By introducing new account creation requirements, immutable submission, eliminating draft submissions, and modifying the certification process, the FAC ensures that single audit reports are more accurate, secure, and accessible.
Many local education agencies (LEAs) will be completing their year-end financial audits in the next couple of months. The audit process is labor-intensive for districts as management gathers supporting documentation and provides auditors with answers to what seem like never-ending questions. Once board presentations are scheduled and completed, district personnel begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While the Texas Education Agency (TEA) annual financial report submission through TEAL seems like it’s the final step and celebrations begin, the audit process is not over yet—unfortunately.
There is final component to the audit process for those Districts that receive and spend $750,000 in federal awards and are subject the Office of Management and Budget Single Audit. At the completion of the financial statement and Single Audit process, the entire audit package (financial statement and single audit reports) must be submitted to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) by populating the Data Collection Form (DCF). The submission process has changed for fiscal year 2023 and we aim to summarize the changes to ease the submission process. Remember that your LEA’s DCF is due within 30 days of the audit report release date. TEA will use the date of the board meeting to determine compliance with this due date.
The Background: Single Audit and Reporting
The FAC has facilitated transparency and accountability in the United States for federal awards. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring that federal grants and assistance programs are effectively audited and monitored. Recently, the FAC has updated the DCF submission process, effective October 1, 2023. Per the FAC website, “The FAC transitioned from the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on October 2, 2023. All submissions will need to be made through the new FAC hosted by GSA at https://www.fac.gov/welcome/ including all single audits for entities with 2023 year end dates.
The FAC's Background and Role
The FAC serves as the central repository for single audit submissions. Its mission is to collect, audit, and report on the use of federal funds across various programs. This process allows the public, government agencies, and auditors to access and scrutinize the financial data of federally funded projects.
Updates and Changes
The FAC recent updates to the submission process have been driven by a desire to improve efficiency, accuracy, and accessibility. Here are some key changes:
1. Account Setup: A New Beginning
One of the fundamental shifts in the submission process is the requirement for all users, including clients, to create new accounts on the revamped FAC website. This marks a fresh start, as accounts from the previous system are not transferred. Users are directed to a "Create an account | Login.gov" link to initiate their accounts. This change should assist in ensuring the security and accuracy of user data. Districts will also have to use a Unique Entity ID (UEI) for their single audits.
2. Unchangeable Report Areas
The FAC’s has provided a checklist to assist with the submission process. It’s important to be as accurate as possible because once the submission is certified in the new FAC platform, users will not be able to change the document. Any changes to user access, roles, email addresses, or other user information cannot be made within the same submission. In the case where modifications are required, a new submission file must be created.
This adjustment streamlines the reporting process and promotes accuracy in user information, avoiding any unintended errors in existing submissions.
Prior to finalizing your submissions, make sure that you save all of your information to your local drive because the system will not maintain versions of the form for you. To be extra cautious use the checklist tool as you populate the form to avoid errors.
4. Transition of Old Reports
What about prior year single audit reports? Reports submitted through the old FAC website will remain accessible on that platform only until the end of 2023. After this date, these reports will be archived on the General Services Administration (GSA) FAC website. While this change might require a shift in how historical data is accessed, it ensures that old and new reports are effectively organized.
5. Certification Process Modification
Perhaps the most significant change involves the certification process. In the past, Auditee Certifying Officials often certified the FAC before the Auditor Certifying Official. However, the updated process requires the Auditor Certifying Official to certify first. Auditee Certifying Officials, responsible for the content of the single audit, must certify last before submission. This change reinforces the auditing process's integrity, with auditors responsible for certifying that the audit is in compliance with federal regulations.
Remember for single audit (pdfs) uploads, no personally identified information (PII) should be reported, the pdfs should not have password, be encrypted and be text searchable.
The recent updates and changes to the single audit reporting process within the FAC are geared towards streamlining and enhancing the efficiency, accuracy, and accountability of the system. By introducing new account creation requirements, immutable submission, eliminating draft submissions, and modifying the certification process, the FAC ensures that single audit reports are more accurate, secure, and accessible.