Responses by Yenevin Capote, grants accounting manager.
How did this project begin?
As we continue to get more disasters on an annual basis it’s becoming a little bit overwhelming, especially making sure that we meet the compliance requirement for the federal assistance guidelines. And that’s when “Close As You Go” came into the picture. Basically what the program assists us on is making sure that all the documentation that we need for FEMA, pre-disaster, it actually meets compliance. We’re talking about invoices, checks, procurement process, debris, removal contracts, etcetera.
What lessons have you learned through the project?
It’s critical that we don’t get a reimbursement request sent back to us because we fail to provide supporting documentation, or we failed to validate X,Y and Z compliance to validate an invoice or proof of payment to validate that the contract was procured per the guidelines. Sometimes because we are not involved in the procurement process, a lot of things are not taken into account. By having all of those components uploaded into “Close As You Go” before any event occurred, it allows us to make sure that if we are not in compliance within a specific contract that we could go back to procurement and that bring that issue to the table. It erases a lot of questions ahead of the event.
What improvements are you planning to make?
Improvement would be ideal if we could connect our financial system with “Close As You Go” so that we don’t have to upload everything. That would be something that right now is not possible, as the systems do not communicate. We are also looking forward to some improvement on the debris removal side of it so that the vendor could upload loading tickets and some of the supporting documentation that is required for debris removal.