Maryland Toots its Own Horn — With Good Reason

May 31, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | 1 comment

775798_maryland_state_flagIn a previous post, we mentioned how several grants officials attending the National Grants Management Association’s recent annual training conference were concerned about reduced funding for training, especially in light of potential major changes to grants management and single audits coming from the Office of Management and Budget’s proposed grants reform guidance.

Now we have some proof behind the importance of training, thanks to the Maryland Governor’s Grants Office.

The Maryland grants office has released a report evaluating fiscal year 2012 single audit reports for the 41 states that had issued a single audit report for that year. What it found was quite telling. The state of Maryland had only 15 new findings on its single audit, ranking second only to Mississippi, which had 10. Most other states had between 32 to 74 new findings, while four states had more than 100 new findings.

It also compared the state ranking for findings per $1 billion expended. Maryland ranked third, behind California and New York, with 1.17 findings. While most states had less than 10 findings per $1 billion expended, some states fared much worse (Nebraska, 32.65; New Hampshire, 33.78; Hawaii, 108.82).

So what does Maryland attribute its success to? The state’s grants office asked other high-performing states the same question. What these states said was that their officials responsible for the management of federal grant funds had audit and/or grants management training in place. They added that three categories in particular — cash management, subrecipient monitoring and internal controls — pose key challenges to reducing audit findings. “It would seem that this information warrants further analysis of the types of findings along with recommendations on how federal, state and local governments can work together to reduce fiscal and management practices that result in audit findings,” the grants office concluded.

I commend the Maryland Governor’s Grants Office for doing this research. The Maryland grants office has been a leader in holding training conferences and webinars to help grants officials across the state stay up-to-date on program requirements. The report really emphasizes the point that the best way to reduce audit findings and ensure that grant programs are compliant is to ensure that everyone knows what they are doing and are trained adequately. OMB, Congress and grantor agencies must make training a priority as we continue to look at ways to improve the grants management process.

Let us know what you think about this survey. Do you have any thoughts or worries about cuts to training? Let us know.

 

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for blogging about this Single Audit study, Jerry. The Maryland Governor’s Grants Office will be rolling out another set of intensive grants management trainings this fall. Although we are close to best, we want our state to be #1 in the nation in terms of managing federal dollars. Workshops will be announced soon in our newsletter. People may sign up for it (free) at http://www.grants.maryland.gov.

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