How GovGrants Addresses Grants Management and Treasury Reporting Challenges for Government Entities
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has played a vital role in supporting state, territorial, local, and tribal governments by providing them with federal funds to effectively respond to and recover from the crisis. These funds are provided through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, and help governments respond to the immediate needs of their communities and aid in long-term recovery and resilience.
However, with ARPA funding also comes the need for extensive reporting and compliance. Government agencies that receive these funds face arduous reporting requirements, including the Interim Report, the Project and Expenditure Report, and the Recovery Plan Performance Report.
These obligations can be overwhelming, placing additional strains on already busy agencies.
Adding to the complexity, different government departments have their own ways of tracking and managing data. This diversity makes it challenging to compile and submit the information to the Treasury Department in a simple, consumable format.
Lastly, agencies must also monitor ARPA-related costs, evaluate and choose which projects to fund, track ARPA funds and performance indicators, and maintain the ARPA program once the grant has expired.
Amid these challenges, Jeff Kumah, REI Systems’ project manager for GovGrants, highlights two critical aspects that require immediate attention: streamlining the data tracking process and efficiently compiling it.
Reflecting on the broader federal landscape, Kumah said a single grant program often involves multiple departments, each responsible for different aspects of the initiative. This collaborative effort emphasizes the importance of having a standardized method for tracking data across all these departments, Kumah explained.
“Some departments may be using a spreadsheet, some might use a database, some may use another form or a way to track the data,” he said. “Then it’s bringing all of that information back together, and someone having to sift through all of that information manually and then bring it together to tell the story.”
The GovGrants Solution
Fortunately for these government agencies, there are tools to help address these challenges.
REI’s GovGrants is a cloud-based grant management solution that streamlines and organizes ARPA grants and the associated reporting requirements. It offers state, territorial, local, and tribal governments a comprehensive, automated, and task-driven system to modernize the entire grants process, starting from the moment grants are issued.
GovGrants can be customized to fit agencies’ practices and existing processes. It can be fully integrated into financial Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, business analytics tools, and other external systems like SAM.gov and Grants.gov. The integration capabilities enable agencies to view data, leads, and other crucial information on customizable dashboards, both internally and externally.
Furthermore, GovGrants offers built-in security measures as a cloud-based solution, eliminating concerns about firewalls or servers. Its seamless integration with existing programs and practices within agencies ensures a smooth and efficient setup for immediate use.
Standardize Business Processes
GovGrants allows ARPA recipients to centralize all data and analytics related to the grant initiatives, even when departments within the same agencies have different processes. The program automates workflows, generates notifications and reminders, and provides ease of grant compliance and oversight.
“What GovGrants allows agencies to do is keep everything in one central location,” Kumah said. “Any high-level executive — at any given point in time — can see any of the data, so it provides transparency and the ability to standardize business processes across departments.”
Additionally, GovGrants makes it easier to collect a specific metric across all departments within an agency.
“We can standardize that metric so all departments are collecting it the same way,” Kumah said. “There’s no deviation, and that really helps with the reporting. That’s the biggest benefit.”
Grants can easily be managed at the agency level as a grant giver. Agencies can effortlessly apply for federal funding. Individuals within a local community can then apply for funding from the grant recipients using a portal for external users.
Customer Success Stories
GovGrants customers have seen various benefits from standardized grants management, saving them time and costs. By providing a secure portal, GovGrants has streamlined processes such as fund applications, contract signing, and payment automation.
For instance, one customer struggled with closing out payments that tied up its payroll department for days. However, REI stepped in and automated the payroll system with GovGrants, freeing up almost a dozen employees to focus on more important priorities.
Another customer, who previously managed $4.5 billion in grants through 40 spreadsheets, grappled with errors, payment issues, and compliance. After implementing GovGrants, the agency automated its entire grant lifecycle, leading to an 80% reduction in payment processing time and a 35%+ increase in staff and recipient productivity.
In addition, another agency customer used GovGrants to streamline its process for receiving and reviewing applications. The solution helped accelerate decision-making and disbursement of relief funds. Previously, application reviews took up to one or two months, but with GovGrants, decisions are now made within one to two weeks.
The same customer also had difficulties with the award execution process, involving printing contracts, mailing issues, and lengthy delays acquiring signatures. All in all, this process could take months. Now, it can be completed in just two days, cutting delays and improving efficiency.
“It’s like plug and play — we can pick up on their business very quickly because we’ve experienced it so many different times,” Kumah said. “We know exactly the suggestions to make, we know exactly the questions they ask, even if they ask them in a different way.”
GovGrants reduces the risk of user error because it centralizes data, tracks data accurately, and automates reporting and analytics.
“The data is collected, calculated, aggregated, and displayed into structured reports,” Kumah said.
GovGrants ARPA Dashboard Example
GovGrants simplifies the process of Interim Reports, the Project and Expenditure Report, and the Recovery Plan Performance funds reporting to the Treasury Department. The system provides a clear set of metrics to collect, which it compiles into a structured format, enabling agencies to submit their reports with ease. Additionally, GovGrants offers a dedicated tool for generating required documentation.
“Providing real-time analytics is a big advantage,” Kumah said. “The data is in a centralized location, and agencies can report or view this data at the click of a button. It brings an enterprise solution to support all departments, rather than having departments work with different systems in silos, then figuring out a way to bring all the data together.”
GovGrants provides an all-in-one system to improve business processes and reporting challenges state, territorial, local, and tribal governments face with ARPA grant management. REI supports agencies with individualized assistance to meet their goals and improve their approach to grant management, data collecting, analytics, and more.
GovGrants is easy to implement and can fully integrate into systems, programs, and external services agencies already use to provide real-time information and solutions.
ARPA reporting can be challenging for agencies, but they don’t have to feel helpless. Solutions like GovGrants can effectively address some of the pain points associated with reporting.
Moreover, with the expertise and support of a team like REI, agencies can embark on the ARPA reporting process with confidence. It’s not just the software REI brings to the table; it’s the deep expertise and subject matter knowledge of its team members. Kumah, for example, serves as more than just a project manager — he is a subject matter expert in grants management and software implementation.
“I have invested interest in the success of not only when it comes to the successful implementation of the software, but also the success of the business using software,” he said.
Learn more about how GovGrants can streamline your grants management process. Request a demo today.