OMB Memorandum Seeks Undisbursed Balances Info from Four Agencies

July 20, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

OMB-SealIt’s been pretty busy over the last week or two at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), although the news coming out of OMB doesn’t yet include the 2016 Compliance Supplement. Of interest to the single audit community, OMB has issued a new Data Collection Form (SF-SAC) for audits of fiscal years after Dec. 26, 2014, making it the first SF-SAC to comply with the uniform guidance. It also has released a revised Circular A-123, now titled Management’s Responsibility for Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Control. We will provide articles on both of these important issues in the Thompson’s Single Audit Information Service and the Grants Compliance Expert.

Also, in a recent memorandum, OMB is requiring extra information on undisbursed balances from four federal agencies in their annual agency reports. Section 530 of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113) required the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Science Foundation to report to the president and Congress on undisbursed balances in expired grant accounts in their agency financial reports (AFR) or performance and accountability reports (PAR) and performance plans/budgets for the preceding three fiscal years. These undisbursed balances are the unliquidated obligation amounts that remain available for expenditure on an expired grant award before it is closed out and include budget authority that is no longer available for new obligations but is still available for disbursement.

According to the memorandum (M-16-18), for federal fiscal year 2016 and subsequent fiscal years thereafter, these agencies will include the following information in the “Other Information” section of their AFR or PAR and annual performance plans/budgets with regard to undisbursed balances in expired grant accounts:

  • for the preceding three fiscal years, provide the total number of expired grant accounts with undisbursed balances for the agency and the total amount that has not been obligated to a specific grant or project remaining in the accounts;
  • provide details on future action the agency will take to resolve undisbursed balances in expired grant accounts;
  • describe the method the agency uses to track undisbursed balances in expired grant accounts; and
  • process for identification of undisbursed balances in expired grant accounts that may be returned to the Department of the Treasury.

The federal government is doing more to crack down on these undisbursed balances. Hopefully over time, such efforts, along with those to reduce improper payments, will have a positive effect on federal spending.

Let us know your reaction to this agency reporting requirement. We’d love to hear from you.

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