Grant reporting - receipts, receipts, receipts!
The single best piece of advice that I can give you on grant reporting is "receipts, receipts, receipts!"
I insist on one stickler practice when working with clients is showing all receipts with grant funds spent.
The only way to show where the funding went is with the original receipts. Ideally, the person making the purchase should sign this, and you should also keep any packing slips associated with showing proof of receipt of the item or service. Signatures and dates on receipts are good to show the paper trail and who made the purchases.
List of best practices for making purchases with grant funds:
Verify the purchase aligns with the grant award budget items.
Make sure the purchase was authorized by the person(s) authorized to sign the grant.
Remind all staff involved to keep all receipts, packing slips and to sign their name and date on them
Periodically check receipts against the organization's fiscal tracking system. It is easy to do this as receipts come in rather than waiting for quarterly or interim reporting. In addition, this is much easier to discover possible typos in data entry.
Maintain a financial summary record that you can access at all times to know on any given day what the remaining balance is in this particular grant.
Communication! All team members involved need to communicate. Please effectively make sure all items/services are purchased and that no duplicates are created! Please go over the grant deliverables with all staff at its initial award.
Don't wait until the last minute of reporting to realize that you forgot to purchase something on the grant deliverables list.
Never make purchases that are not on the grant deliverables without first contacting the grant source.
Keep photo records of items purchased or services delivered. Not only are these good to share with funders and possibly in media releases, but this also shows in pictures proof of receipt of the item.
If in doubt of how to handle a discrepancy, always contact the funder for advice. Make no assumptions.