Image of financial report, calculator and pencil

Your current federal Part C grants are winding down for the year. By September 29 you will have encumbered any remaining funds, or they will be absorbed back into the U.S. Treasury. (You won’t see them disappear from your account right away, but you can’t use them.) Some of you have spent less than usual of your Part C federal dollars because some staff have not been working or have transferred to CARES Act funded work, vacant positions have taken longer to fill, travel is reduced, utilities in the office have been reduced, etc. If you haven’t already, you need to figure out NOW what funds are unencumbered, and if you have a need for items that will support the purposes of the grant, you should purchase them now. A few caveats:

  • You cannot save or carry over Part C dollars except to pay for expenses encumbered during the current year.
  • You cannot use these funds to pay down your debt.
  • Any expense of $5,000 or more for equipment or building improvement requires prior approval from your Program Officer at ACL.
  • Your financial statements are kept on an accrual basis. This means you cannot pre-pay expenses but must charge them when they are utilized. They will be accrued to when the funds are used.
  • You can encumber funds during the current fiscal year and pay them from this year’s funds even if the bill doesn’t come until after September 29, the last day on your grant.
  • If items are backordered but you charged them during this fiscal year, the expense is typically allowable even though the item doesn’t arrive until next fiscal year. (Does anyone else feel like backorders are much more common than they used to be?)
Closing in on year-end — what you should do now

2 thoughts on “Closing in on year-end — what you should do now

  • September 17, 2020 at 7:37 am

    What is the best paper trail to prove “encumbrances”?

    • September 17, 2020 at 8:17 am

      You can use purchase dates on the invoice or credit card bill, or the email confirmation of the order as a paper trail. You can include notes explaining when the costs were encumbered, if you don’t have those options.


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