Federal grants are the way the government funds your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. A grant is one of many different forms of federal financial assistance. Grants fund programs to eligible recipients that fulfill a public purpose in critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, economic development, and many other programs listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).
Grants managements programs have been fraught with bottlenecks in manual and redundant methods which bring about issues managing compliance requirements and documentation. Such outdated mechanisms make the reporting of grants an arduous process which lead to shortcuts, distribution of inaccurate information and millions of dollars in lost or misused funds. These antiquated methodologies cause difficulty and inability to manage multiple grants simultaneously and bring about communication and collaboration challenges when many parties are involved.
Effective grants management helps accomplish the mission of both the grantor agency and the grantee while creating a sustainable management model and ensuring fiscal responsibility in the use of such programs. Throughout the grants management process, government agencies are required to maintain financial integrity while providing timely and effective customer service. Additionally, the funding agencies and recipients must meet strict statutory and regulatory mandates. The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act of 2014 requires the full lifespan of a grant’s data to be visible to the public. Also introduced in 2014, the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Guidance laid the groundwork for federal agencies to standardize how this data is processed. In 2016, the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act was signed to hold government agencies accountable in closing out expired grants.
By moving grants management processes to the cloud, organizations can achieve visibility through shared data streams that can be managed and accounted for around the clock and from anywhere in the world. End users are able to realize reduced operational costs, enhanced security, quicker invoicing and exchange of funds, and enhanced speed through all phases of the grants process from application to award and closeout.
Additional benefits of cloud based, all-inclusive grants management programs include financial integration with financial management services (FMS), consistent and efficient procedures, and continually enforced compliance through a traceable workflow and automated progress reporting.
A recent example of successful grants management modernization is the partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Genesis Consulting. The USDA was quick to align itself with these guidelines by joining with Genesis and our pioneering the first integration of SAP and PEGA on top of SAP CRM during implementation of the ezFedGrants (EFG) program. EFG is one of the U.S. government’s most comprehensive online grants management programs developed for use by the USDA and subsidiary agencies. EFG exists to establish commonality and efficiency through streamlined grants processes, improved customer service, and increased transparency and accuracy of financial program data per federal law.
Genesis was able to reduce system congestion by implementing interconnected systems that communicate with each other in addition to incorporating predictive analytics through machine learning. The USDA has enhanced their compliance through homogeneous methods to clearly communicate and enforce rules, and new standardized systems for easier and more rapid reporting. Genesis constructed new programs in SAP and PEGA to manage multiple grants for both grantor and grantee by using cloud systems for enhanced visibility and shareability for as many parties as necessary under one platform, so nothing is lost in translation from one system, person or process to another.
Since implementing ezFedGrants in the fall of 2013 and through the end of 2017, Genesis Consulting has helped the USDA achieve success in managing $275 Billion in grants cumulatively across ten subsidiaries: Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Forest Service (FS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO).
By 2022, and in using these programs and technology implemented by Genesis Consulting, the USDA’s managed grants are expected to grow to over $200 Billion annually across 35 different agencies, 700 programs and 8,000+ users.