Grant Cycle Services Administrator

Supporting Grant Administrators and Funders

At BDO, we're committed to supporting grant administrators and funders with a suite of services designed to enhance the impact and efficiency of their programs. We're all about supporting donors and administrators to focus on what matters—making a difference.
We understand that managing grants can be complex. Our team is brimming with savvy advisors who can help you align your grant-making activities with your strategic goals. We're here to offer you the wisdom and foresight you need to ensure that your grants have the maximum effect.
Keeping track of funds is crucial. We offer robust financial management services to help you monitor your grants, ensuring that every penny is accounted for and spent wisely. BDO can support you with your grant audit, assurance and monitoring needs, helping you ensure that your financial reporting is accurate.
You want to know that your grants are making a splash. We can help you measure the impact of your funding, providing you with the insights you need to report back to stakeholders and make informed decisions about future grant allocations.
At BDO, we're passionate about helping you help others. We're ready to roll up our sleeves and work alongside you to ensure that your grants and donations are managed with the utmost care and professionalism. Let's make a difference, together.

Please click on the steps of the grant cycle that you are interested in below to see how BDO can support you.
  • Establish goals

The grant administrator needs to establish the overall objectives of the grant. This includes measurable goals that can be monitored and assessed in an ex post socioeconomic study. The grant administrator should also consider other existing grants with the same potential beneficiaries, including relevant legislation and regulation.

  • Perform an impact assessment

An ex ante socioeconomic study explores the purpose and potential impact of grants. This includes impact for society, stakeholders and the impact for potential beneficiaries. Socioeconomic impact studies provide the foundation for ensuring the best return on the use for the grants.

  • Establish the crtieria for allocation 

The grant administrator needs to design the scheme to ensure that it is effective in achieving its overall purpose, e.g. by developing rules, regulations and criteria for selection. The grant administrator needs to establish transparent, measurable and fair criteria that support effective allocation of grants. 

  • Consider the sustainability and social impact

The grant administrator should consider how the grant may act as an incentive to reduce environmental impact and contribute positively to local communities. This can enhance the administrator’s reputation.


How BDO can help

  • Strategy and planning

Our team works closely with you to identify the overall purpose of the grant in accordance with existing policies and guidelines, and to review the legislative and regulatory framework which exists or needs to be established. Our team includes experts from various service lines such as consulting, tax, assurance services, digitalisation and risk advisory services. This helps ensure that you are informed about new opportunities, regulatory changes, and other changes which may affect the grants.

  • Impact assessment

We assist you in analysing the potential impact of the grant. This includes the impact for society, for stakeholders and potential beneficiaries of the grant. 

  • Ongoing support

We provide continuous support during the development of your grant. 

Grant administrators want to feel confident that they have established relevant criteria and associated processes for the application and distribution of funding. This helps to ensure that they award funding to competent and capable organisations, or provide necessary support and guard rails where needed. This in turn supports optimal use of funds to best support the related public interest.

  • Grant management system

In order to allocate and manage the funds accurately and easily, the grant administrator needs reliable processes and IT systems. These must be flexible enough to take into account the specific regulations and procedures relevant to each grant.

  • Formal grant agreement

Development and execution of an official funding agreement between the grant administrator and beneficiary. It’s key to ensure agreements are in place to establish the relevant terms and conditions of the funding and any necessary monitoring procedures or other administrative elements necessary (e.g., audit and termination rights). Appropriate agreements enable the beneficiary to clearly understand expectations and eligible uses of the grant and the grant administrator to provide effective oversight of the funds distributed.

  • Information and communication

To attract the right applicants and ensure transparency in the allocation of the funds, it is necessary to develop an appropriate information strategy. The communication process should be planned and monitored.

  • Application process

The application process and related documents need to be properly designed and managed. This includes developing the technical systems and processes for: application publication, download, and submission, as well as Q&A with candidates.

  • Selection process

This includes establishing the processes and documentation to review the applications, producing evaluation reports to justify the allocation decisions, organising the evaluation sessions and communication of award decisions.


How BDO can help

  • Strategy and planning

Development of eligibility criteria for applications: Our team works closely with you to understand the purpose and intended use of funding programmes, identify relevant characteristics of beneficiaries, and create the questions and other details to be collected to enable appropriate and consistent evaluation of applicants.

  • Application

Application process(es) design: Developing and building tools, templates, and related process to solicit and receive applications for funding. This includes developing the technical systems and processes. Application evaluation: Establishing the processes to review applications and consider both the merit of the scope of work and related impact, and the capabilities of the applicant organisation.

