Sneak Preview: Staff Training on Policies Is Vital for Compliance

August 28, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

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xgran_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) While having updated policies and procedures for federal award funding is critical to ensuring that a nonfederal entity has proper internal controls over the funds, they will only prove beneficial if staff in charge of compliance is adequately trained on how to follow these policies and procedures, presenters stressed at a recent conference in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Ward, a partner with Plante Moran, and Jana Dean, chief financial officer with the Michigan Public Health Institute, told attendees at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ 2018 Governmental Accounting and Auditing Conference about the importance of documenting grant-related policies and procedures in writing and the internal control requirements under the Office of Management and Budget’s uniform guidance.

“It’s important to make sure you train and educate your staff because if they have any part in determining compliance for the organization, they need to understand the rules,” Ward explained. “Sometimes what happens is [nonfederal entities] may put new procedures in place, but the team doesn’t really understand how they apply, why they apply or the framework and foundation behind it. The more we can educate and train staff, the better everyone understands what’s at stake when [they] don’t follow certain rules.”

The presenters defined “policies” as the guiding principles that establish the direction for the organization, and “procedures” as the steps taken to implement the policies. Dean explained that by having documented policies, an organization can: (1) apply rules consistently across the entity and limit exceptions; (2) increase efficiency in decisionmaking; and (3) provide an introduction on how tasks should be performed. “For example, we rewrote our travel policy two years ago because of some inconsistencies,” she said. “We wanted to take the judgement out of it so that we can be consistent.”

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

As a reminder, our final Federal Funding Training Forum scheduled for 2018 will be Wednesday October 17 through Friday October 19 in Atlanta. Please let me know if you have questions or can make this forum. We hope to see you there!

In addition, we are now offering a procurement boot camp Wednesday October 24 in Washington, D.C. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in this program!


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