Not Exactly a Mission Statement

My goal is to help your organization to thrive and deliver maximum benefit to the world. My focus is on regulatory compliance and related financial issues.

Compliance and finances can often seem unrelated to program outcomes. In fact, complying with funders' rules can sometimes seem counterproductive to achieving program goals. Compliance measures can impede program implementation, such as the delays associated with obtaining approvals and waivers, or restrictions on procurement of goods and services that are so often associated with grants from USAID and other federal agencies. It's really no wonder that project managers might harbor feelings of hostility toward the rules and regulations that impose (sometimes bewildering) restrictions on project implementation.

But the ''other side of the coin'' (an apt metaphor) is the fact that no project can be accomplished without money: money that comes from the funder; money that comes with certain conditions. And nearly all federal grants (and most grants from large private foundations as well) are provided as reimbursement of actual, allowable costs incurred.

It's this single fact — the cost-reimbursable nature of so much grant funding — that drives the NGO's need to adopt sophisticated cost accounting tools and practices and to implement (sometimes complex) policies to assure compliance with funders' conditions for reimbursement of costs. NGOs must demonstrate that their costs have been incurred according to the rules, simply in order to obtain reimbursement for those costs.

So along with delivering benefit in the world, cost recovery becomes a primary area of focus for every organization that spends grant funds.

And it is in helping to optimize the efficiency of cost recovery that Finance and Grants & Contracts staff offer vital ''added value'' to the organization. Policies, guidance and practices need to be focused on assuring efficient compliance with funder requirements.

The ultimate goal is to maximize the recovery of total operating costs from project funding. And this translates into two fundamental principles:

  1. avoid unallowable costs, and
  2. manage indirect costs to minimize deviations from budgetary rates of allocation.

My aim is to help you to achieve this in your organization.

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