Financial Management in Development Cooperation is a challenge for many beneficiaries from public sector and international organisations inside and beyond the European Union’s borders.
The European Union including its Member States is the world’s biggest donor, providing more than half of all development aid worldwide. It can be considered a “generous” donor, ready to allocate huge funds for development cooperation projects, but also a demanding one. In fact, the application procedures and the implementing rules are significantly complex for beginners and experts, which often serve as a discouragement to applying for EU funds.
In order to cooperate with the EU successfully and to benefit from its funds, beneficiaries have to comply with a multitude of accounting regulations. This applies to all projects financed by EU instruments such as Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) as well as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). These instruments demand extensive reporting and a strictly results-based management approach on the side of beneficiaries to comply with all rules and prevent the withdrawal of funding. There are a multitude of administrative regulations to consider and all external audit requirements need to be fulfilled. Already at the proposal phase, Project Managers need to demonstrate how they will implement the external audit guidelines of the European Commission or bilateral donors. However, audit results will not be positive if projects do not carry out their practical administration and documentation properly and do not sufficiently prepare for audits. For this, it is important to know that EuropeAid operates a system of annual audit planning. The main purpose of the planned audits/verifications is to provide assurance on the legality and regularity of the external aid operations financed by EuropeAid. Assurance is essentially related to compliance with the applicable regulations and rules and it can also relate to sound financial management and the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Compliance with criteria for legality and regularity is essential for all external aid operations. These criteria vary with the engagement type and with the documents constituting the legal and regulatory bases for the operations.
EU relevant actors and funding instruments – identify and gain the most suitable funding opportunities for your institution
Extend your expertise by participating in the wide range of events offered by the European Academy for Taxes, Economics & Law in this field.
In order to make your organisation audit-proof and to secure your funding, well selected practitioners and experts will provide you with the necessary knowledge, practical cases and insights on how to fulfil audit requirements and how to best prepare for audits.
Our experts will give you a general overview of EU external cooperation funding instruments such as the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) 2014-2020, the funding instruments for Civil Society Organizations (CSO). You will learn about characteristics, regulations such as geographical and thematic regulations and ways to access EU funding instruments. Among these instruments the following will be treated in detail: the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA), the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), the Civil Society Organization and Local Authorities Thematic Program (CSO-LA), the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Global Public Goods and Challenges Thematic Program (GPC) and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).
You will also be given an overview of the EU’s relevant actors involved in development cooperation (e.g. DG DEVCO, DG NEAR and EU Delegations) and their main multiannual and annual programmes. This will allow you to identify the most suitable funding opportunities according to your organisation’s vision, mission and objectives. You will also learn how to be successful in getting funds from the EU by knowing how the announcements of calls for proposals work as well as how to write and submit good project proposals and plan realistic budgets. Our courses will prepare you for managing EU funded projects by acquiring competences in monitoring, reporting, ensuring cost eligibility, dealing with changes that may arise during the process, keeping records and supporting documents for possible expenditure verifications and ex-post audits. You will be equipped with knowledge and skills to solve all types of issues and challenges you may face in the implementation of EU-funded projects.
The topics covered by our interactive and international events such as seminars, workshops, conferences and congresses include the following: Contractual requirements in EU funded projects regarding audits, defining objectives, scopes and approaches of audits, correct project documentation and record keeping, different types of audits including financial audits and systems audits, follow-ups on the auditors’ findings, new PAGoDA specifications, creating an audit trail within projects, managing physical assets of a project, responding to pre-audit audit questions from the European Commission, differences between external audits and EC audits and ECA audits.
Learn about auditors’ expectations and the most important contractual requirements for documentation and record keeping for EU funded Projects
During our seminars you will learn about auditors’ expectations vis-à-vis project beneficiaries and how to manage and implement projects according to EU regulations. The implementation of audit requirements in projects and how to conduct risk analysis and risk assessments in the pre-audit stage will also be explained and discussed. An emphasis will be placed on common pitfalls for beneficiaries in project management and evaluation, how to implement PRAG Rules and Procedures and how to comply with PAGoDA, the new European Delegation agreements. Concerning these questions, the selection of entities entrusted with the implementation of financial agreements, content of delegation agreements and the template for agreements in indirect management will be explained. It is important to learn how to identify eligible costs for projects financed by EU external cooperation funding in order to carry out correct booking of expenditures. Relevant aspects in this context are eligible and ineligible costs items, staff/personnel cost accounting, allocation of personnel costs to EU budget and reporting, per diems, use of flat rates, budgeting and reporting of travel costs, sub-granting and/or financial support to third parties, indirect costs and contingency. The most important contractual requirements for documentation and records keeping will be considered as well as how to apply requirements of the European Commission and Audit Authorities on accounting, bookkeeping and verification.
Reporting in an accurate manner by understanding the main aspects and ensuring proper accounting by taking multiple perspectives on the financial management of external aid projects are important points which will also be considered. As correct reporting is likewise very important, you will learn about the different kinds of reports such as narrative and financial reports, payment requests, procedures to ask for pre-financings and final payments, contract modification (forms, cases, timing), the 25%-rule, templates for narrative and financial reports, key control measures and tips for proper financial reporting.
By your participation at our international seminars you will benefit from preventing the potential loss of funding to your EU funded project by implementing audit requirements in accordance to EU rules. You will increase your work efficiency by learning proper archiving methods to answering audit questions even years after the project’s completion. You will learn how to avoid the threat of funding recovery and receive practical advice on your individual questions through many practical examples and exercises as well as group work sessions. Our events are an excellent opportunity to enlarge your professional network with experts and peers from other countries and exchange your experiences.