Financial advice & EU compliance

Applying for grants, and managing grant projects are very extensive and complicated processes. You must comply with the grant provider’s requirements, legislation, administration, and reporting obligations. It becomes even more complex when it’s intended for larger cooperation projects, or in European grant projects, or when your company has multiple grant projects running at the same time. In those cases our Financial Consultants can support you! They can help you with several services, and we make sure that you are compliant with all the requirements and regulations of the grant provider.

Our Financial Consultants help you with…

…setting up the grant administration

Keeping a grant administration up-to-date can be complex. A lot of information must be kept for all grant processes, such as relevant activities and all costs incurred. Moreover, the grant provider imposes many specific requirements that do not always match your way of keeping track of all the information (Administrative Organisation and Internal Control(AO/IC)). Our Financial Consultants will help you get your grant administration (AO/IC) in order!

…putting your current grant administration (Administrative Organisation and Internal Control (AO/IC)) in order, through a pre-audit

Is your organisation working on a grant project? Does your project administration and your Administrative Organisation/Internal Control (AO/IC) meet the administrative requirements set by the grant provider? Our Financial Consultants can conduct a pre-audit to check your project administration and AO/IC and we will provide areas for improvement.

…Grant agreement preparations

Have you received a positive evaluation of your application from a European grant provider? Then the Grant Agreement negotiations start now. The Grant Agreement sets out the details of the project: the duration, the grant amount, project content, reporting deadlines, interim payment requests, and the final settlement. These negotiations are time-consuming, and the process needs to be precise. The Grant Agreement is a formal document, and it should not be ‘cracked open’ without question. All activities must be conducted as agreed. Deviation from the Grant Agreement is not allowed unless you submit a change request to the grant provider.

…preparing and submitting an amendment request (Amendment Request)

European grant projects often run for several years. During that period, unforeseen circumstances may arise. Circumstances that require you to deviate from the agreed details in the Grant Agreement. In such cases, you must formally announce your changes in Brussels via an amendment request. In such an amendment request, all changes compared to the Grant Agreement are named. These may be substantive changes but may also have to do with the planning or budget. Amendments should be discussed in detail with the Project Officer and then recorded. Our Financial Consultants support you during the implementation of this process.

…preparing and drafting progress and final reports

In the Grant Agreement, you have agreed on how to report the substantive and financial progress of the grant project and when to report. The progress reports of European grant projects must meet high standards, describing in detail how the project is doing. Our Financial Consultants support you in preparing these progress reports.

Once your grant project is completed, the final report must be drawn up. This process is similar to that of the progress report, with the note that in almost all cases an audit by and statement from the auditor are required.

…obtaining an audit opinion from the auditor

Eventually, every grant process, large or small, is completed. At such a time, an auditor’s report may be required. Whether you need an audit opinion after your grant project depends on the grant scheme and the amount of the grant. Preparing an audit opinion is a time-intensive process in which the accountant must comply with the established audit protocol of the grant provider. Hezelburcht is familiar with the audit protocols and the documentation that needs to be provided for the audit statement. This allows you to focus on your operations, and our Financial Consultants, together with the accountant, ensure that the grant is definitively determined.

…procurement procedures and ensuring market conformity

Central and decentralised governments, public law institutions and special sector companies are required to tender within grant projects if the costs exceed the applicable threshold values. Although these parties often have separate procurement departments, the process of tendering remains difficult and time-consuming. Parties that are required to tender when carrying out a grant project often face additional concerns. An organisation that fails to comply with these will not be able to claim the maximum grant. The tender process forms the basis for project costs. This therefore outlines the importance of a well-executed procurement procedure. Even if your organisation does not have a procurement obligation, within a grant project – if the costs exceed the set threshold amounts – you will have to prove that the costs you claim are actually “market-based”. Indeed, one of the conditions of subsidies is that the costs are reasonable and justified.

Good, clear, and insightful reporting in the procurement process is extremely important. Our Financial Consultants will be happy to inform and support you in the procedures surrounding tenders and market conformity.

…analysing your project on State aid rules and Exemption Regulations

Companies and other organisations sometimes receive state aid, in the form of subsidies, for example. National or decentralized authorities may provide financial support to companies, giving them an economic advantage. This gives these companies an advantage over (foreign) companies that do not receive it. However, the European Union (EU) wants to create a level playing field for all companies in the single market, which is why state aid is prohibited. The EU does offer ways to provide state aid that are in line with European law. By bringing state aid under several exemption regulations, a government can grant aid for certain purposes without requiring formal notification procedures.

Failure to bring state aid into line with European exemption regulations has major consequences for your grant project. Therefore, before starting a grant project, it is advisable to have a state aid analysis conducted. Our Financial Consultants will help determine whether your project is “state aid-proof.”

…preparing Project Budgets

A fundamental part of your grant application is the budget. After all, it forms the basis for the grant. During the lifetime of the grant project, a project budget can be adjusted downwards, but an increase in the budget is not possible, potentially resulting in a loss of grant amount. An optimal budget is therefore crucial for your grant project. Our Financial Consultants help you determine the eligible cost categories and optimise your project budget.

…training your employees via workshop/training sessions

Our Financial Consultants can provide workshops and training on the financial and substantive aspects of your grant projects at your premises. For example, at the kick-off of a grant project, all employees involved are well-informed about the requirements of grant administration.

…Providing information on sampling

Once you have submitted the determination of your project, the verification on the grantor’s side starts. The grant provider may randomly knock on your door to assess the accuracy of the grant records. Our Financial Consultants know how this process works. We provide you with the right information and review the documents before you send the information to the grant provider. This way, we reduce the risk of you facing further questions from the grantor.

…The optimisation of the WBSO

Have you received a WBSO decision, and is the realisation lagging your expectations, or are you in doubt as to whether you are using the full WBSO potential in your organisation? Our Financial Consultants examine whether the current situation matches the desired situation. By analysing the organisational structure, business processes and CAPEX/OPEX, and by determining which functions are in place, Hezelburcht can advise you on the number of R&D hours to be applied for and any costs/expenditures. In doing so, we offer tools that allow you to monitor and manage the accountability of your WBSO project.

…Best combination of WBSO and Innovation Box

Do you use the Innovation Box in addition to WBSO? Then it is important to know that the interpretation of the WBSO determines the benefit you generate with the Innovation Box. To maximise the benefit for you, our specialists will set up the processes concerning both tax schemes for you, so that you are not confronted with unpleasant surprises during application.

Need help from our Financial Consultants?

Our experienced Financial Consultants offer various services for financial and administrative questions regarding large-scale cooperation projects and European grant applications. Do you need support regarding financial aspects of your grant programmes? Or would you like some help with your administration of your EU grant projects? Feel free to contact us for more information! Our Financial Consultants are looking forward to meeting you.

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