6.6 Regular budget compliance reports in donor format
The key to ensuring budget compliance is to implement activities and process accounting transactions in line with the terms and conditions in the contract. In those instances where donors require expenditure reporting in a non-CARE format, it is necessary to adjust accounting practices to accommodate these requirements in the daily routine, so as to avoid addressing these at a later stage. The main changes in the accounting practices are:
- Cash disbursements procedures require that donor line items are included in the account code string for each transaction at the time that the transaction voucher is prepared, and before it is authorised and approved.
- Approvers must verify/certify that these accounting entries are consistent with contract line items to achieve programme objectives.
- To ensure that complete sets of records are available, it is required that the Transaction Ledgers, which are maintained at emergency operation sites, are to be uploaded into Sun/Scala/Serenic once a week.
- If the CO does not have the required reporting systems in place to allow the preparation of donor reporting in the donor format, it is recommended that the Grants and Contracts Unit be assigned additional staff and resources to keep up with reporting needs.
Furthermore, because the overall financial position of an emergency programme can change very quickly, the following are the required tasks to be carried out or coordinated by the CO Finance Department to ensure regular donor reporting:
- Update the Funding Portfolio Matrix and inform the CO Leadership Team of changes that affect existing Cash Budgets.
- Prepare/review/update Cash Budgets for review by the CO Leadership Team.
- Upload transactions into Scala/Sun/Serenic at least once a week to ensure that the record sets used for reporting are accurate and conform to the donor line item structure.
- Upload budget type 2 (Life of Grant Budget) to the Scala/Sun/Serenic budget module, and reconcile uploaded figures to ensure that budgeted amounts are consistent with contract amounts and any subsequent amendments
- Review transaction codes at least once a week. Ensure that donor codes are used where necessary and identify transactions that fail to meet donor reporting criteria. Investigate the reasons for the exceptions, and inform the Finance Manager as to the cause of and solution for the issues.
- Coordinate grants close-out procedures by maintaining close coordination with the Team Leader and project staff, and ensure that all financial close-out activities are also considered. Request and ensure that the activation/deactivation of fund codes has been carried out at all sites (main office and sub-offices) so that project expenditure is also discontinued. Communicate all contract close-out steps and activities in writing.
- Coordinate the preparation of CARE-to-donor coding sheets and instructions, and provide the required documentation to field-based finance staff at the same time as the start-up of project activities.
- Provide ad hoc training and support to field staff when they are having problems using donor coding sheets.
- Participate in new proposal writing efforts by providing guidance, tools and cost information to speed up budget preparation and mapping to the required donor format. Identify and document all funding deficits/excesses, and present these to the Finance Manager to be resolved at the CO Leadership Team level.