, but will let everyone know when it appears. OMB’s new guidance also said it...

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OMB Aims to Clarify Recovery Act Reporting

Posted by on Jun 23, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

On 22 June 2009, the Office of Management and Budget issued additional guidance intended to help recipients, pass-through entities, subrecipients, and federal agencies meet the reporting requirements of Section 1512 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The guidance was issued as a memorandum to federal agencies, and is available at the OMB website . From this site you can also download a list of the programs that are subject to the Recovery Act’s reporting requirements, as well as a sample Excel spread-sheet that can be used as a...

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OMB Moves Drug-Free Guidance to Title 2

Posted by on Jun 17, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget has placed the final drug-free workplace guidance for grants and cooperative agreements in a new Title 2 CFR Part 182, a move that continues the government’s efforts to consolidate grants policy into one central location. The drug-free workplace guidance in Part 182 is virtually the same as the common rule currently being used by federal agencies and makes no substantive change to existing policies and procedures. The office originally announced its intention to move the governmentwide guidance in September...

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OMB Advises on Federal Recovery, Transparency Reporting

Posted by on Jun 3, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget just gave federal agencies guidance on how to report both Recovery Act and Transparency Act data to USAspending.gov, the site created as a searchable, single database where the public can find detailed information about federal awards. Much of the new “operational guidelines” are technical in nature, dealing with issues such as required formatting and submission methods. However, OMB also  explains one reporting question that arose under the Recovery Act: aggregate reporting for small awards....

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A-133 Compliance Supplement Addresses Recovery Act , Sort of

Posted by on May 27, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday released the annual Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement, offering auditors and federal assistance recipients an updated resource for meeting their responsibilities under an A-133 audit. However, because of the “limited time” between enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the issuance of the 2009 supplement, the guidance does not fully incorporate the requirements resulting from the massive economic stimulus package. Instead, OMB has included a brief appendix...

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Obama Outlines PART Overhaul

Posted by on May 12, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

In his 2010 budget proposal released this week, President Obama sketched a broad outline of the steps he plans to take in an effort to “fundamentally reconfigure” how the federal government assesses program performance. One of the six cornerstones of the administration’s plan for improved government management and performance is replacing the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) with a new “performance improvement and analysis framework.” Instead of grading individual programs as “successful” or...

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CFDA Is Back Online!

Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

As the General Services Administration promised, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance website is now back – with a new look. Although much of the information that was posted on the previous site is still available, there are some new enhancements. For example, at www.cfda.gov you can now find an entire section devoted to programs funded under the Recovery Act, as well as an enhanced search tool. You can also access links to resources such as a print version of the 2008 catalog, Grants.gov, an overview of the CFDA, and tips for...

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A-133 Compliance Supplement Coming Soon

Posted by on Apr 24, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Here’s some information I picked up at the recent National Grants Management Association annual training conference. According to Terry Ramsey of HHS (formerly of OMB), the draft Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement is being circulated and should be released “soon” and will include an appendix dealing with the Recovery Act. OMB also plans to release an addendum to the Compliance Supplement with more specific Recovery Act information as close as possible to June 30 so that auditors can get started on auditing the Recovery Act...

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2 CFR Part 176 in Today’s FR

Posted by on Apr 23, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Just a quick note for those of you interested in the Recovery Act. OMB published 2 CFR Part 176 – the requirements for grant and assistance reporting, Buy America and Davis Bacon – as interim final guidance in today’s Federal Register. Comments are being accepted until June 22. To read the announcement, click here.

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Be On the Lookout for A-133 Changes

Posted by on Apr 10, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, there could be significant changes to the federal government’s single audit process in 2009. At the request of members of Congress, GAO took a look at how the OMB Circular A-133 single audit process could be revised to improve federal oversight and accountability of grant funds. The current process, GAO reported, offers no way to ensure how or even if federal agencies implement single audit requirements. Further there are variations among federal agencies as to how...

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Recovery Act Guidance Just Keeps Coming…

Posted by on Apr 6, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget has just added a new part to Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations to establish a standard award term for grants, cooperative agreements, and loans funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars. The new interim final guidance and award term was released late Friday as part of OMB’s second installment of the more comprehensive guidance to federal agencies on implementation of the Recovery Act. The new 2 CFR Part 176—which should be published in the Federal Register in the next day or...

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OMB Details Proposed Recovery Act Reporting

Posted by on Apr 1, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The Office of Management and Budget today issued the proposed data elements that would be required for recipient reporting on projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. OMB is proposing four basic sets of data. Grant recipients would provide fairly standard  information about themselves and their Recovery Act award. They would also have to describe the funded project or activity and its current status. Things get a little more complicated in the third and fourth sets of required data elements. Recipients would have to...

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Who’s Reviewing the Reviewers?

Posted by on Mar 31, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The system created to review and monitor clinical trials involving humans is vulnerable to “unethical manipulation,” and government officials admit they don’t assess whether some parts of the system are adequate or even factual. In a recent investigation of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) system, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) created a fake company with a fake review board, received approval to test a nonexistent medical device, and falsified documents—all with the approval of federal agencies. An IRB is an...

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“Imprudent” Projects Will Not be Funded Under the Recovery Act

Posted by on Mar 25, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act specifically prohibits funds from being used to support any gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool. But according to President Obama and Vice President Biden, similar projects also will be on the forbidden list. Speaking to members of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Obama said “whenever a project comes up for review, we will ask a few simple questions: Does it advance the core mission of the Recovery Act? Does it jumpstart job-creation? Does it lay the...

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NIH Joins Twitter

Posted by on Mar 23, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 1 comment

Looking for a quick, easy way to track funding opportunities from the National Institutes of Health? Try Twitter. In mid-March NIH began using the social networking and blogging service to provide information about funding opportunities. Using Twitter, NIH will post links to Funding Opportunity Announcements in a condensed format, about the size of a typical text message. The Institute will “tweet” announcements once a week. (Twitter enables users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts that...

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Welcome to the Grants Blog!

Posted by on Mar 23, 2009 in Grants & Assistance | 0 comments

Welcome to Management Concepts’ Grants Blog. We created this site as a tool to help you stay up to date on the latest information that affects the administration of federal grants and assistance programs. You’ll find posts about new governmentwide policies and directives, congressional activities, federal awarding agency issuances, answers to common grants management questions, and much more. We’ll also be passing along grants management tips, helpful resources, interesting facts and news briefs, and other tidbits that can help you in your...

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