In order to help fire and EMS departments account for reimbursement costs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released an Audit-Related Guidance for Entities Receiving FEMA Public Assistance Funds.
This four-page guidance is designed to provide recipients and sub-recipients of COVID-19 assistance through FEMA’s Public Assistance program with an audit-related guidance on documenting and accounting for disaster costs; maximizing financial recovery; and preventing waste, fraud, and abuse.
The guidance contains audit tips; procurement and contracting tips; and how to report waste, fraud, or abuse. It also discusses the importance of protecting personally identifiable information.
Among the tips:
- Designate a person to coordinate the accumulation of records including receipts, invoices, etc.
- Establish a separate and distinct account for recording revenue and expenditures and a separate identifier for each distinct FEMA project.
- Ensure that final expenditures for each project are supported by the dollar amounts included in your accounting system.
- Ensure that each expenditure is recorded and referenced to supporting documentation like checks and invoices that can be easily accessed.
- Ensure that materials taken from any pre-existing state, local, tribal, and territorial inventories for use under FEMA projects are documented by inventory withdrawal and usage records.
- FEMA will not provide duplicate reimbursement for expenses covered by insurance or other federal agencies.
Fire and EMS chiefs are encouraged to review this document to help them maximize their cost recovery through the FEMA Public Assistance program while meeting all the reporting requirements.
Ken LaSala is the IAFC’s Director of Government Relations & Policy.