Uniform Guidance/Single Audit Compliance

Uniform Guidance Update: A Plethora of Proposed Changes

Every five years, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completes a review and proposes changes to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, commonly known as the “Uniform Guidance” or “2 C.F.R. Part 200.” In December of 2023, OMB issued an extensive list of proposed changes that you should be aware of. The most significant proposed revision would be the increase of the Single Audit threshold from $750,000 to $1,000,000. If this change is enacted, you may find that your organization gets a welcome break from Single Audit compliance if the federal funds you receive fall under the $1 million threshold. In addition to this key change, there are several other proposed revisions as detailed below:

  • Defining “Equipment”: For determination of an item as “equipment”, there is a proposed increase to the per unit acquisition cost threshold from $5,000 to $10,000; the proposed revision also specifies that agencies can allow the entity to keep equipment with no further obligation to the federal government as long as it is not prohibited by federal law.
  • Defining “Supplies”: Supplies are defined as tangible personal property that is not equipment with items valued at less than $10,000. The threshold for computers would increase from $5,000 to $10,000. The disposition requirements for unused supplies would apply to the aggregate value of all supply types, and not just like-item supplies.
  • Lifting the Geographic Preference Prohibition: There is a proposal to remove the prohibition in the Uniform Guidance on using geographic preference requirements in the procurement process. However, use of geographic preferences or scoring mechanisms must be consistent with laws and regulations.
  • Soliciting Veteran-Owned Business: “Veteran-Owned Businesses” are to be added to the types of businesses that recipients and subrecipients are encouraged to consider for award of contacts.
  • No Public Bid Opening: There is a proposal to remove the requirement for local governments to open sealed bids in public.
  • Prior Written Approval Requirements: To reduce the burden on federal agencies and recipients, the following items would be removed from the prior written approval requirements for the expenditure of funds: real property, equipment, direct costs, entertainment costs, exchange rates, memberships, participant support costs, selling and marketing costs, and taxes.
  • Program Income Uses: There are clarifications regarding the use and expenditure of program income, including allowing program income for certain closeout costs. Also proposed is further clarifying guidance for each of the three methods for the use of program income.
  • gov Registration: Second-tier subrecipients or contractors would not be required to obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and register in SAM.gov, but this requirement would apply to recipients of loan guarantees and may apply to beneficiary borrowers.
  • Suspension and Debarment Changes: There is a proposal to clarify the available administrative actions in lieu of debarment and that before initiating a suspension, officials may consider “other indicators of adequate evidence that may include, but are not limited to, warrants and their accompanying affidavits.” OMB also proposes adding text to address factors influencing a debarment decision; and adding text on “whether your business, technical, or professional license(s) has been suspended, terminated, or revoked.”

Other suggested changes that OMB sought comment for but are not in the included in the draft rules are:

  • De minimis indirect cost: There is a proposal to increase the rate from 10 percent to 15 percent.
  • Negotiation of Profit: A proposal to delete the existing paragraph (b) in 2 CFR 200.324, requiring the recipient to negotiate profit as a separate element of the price for each contract lacking price competition.
  • gov Registration Delays: Federal agencies would give recipients an additional 90 day grace period if certain circumstances are delaying their ability to register in SAM. However, if this stipulation is included, OMB proposes that federal agencies not issue payments to a recipient who is unable to obtain a UEI or complete their registration in SAM.gov.
  • Unexpended Funds: Recipients may be entitled to any unexpended funds under a fixed amount award if the required activities were completed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award. OMB is considering requiring additional pre-award certifications for fixed-amount awards to address the potential increased risk of fraud under fixed-amount awards.

OMB also solicited comment on the following topics for future consideration:

  • Audit Scope: There is consideration for expanding the guidance in Subpart F to include more specific requirements on the scope of an audit to assist with the resolution of audit findings.
  • For-Profit entities: The establishment of specific audit requirements for for-profit entities which are not subject to the requirements of Subpart F is being considered.
  • Indirect Costs: There is a proposal to address challenges related to negotiating indirect costs, working with cognizant agencies, and other topics related to indirect costs.
  • Loans and loan guarantees: Additional guidance regarding loans and loan guarantees is being proposed.
  • National Security Presidential Management (NSPM)-33: Incorporation of regulations regarding research security requirements is being considered.
  • Prior Approval Requirements: There is consideration for the removal of additional prior approval requirements.
  • Adjustment of Thresholds: A proposal to establish mechanisms to automatically adjust certain thresholds due to inflation or other triggering events (where permitted by law).

Please note, at this time, the Uniform Guidance changes that are being discussed are only proposed. We will continue to monitor the proposed changes to the Uniform Guidance and provide updates as they become available.

