I’m sure we all can agree that grant acquittals can be hard to do and are mostly very time-consuming. To add to the frustration, no two grant providers have the same reporting requirements, sometimes not even within the same Government department. So how can you streamline the grant acquittal process?
Grants to Bulk Fund Programs
Bulk funding such as grants come in all shapes and sizes. Often, they are issued by Governments – local, state and federal. Sometimes funding contributions can also be delivered by philanthropic beneficiaries such as individuals or corporate Bluechip companies within wealthy sectors such as banking or mining. They all have similar goals: To deliver a service or program that will see minority groups or the community at large as the main beneficiary.
Operating in a bulk funded environment looks pretty much the same with each grant. There is an application process, a period of running the program and then finally, there is the acquittal. Whilst Calxa has limited use during the application process, it is a great help during the program delivery where unspent funds need to be tracked diligently across the program period. However, Calxa brings additional value in that final stage: The Acquittal. So, here we will focus on the final reporting to the provider and show you where the gains are invaluable.
Anatomy of the Acquittal
Most grant acquittals need to report outcome data relating to the activities or services the grant was issued for. Usually, this is a combination of financial results and non-financial statistics focusing on the activities delivered. There are a couple of main parts:
- The report needs to show how the funds were allocated. It needs to prove the funding was spent as agreed and where over or under spending occurred.
- It must demonstrate the success of the program and the value the funding provided. This can include care hours delivered, participation rates, improvement percentages, social proof and anecdotal evidence. Now, not all of this data can be extracted from your accounting system. Calxa comes into its real effect here.
How to Make the Process Easier
The key ingredients Calxa brings to the table are summed up with three Features:
- Account Trees to summarise the numbers
- Metrics to include non-financial numbers
- Document Editor to add notes and docs
Let’s go through these elements in more detail.
The trees simply give you the functionality to re-arrange your account structure. Whilst the regular chart of account in your MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks Online is useful when you do the books day-to-day, it can be awkward during financial reporting. The Account Trees are simply a re-grouped list of your accounts.
The way it works is that you create new headers and then map your existing chart of accounts under each header. Once done, you run a report and simply select the Account Tree in your filter and the numbers magically get a summarised report the way you intended for the purpose at hand.
Some users have many trees to solve different problems. Account Trees help summarise board reports, they can form the common structure for multi-company consolidations and of course, they are the essence when acquitting grants.
This feature lets you add additional data not included in your accounting figures. Under ‘Metrics’ you simply add a budget of what you want to achieve and then each month you add the actual results. This is great to use on monthly reporting to see how the program is tracking.
To really use the power of Metrics, take this one step further. Create some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by dividing a group of accounts by the metric. For example:
[Total Funding Amount] / [# of Participants] = Individual Investment
[Total Expense] / [Care Hours Provided] = Hourly Cost
Once these KPIs are set up, you can either add these to your budget reports or simply run them on their own as a trending chart.
The third important element is the Document Editor. This feature is great for all types of reports. It allows you to add notes and annotations, insert images, word docs and tables.
As you prepare your financial and non-financial reports in Calxa you simply add these to a report bundle. It’s important to name your bundle something descriptive like ‘Grant Acquittal X’. Now it’s as simple as running this bundle and activating the Document Editor to add all the components you need.
The Final Package
If you set up these structure from the beginning, you can monitor the grant performance as you go. To automate it simply create a workflow to update the accounting data and automatically send you and the program manager this report each month. Keeping an eye on the outcomes is a great way to stay on target with the grant expectations.