Audits are necessary and anticipated steps when your jurisdiction accepts federal money for disaster recovery work. In fact, if you receive more than $750,000 federal dollars in a fiscal year, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) mandates that you undergo a single audit for compliance as a condition of accepting those funds.
From Hagerty’s perspective, we see an audit as a chance to help our clients explain the strategy and rationale of their work to the decision makers, such as federal agencies and grantors. Throughout the disaster management life cycle, we are extremely detail-oriented and are rigorous about proper documentation to ensure our clients are audit-ready. We work in partnership with our clients to validate and review all work products numerous times before any paperwork is submitted to a federal agency for official review.
As we initiate work with a client, we conduct an analysis of the grant development processes, sign offs, and the client’s internal policies dictating individuals’ authorities to approve application and monitoring of federal and state grant awards. This is done to ensure that not only the financial information presented within the grant is sound, but that the process in which grants are developed have the necessary checks and appropriate sign offs that auditors look for in a process audit. We are subject matter experts in the federal rules and regulations that pertain to many federal programs and do everything in our power to maximize our clients’ benefits from federal programs while minimizing risk of negative audit findings.
At the same time, we try to help our clients avoid the appeals and arbitration process. When a client is submitting documentation to receive funding from a federal program, it is critical for the forms to be completed correctly and documentation to be provided in the requested format. Not following the rules could cause the request to be denied. Additionally, federal entities may misunderstand information presented and make a negative determination where it is unwarranted. If this happens, there are a few options available to clients:
- Meet with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), or representatives from other federal agencies to try and work out a resolution.
- Appeal the decision by using the administrative appeals process.
- Arbitrate the decision before an independent review board.
Our professionals seek to work through any issues that may arise before any paperwork is submitted to avoid delays in your long-term recovery process. From the outset, we develop a strategy that identifies the funding sources most likely to help a particular client or project, review what will be necessary in the way of documentation, and suggest alternative solutions to anticipated challenges.
Clients may rest assured that Hagerty will work at their side if a claim is appealed or goes to arbitration. Hagerty can develop the written appeal or arbitration argument to be presented to the federal and state partner within the required deadlines. We stay with you every step of the way making sure all timelines are met and requests for information are answered. Read about one of our many successes here.