Use It or Lose It: Fiscal Year-End Spending

FYE 2017 Webinar_Blog Image_300x200The end of the Federal fiscal year is well on its way, and that means funds may be made available to certain programs and activities for obligation before they expire on September 30.

These funds usually flow from things that could not be executed as planned, or from reserves for contingencies that never materialized. How to manage it? Be ready with a prioritized “buy” list AND be legal by following the Bona Fide Needs Rule (BFN)!

Did you catch our complimentary webinar last week on legal and responsible spending practices for the end of a fiscal year? I shared an array of tips and rules every Federal employee should know about how and when to correctly spend appropriated funds, including exceptions to the BFN and flexibilities permitted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). I also overviewed best practices with regards to avoiding or reporting violations of the Antideficiency Act (ADA); many violations come from violations of the rule.

While I highly recommend downloading the webinar for detailed and varied examples of proper year-end spending, here are a few quick tips and takeaways from my presentation:

  • Be sure a legitimate NEED exists during the year when obligating the year’s funding. Therefore, if you actually need it next year, use next year’s funds.
  • If you have a legitimate need for training toward the end of the fiscal year, and cannot get it delivered by year end, taking delivery of it – if your agency agrees – in the first quarter of the upcoming fiscal year meets an acceptable rule of thumb.
  • How to avoid ADA violations? By training and education, AND by implementing sound internal control.
  • Lastly, to stay up to date on the GAO’s latest decisions and reports, I recommend subscribing to GAO’s email list.

I also recommend consulting GAO’s Principles of Federal Appropriations Law – the Red Book – for further guidance on the above issues, or for any other questions that may come up related to year-end spending. Better yet, download our fiscal year-end webinar on everything covered above – and more.

And while our webinar only covers one hour’s worth of rules, regulations, and guidance, our Appropriations law training courses (including a Seminar and a Refresher & Update course) offer much more guidance, information, and skills training. Check out our complete suite of Appropriations Law offerings and sign up for an upcoming class—with virtual, remote, and classroom delivery options.

Feel free to leave comments and questions below.

And be sure to spend responsibly!

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