Uniform Guidance/Single Audit Compliance

Preparing For Your First Single Audit and Important Reminders








With the influx of funding issued to governmental and non-profit entities via COVID-19 funding programs such as the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act and 2020 CARES Act, your organization may be required to have a Single Audit performed for the first time in its history.  This blog will provide key tips you should be following to ensure your organization complies with Single Audit requirements. And for those organizations who have been under Single Audit guidance previously, this blog will provide important reminders for your organization.

What is a Single Audit?

Federal awards can take many forms including: grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, loans, loan guarantees, property, interest subsidies, insurance, direct appropriations, endowments, other non-cash assistance, and indirect state or local government transfers of federal funds. Lastly, federal expenditures for single audit purposes may include lost revenue as allowed by certain federal programs.

If your organization expends $750,000 or more in federal funds during any fiscal year, it is required to have a Single Audit completed (or in some cases perhaps a program-specific audit).  This requires additional internal control and compliance testing specifically for federal expenditures.

The Single Audit requirements, along with requirements for the expenditure of federal funds, are contained in 2 CFR 200, Uniform Guidance. The Uniform Guidance can be viewed here online.

When your auditor performs your Single Audit, they will perform a financial statement audit in accordance with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) standards known as Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and Government Auditing Standards (known as Yellow Book or GAGAS [Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards]) along with a compliance audit in accordance with GAAS and the Uniform Guidance. The completed audit must be submitted to the Federal Electronic Clearinghouse within 30 days of receipt of the auditor’s reports or 9 months after the end of the audit period.

Below are key tips to follow to help your organization be in the best position possible to comply with an upcoming Single Audit:

Understand Your Federal Funding and Amounts Expended, Including any New Federal Funding

First, it will be important for your organization to understand the federal funding it expends in terms of program requirements and amounts. Typically, governments and non-profits receive their federal awards through federal programs. All federal awards are assigned a single number in the Assistance Listing, which can be found online here. When no Assistance Listing number is assigned, all federal awards to nonfederal entities from the same agency made for the same purpose must be combined and considered one program. In some cases, federal awards take the form of clusters. A cluster is defined as a grouping of closely related programs that share common compliance requirements. Clusters are treated as one program for the auditor’s major program determination and testing. Clusters include Research and Development, Student Financial Assistance, along with other clusters as defined in the Uniform Guidance. A federal grant is defined as expended when the expenditure or expense transactions occur or in the case if your organization is subrecipient, it’s defined when the disbursement is made to the subrecipient.

Understanding the Relevant Compliance Requirements Associated with your Federal Awards

What are the key responsibilities for auditees to follow under the Uniform Guidance? There are several:

  • Recipients must comply with all award requirements.
  • Recipients must have adequate performance measurement systems in place.
  • Recipients must have adequate financial management systems in place, as well, including a means for separate identification of federal awards, a system to document complete and accurate financial results, a system of recordkeeping for support of federal drawdowns, and have processes in places for effective control and accountability.
  • Recipients must have complete written procedures in place. Specifically written procedures are recommended for all compliance areas including Section 200.305 Payments (cash draws), 200.318 Procurement (more details on Procurement Standards are below), Allowability of Costs (Subpart E, Cost Principles), 200.430-431 Compensation (Personnel and Benefits), and 200.475 Travel Costs).
  • Recipients must maintain adequate systems of internal controls (more details are below)
  • Recipients must maintain adequate documentation and follow proper processes regarding payments (grants draws/advances), cost sharing/matching, program income, budget revisions requiring prior approval, property standards (ownership/inventory), and subrecipient monitoring/management.

Following The Required Procurement Standards

The Uniform Guidance requires federal funding recipients and sub-recipients (excluding state entities) to follow certain procurement standards as detailed in Sections 200.318 through 200.327. Key components of these procurement standards are that entities use documented procurement procedures, have no conflicts of interest, and that the most economical purchase options are considered.  Below are the thresholds for purchasing requirements as outlined in the Uniform Guidance:

  1. Micro Purchases (purchases less than $10,000)

-No requirement for soliciting competitive pricing, as long as you consider the price reasonable based on research, experience, purchase history or other information.

-You can adjust the $10,000 limit to up to an amount as high as $50,000.

2. Small Purchases (purchases between $10,000 and $250,000)

-Higher than the micro-purchases threshold, but does not exceed the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) of $250,000

-Price or rate quotations must be obtained from an adequate number of qualified sources as determined appropriate by your entity.

3. Formal Procurement (greater than $250,000, previously was $150,000)

-Requires sealed bids or requests for proposals.

