Nonprofit Accounting Basics

Getting Financial Reporting Right: A Guide for Federal Award Recipients

Submitting reports on time and accurately is crucial for federal award recipients to maintain a good relationship with the awarding agency and secure ongoing funding. These reports provide essential information on how the funds are being used and the progress made towards the goals outlined in the award agreement. Failure to submit reports in a timely and accurate manner can result in consequences such as delayed payments, withholding of funds, or even termination of the award. Therefore, it is essential for recipients to prioritize timely and accurate submission of reports.

Each award agreement prescribes the required reporting, frequency of reports, and reporting deadlines. These can vary significantly depending on whether your organization is a prime recipient or a subrecipient. The common forms used by prime recipients include (1):

• SF-270, Request for Advance or Reimbursement
• SF-271, Outlay Report and Request for Reimbursement for Construction Programs
• SF-425, Federal Financial Report
• SF-425A, Federal Financial Report Attachment
• SF-428, Tangible Personal Property
• SF-429, Real Property Status Report
• Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)
• SF-LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities -- as revised in 1996
• SF-SAC, Data Collection Form for Single Audits

Complete instructions for each form are available at, Post-Award Reporting Forms. A best practice, find the form you will being using in Excel format to help simplify the data input and reporting process.

In addition to the award defined reporting requirements, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) requires executive compensation and certain information about the subcontracts granted, including the subcontractor’s executive compensation must be publicly disclosed. This reporting generally becomes necessary when more than the lower of $25,000,000 or 80% of the organization’s revenue results from federal funds.(2) Reporting will be completed through the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS).

Reporting may also be required through the Payment Management System (PMS), payment processing center for federal grants, in addition to the forms above when funding is received through PMS.

When completing your donor financial reports (invoices), it is also important to ensure all report preparation backup has been saved to support the calculations and financial information provided on the invoice, specifically identifying the individual transactions which have been billed on the award. Additionally, save supporting documentation, such as the email or mailing receipt that shows when the report was submitted. Timely reporting is verified during audit procedures and having this support on hand and ready may save you a lot of time in the future.

Submitting reports in a timely and accurate manner is a critical aspect of managing federal awards. It is not just a compliance requirement, but it also helps to maintain transparency and accountability with the awarding agency. Due to the potentially high number of reports due for a single award, tracking the reports due, their deadlines, and submission status may lead to increased complexity for your organization’s billing department.  However, by prioritizing timely and accurate reporting, federal award recipients can ensure award compliance and maintain a positive relationship with the awarding agency.

(1) Primary reports as identified by Grants.Gov, Grant Reporting.
(2) The complete list requirements to trigger reporting is defined by the Federal Acquisitions Regulation clause 52.204-10.