Key Actions by:

Standard 8: Timely and comprehensive project financial set-up.

Set up a project financial management system based on updated activity plans that supports a quick start-up and effective financial management throughout the project.

Enter the budget into the financial system in a way that facilitates analysis and reporting.

  • Why

    Comparing project spending to budgeted amounts and making decisions accordingly is fundamental to good project management. For externally funded projects, producing accurate financial reports that meet donor expectations and requirements is similarly critical. This is only possible when staff enter the budget in the CRS financial system with the proper:

    • Distribution of anticipated expenses across the fiscal year to facilitate routine analysis; and
    • Coding of budget line items to review and track information per donor requirements.
  • When
    • Immediately after signing the agreement or receiving a pre-award letter, with updated budgets entered at the beginning of each subsequent fiscal year.

    Note: Expenses cannot be charged against a donor budget until the budget is entered in the CRS financial system. 

    Prepare the Budget Template Form (BTF) after updating the budget, whenever possible: Although there is urgency to complete the budget entry process, the budget should be entered in the financial system only after it is updated to reflect any changes in the operating context (e.g., exchange rate fluctuations, security issues that affect project activities and costs) and any initial adjustments needed to activity plans or schedules (see Standard 8, key action 3). Be sure to secure any necessary donor approvals for budget revisions prior to entering them in the financial systems.

  • How

    Follow the steps below to ensure accurate entry of the new project budget in the financial system:

    1. The BM meets with finance staff for guidance on any special budget coding considerations to ensure CRS can meet project-specific financial requirements. It’s especially important for the BM to reach out to finance early on if he/she is not experienced in this process. For tracking in-kind contributions, including in-kind components of any CRS cost share, the BM and finance may need to develop a plan to collect data on these contributions (see "Monitoring Cost Share" in the Planning and Managing Cost Share policy).
    2. After conferring with finance, the BM follows the process outlined in the Steps for Converting Donor Budgets to CRS Financial System Budgets guidance to translate the donor-approved budget into the CRS BTF, which is needed to enter the budget into the CRS financial system.

    TIP for externally funded projects: If the donor requirements are particularly complex, consider involving the RFO or HQ experts in budget set-up, and/or consider joint BM-finance development of the BTF.

    1. The PM/CoP updates the Gateway records associated with the new project, to facilitate the processing of the New Donor Source Project Number (DSPN) Form (step 7). See Setting up a New Award, DSPN, and Project in Gateway. Specifically, the PM/CoP:
    • Confirms that the “status” field in the Gateway Opportunity record associated with the project has been updated to “Approved.”
    • Enters the required information in the Gateway Project record, DSPN record, and (for grants) the Award record. These records are automatically generated when the Opportunity record status is changed to “Approved.”
    • For grants, attaches the Agreement Review Summary and the fully-executed Agreement.
    1. The HoP reviews the BTF and supports the BM as needed to draft the Budget Maintenance Approval Form (BMF). The HoP shares the BTF/BMF package (along with the approved budget, for grants) with the FM.
    2. The FM (or delegate) reviews the BTF/BMF package and provides feedback to the BM, copying the HoP and HoOps.
    3. The FM updates the Budget Reconciliation Form (BRF) and shares the BTF/BMF/BRF package with the country representative, for onward submission to the region for review and approval.
    4. Upon regional approval, the FM:
    1. The FM posts the approved BTF in the CRS financial system, after securing all necessary approvals. The FM also posts the cash grants and cost share budget per PRO-FIN-BUD-004.02 (Grant and Cost Share Budget Input into SunSystems).

    Update the budget for re-entry each fiscal year: CRS first enters budgets in the financial system upon signing agreements for externally funded projects, or following internal project approval for discretionary funded projects. However, at the start of each fiscal year, all project budgets must be re-entered into the system. If the BM does not proactively provide finance with an updated project budget—in a format that can be entered in the financial system—an outdated version of the budget (from the APP) will prevail in the system. This outdated information will lead to inaccurate budget information, and will complicate financial analysis and reporting.

  • Partnership
    • The BM follows the same process for converting the amounts for partners included in the proposal budget, using the account codes in the Steps for Converting Donor Budgets to CRS Financial System Budgets specific to sub-recipients.
    • This budget conversion exercise is an internal procedure required solely for CRS financial management. Partners typically have their own accounting systems and their participation in this exercise is not required. However, for interested partners, this process may be an opportunity for capacity strengthening on coding and forecasting.  
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process when CRS is a sub-recipient.
  • Emergency projects