Our blog entitled, Update to Procurement Rules for Federal Funds, provides additional information on these standards.

Maintaining Adequate Systems of Internal Control

Your internal controls should be in compliance with either the “Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government” (the ‘Green Book’) and the “Internal Control Integrated Framework” issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organization of the Treadway Commission (COSO).

We recommend that you review the questionnaire below to take an honest look at your organization’s level of internal controls and to identify areas that need addressed.  Note the areas listed below are not intended to be used as a ‘be all/end-all checklist’ of required characteristics as depending on the size/structure of your organization and the philosophy of your management you may have different apparatuses in place that meet your particular needs. Smaller entities typically lack the capacity to have all of the areas listed below implemented. However, with foresight, even smaller organizations can develop systems and processes that meet effective standards for internal control.

Listed below is a summary of Green Book and COSO Components and Principles of Internal Control:

Control Environment

  1. Demonstrate commitment to integrity and ethical values.
  2. Exercise oversight responsibility
  3. Establish structure, responsibility and authority
  4. Demonstrate commitment to competence
  5. Enforce accountability

Risk Assessment

  1. Define objectives and risk tolerances
  2. Identify, analyze, and respond to risks
  3. Assess fraud risk
  4. Identify, analyze, and respond to change

Control Activities

  1. Design control activities
  2. Design activities for the information system
  3. Implement control activities

Information and Communication

  1. Use quality information
  2. Communicate internally
  3. Communicate externally


  1. Perform monitoring activities
  2. Evaluate issues and remediate deficiencies

More information regarding maintaining proper systems of internal control can be found on our blog entitled, Got Federal Awards?

Understanding Sub-Part E Cost Principles and Allowable Costs

The key premise entities must follow regarding Sub-Part E Cost Principles is that when applying cost principles it “should require no significant changes to sound internal accounting policies/procedures.” The “total cost” of a federal award is defined as the sum of the allowable direct and allocable indirect costs less any applicable credits.

With respect to allowable costs, the following are key areas auditees should keep in mind:

  • They should be necessary and reasonable for the performance of the federal award.
  • They should conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in these principles.
  • They should  be consistent with policies and procedures that apply uniformly to both federally financed and other activities of the nonfederal entity.
  • They should be accorded consistent treatment (direct vs. indirect).
  • They should be determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • They are not included as a cost or used to meet cost sharing or matching requirements of any other federally financed program
  • They should be adequately documented.

For indirect costs, the types of rates used by auditees are negotiated rate and the de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs. Refer to Subpart E of the Uniform Guidance for further requirements.

Compensation Requirements

Organizations should maintain records showing reasonableness of compensation along with the assignment and allocation to federal awards. Time and distribution records must be maintained for all employees whose salary is paid in whole or in part with federal funds and/or used to meet a match/cost share requirement.  Documentation of compensation should not be based on budget estimates alone – it needs to be actual. There should be full disclosure regarding all time worked for the organization and what percentage of that time is compensated through federal funds.

Other Auditee Responsibilities

  • Auditees are responsible for several other areas to be in compliance as well including the following:
  • Arrange for the Single Audit to be performed by an independent auditor and ensure it is properly performed and submitted timely.
  • Prepare the corrective action plan (if there are findings). A corrective action plan, in a separate document from the auditor’s findings, must address each audit finding included in the current year auditor’s reports. This document is required to be on client letterhead.
  • Comply with federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of federal awards.
  • Evaluate and monitor compliance with statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of federal awards.
  • Take prompt action when noncompliance is identified.
  • Safeguard protected personally identifiable information.

Factors When Selecting Your Independent Auditor

The AICPA’s Governmental Audit Quality Center (GAQC) recommends an organization take into consideration the following factors when selecting an auditor:

  • Demonstration of qualifications
  • Availability of staff with appropriate technical abilities
  • Extent of the auditor’s experience with organizations like yours
  • Results of their external peer review
  • Participation in quality improvement programs like the GAQC

Quick Tips to Simplify the Single Audit Process

A best practice for any audit, particularly a Single Audit, is to plan ahead. Ideally, you should be meeting with your audit firm before the fiscal year end. Meeting early will help you to identify and address any problem areas in advance while providing the benefit of communicating with your auditor in the early stages of the process. This will help to address any potential issues proactively. Prior to the audit, your organization should have readily accessible written policies and procedures, and you should be prepared to provide the audit firm access to personnel, accounts, books, records, supporting documentation, and other information as needed.

Whether it’s the first time for your organization to perform a Single Audit, or if your organization has years of experience in this area, we are available to address any questions you may have.