GREAT ACT MAKING GREAT PROGRESS
Companies today look for any avenue to reduce their liabilities and costs. Although grants are a welcome addition to business, as compliance reporting structures become more complicated by the day, any law to ease the process is much appreciated. Agencies and the public seek transparency in the information reported by grant recipients about how the grants were put to use efficiently and effectively, thus encouraging the US government to introduce the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act of 2019. This Act enables the availability of open data to modernize federal grant reporting. The enactment is an endeavour to standardize and even revamp the reporting system, of their grants/federal funds to the respective entities and other recipients of funds. This Act has been introduced to simplify the arduous task of disclosing information to the general public, through a central government website called USAspending.gov. The effort is to stress on standardization and transparency through modern technology. This Act was passed by the Senate recently on 21st October 2019 and is now with the Oversight & Government Reform Committee for further action. Hopefully, this attempt will transform the reporting process, from a scenario of totally different documents to a robust, uniform, cost-effective reporting system. Not only will this Act as a tool for timely decision making, but will also facilitate single-window access and information retrieval mechanism, for easy compliance.
Let us now see how this initiative is scheduled to be operated and also get to understand the nuances of its requirements.
Process and Requirements
- The Act requires perusal of parameters for data related to grants, applicable to grantees, not limited to state/local governments, who are recipients of federal awards, equal to, or more than $750,000.
- The Act requires certain necessary information from the entities requesting a grant. They are, among other things, the name of the entity, the amount of grant, the agency and the location.
- The Prime Awardees are entities receiving a grant from the Federal Government and are required to submit their periodical progress reports concerning the details on receipt of grants and how they have disbursed them. These progress reports are to be filed through the FFATA sub-award Reporting System (FSRS).
- Further, there are sub-recipients, who are entities recipient of sub-grants. These entities are required to submit their periodical progress reports to the prime awardees.
- There are also certain conditions and pre-requisites for compiling data for reporting. They are, inter-alia, traceable and auto readable with intelligent searches, non-proprietary, incorporate standards developed by designated bodies and FFATA, in keeping with standard accounting practices and standards etc.
- It is also mandatory that the sub-recipients, receiving awards equal to or above $25,000, need to share their data to their prime awardees for the prime awardees to share the same through FSRS.
- There are a plethora of Standard Grant Reporting Forms that are required to be used, right from applying for a grant, through the entire reporting system.
The Act also provides exceptions and limitations in that there shall be:
- No personally-searchable or otherwise vital information published.
- The OMB Director to permit exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Hopefully, the above initiative, will encourage reporting discipline and provide a platform for much needed instant access to data, in keeping with the right ideology of “Right to Information”. Are you a company on the lookout for support with changes in the light of this Act? We’re right here to help you navigate through this and be on the right side of the law. Give us a call today!
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