New program built by Accenture Federal Services
By Rob Starr,Big4.com Content Manager
Grants programs aiding American agribusiness , driving research benefiting U.S. farmers and helping Americans gain access to nutrition programs are now fully automated. The Grantor Management program furthers the capabilities of the Financial Management Modernization Initiative (FMMI) and works with a spectrum of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandates. Elaine Beeman, Managing Director, Accenture Federal Services, answered some questions about the new system built by Accenture Federal Services that is expected to save $200 million in financial operations and maintenance costs over a 10-year period for the USDA.
What’s the relationship between Accenture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)?
Accenture’s relationship with the Department of Agriculture began in 2001 and today focuses on the Financial Management Modernization Initiative (FMMI), a 10-year project to modernize and consolidate the agency’s core financial systems and processes.
Accenture is the infrastructure architect of FMMI which has been expanded to handle all grants across a dozen USDA agencies. Accenture also provides operations and maintenance support to the system. The FMMI Grantor Management system is an extension of an Accenture contract win in 2007. At that time, the USDA awarded Accenture a $102.6 million contract to replace its core financial-management system to provide general accounting, funds management and financial reports. The contract included program management, transition and migration support, application and integration services.
What’s the quick history of the Grantor Management system and how does it fit into efforts like the Financial Management Modernization Initiative (FMMI)?
The USDA embarked on a journey with Accenture to provide a Grants Management System for the Department in 2011 as part of FMMI. FMMI consolidated the agency’s core financial systems
and processes, replacing 17 individual financial systems with one, cohesive, software package while increasing efficiency and improving customer service across a spectrum of USDA mandates. The Grantor Management program builds on this successful framework, fully supporting the end-to-end grants lifecycle from application, through award, monitoring and closeout. The program reduces manual data entry, automates the review and approval processes, and helps confirm that all grants and financial documents meet regulatory and compliance requirements.
What need is the Grantor Management system serving?
The Grantor Management system provides an enterprise platform for USDA agencies to solicit, award and manage various types of grants (i.e. conservation, entitlement) in a centralized, modernized system. The system reduces manual data entry, automates the review and approval processes, and helps confirm that all grants and financial documents meet regulatory and compliance requirements. The Grantor Management System already supports the Foreign Agriculture Service, the Food and Nutrition Service and the Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS).
What does it do?
The Grantor System includes functionality for grants application submission, agreement creation, agreement modification, activity report submission, claims and closeout. It uses a private cloud to automate more than $80 billion in grants and funds. Other features and benefits to USDA include consolidating the agency’s core financial systems and processes and replacing 17 individual financial systems with one, cohesive software package. The system also provide real-time capability and access for more than 6,000 users across the department’s 29 agencies and staff offices. It will save an estimated $18 million by using a less expensive but effective commercial off-the-shelf system, eliminating or consolidating legacy systems.
What are the benefits over the older system?
While the older systems were managed by each agency, the Grantor Management System is available department-wide and provides automated financial Integration with USDA’s FMMI. Not only does the Grantor Management System provide consistent and more efficient financial procedures but there is enforced compliance, traceable workflow and automated progress reporting. The FMMI is expected to save $200 million in financial operations and maintenance costs over a 10-year period.
What’s on the horizon?
Grantor Management System will be deployed to additional USDA agencies as well as integrated with Grants.gov, an enhanced application review process and interagency agreements. Today, the system supports USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the program that distributes Food Nutrition Program funding and Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS). One more program – the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – came online in the fall.