Compliance for research funding continues to be an emphasis for Federal and Private Sponsors. For Institutions, policies published on a central website can no longer be relied on to protect the Institution and its Research community from potential financial loss. While most Researchers and Administrators are familiar some the Sponsor’s administrative requirements, in general they cannot be expected to track the varied Sponsor rules that are constantly updated, or rely of data entry and procurement clerks, that have little or no knowledge of the source of funds enforce compliance relating to sponsored funding. Now more than ever we should look to technology to solve this challenge and more importantly support each of the persons involved in the business process chain, like Researchers initiating the request, purchasing agents filling orders, grant accountant billing Sponsors and filing the required financial reports. Here are the concepts to consider when safeguarding your Institution.
Leverage Technology Throughput
Today’s software solutions offer compelling solutions that simplify and comply with Sponsor and Institutional administrative requirements. Below are some design considerations:
- Maintain comprehensive Sponsor details and Create systematic rules for each Grant and Contract awarded to the Institution
- Ensure the Sponsor rules are integrated with all financial processes: procurement, budgeting, billing, overhead calculation, close-out and reporting
- Check financial posting at the initial point of entry
- Confirm postings are allowable and reimbursable by Sponsor
- Ensure sufficient funds are available
- Validate the posting date is within the Award’s start, end and close out dates
Free Researchers to deliver Impact
The most valuable resource for every Institution is the “human” resource and the pressure to deliver research outcomes while Institutional resources are shrinking is a daunting challenge. The logical approach requires an integrated and simple approach. Once the research award is accepted by the Institution then the terms and conditions should be maintained in the system then when research projects begin the financial system can perform compliance check throughout the business process. This simple task can have a significant impact in many ways but most importantly frees up Researchers to focus on research outcomes and ultimately increase impact for the Institution, while ensuring compliance risks are eliminated.
How it comes together
To achieve operational excellence, enforce compliance to free Researchers to deliver impact for the Institution, organizations must continue to invest in technology that integrates financial processes with Sponsor administrative rules and requirements. IT solutions provides the platform and customizable solutions to support this effort and result is increase productivity, streamlined, integrated process and lower cost of operations.
Points to consider as you move forward:
- Assess how institutional compliance is enforced today and what is desired.
- Where are Sponsor rules maintained and requirements enforced?
- How can compliance enforcement be simplified and overcome Human error?
- Can resources involved in the compliance process be redeployed?
- Assess the Institution’s business process for audit risk.
- Determine how the Institution’s internal controls be accomplished with technology.
Continue your Institution’s journey for operational excellence and impact your Institution’s ranking among peer Institutions.