  • Ongoing support

Interaction with applicants (including protests and disputes): Our team can provide customer support and a direct interface with applicants – for example to resolve questions on how to use the systems or templates, or clarify eligibility requirements and programmatic considerations. Unsuccessful applicants may want additional information on why their application was not selected.

‘Grant administrators’ reasons for engaging an external audit firm to support them with financial control and assurance services over their grant programme spending can be broad. Reasons can include:

  • Compliance
    • Regulatory compliance – e.g. Annual Statements of Assurance - contributes to positive opinion among the public and stakeholders.
  • Internal control
    • Supports internal financial control.
    • The grant administrator will often outsource audits as part of a donor’s annual audit plan.
  • Governance
    • Enforces the importance of robust financial governance to beneficiaries.
    • Encourages development of capacity and skills in financial management.
  • Planning
    • Identifies recommendations and improvements for future activities/programmes.
    • Contributes to the grant administrator’s future planning.
  • Ad-hoc support
    • Targeted and ad-hoc actions – the grant administrator may require support in a particular area or in investigating particular transactions.


How BDO can help

  • Financial audits and verifications
    • Verify existence of costs, including whether these are adequately supported, incurred in the correct period, and correctly included in accounting records;
    • Verify organisations’ controls over expenditure;
    • Verify that costs are project costs, and are foreseen in the agreed project budget;
    • Verify eligibility of expenditure with reference to contractual or programme eligibility criteria;
    • Verify existence and completeness of income, identify potential double-funding.
  • Compliance with programme or other requirements
    • We can support the grant administrator in verifying that other additional programmatic criteria have been met, such as:
      • Compliance with target group criteria (i.e. funding should benefit a specific target group as defined by the programme rules);
    • Compliance with national or supra-national requirements that are part of the eligibility framework:
      • Compliance with EU and national public procurement regulations;
      • Compliance with EU State Aid regulations;
      • Compliance with US Federal, State and local regulations.
  • Focussed assignments
    • We can support the grant administrator with specific focused terms of reference, such as:
      • Fraud/forensic investigations;
      • IT control audits;
      • Performance audits;
      • Internal control reviews.

Demonstrating that public money has been ‘well spent’ is never easy. Grant administrators want to know not just whether their funds have been spent in line with the rules, but what concrete benefits they have helped to achieve. In essence, they want answers to the following types of questions.

  • Effectiveness and efficiency

Has the project or programme achieved its objectives? Is the performance proportionate to its cost?

  • Cost efficiency

Has the project or programme paid the best possible prices for staff, goods and services?

  • Impact of results

What will be the longer-term results and impacts of the project and programme?

And will these be sustainable once the project or programme is over?

  • ESG impact

What is the project or programme ’s overall environmental and social impact?

Are there indicators to measure it?

  • Value for money

Overall, has the project or programme achieved value for money (VFM)?

And how can we maximise VFM going forward?

How BDO can help

  • ‘Real-time’ VFM consultancy and monitoring
    • Carried out while the project is still in progress.
    • Assesses performance / VFM to date, whilst also looking forward to remainder of the project.
    • Provides maximum opportunity for optimising VFM whilst the project is still ‘live’.
    • Conclusion on economy, efficiency and effectiveness of activities to date. 
    • Assessment of progress and likelihood of success.
    • Analysis of risks and barriers to implementation.
    • Evidence-based recommendations for remedial actionto improve performance and eventual outcomes.
  • VFM/performance audit
    • Assesses if a project has achieved VFM, using bespoke specialised techniques including:
      • Cost-effectiveness vs cost-quality analysis.
      • Benchmarking against best practice.
      • Comparisons with ‘counter-factuals’ where projects were carried out differently, or the resources used in other ways.
    • Conclusion on the economy, efficiency andeffectiveness with which resources have been used.
    • Assessment of whether objectives have been met, and the quality of the resultant outputs.
    • Evidence-based recommendations on lessons learned and possible improvements to future projects.
  • Ex post evaluation
    • Assesses the success of a project or programme acrossa wider range of criteria, including:
      • Its efficiency and effectiveness.
      • Its ‘fit’ to the context and users’ needs
      • Its wider benefits and impacts
      • Long-term sustainability of its results
    • Assessment of all aspects of the grant-funded activity, from design through to implementation and follow-up.
    • Assessment of whether objectives have been met, and the quality and impact of the resultant outputs.
    • Evidence-based recommendations on lessons learned and possible improvements to future projects.


For more information on being a Grant Beneficiary and details on how BDO can support you, read our Grant Cycle services brochure below: