As Australia emerges into the post-Covid phase and begins to rebuild the economy, we’re seeing an increasing number of grants and financial assistance packages on offer from local, state and federal governments. Even without coronavirus, these grants are normally very competitive. When you throw in the current state of things, the stakes and competitor numbers skyrocket.
To give you the best chance at securing your slice of the grant pie, we’ve put together our best tips for applying for grants and financial assistance.
Act fast: This is first and foremost! If you move too slow, there’s a good chance other applicants will quickly push the grant up to its specified limits. Get in fast and keep it simple. But do take the time to gather all the information required and be accurate.
Devil is in the detail: This brings us to the detail. There’s no point trying to act fast, skimming through the requirements and submitting a half-baked application. Take the time to read the small print and instructions. Government departments follow a huge number of compliance rules and like to tick boxes. So make it easy for them to tick the boxes! They don’t like chasing missing information and won’t put much effort into doing so. Get it wrong and you risk being pushed to the end of the line or missing out.
Numbers matter: You will be asked to provide financials which will likely be matched with previous tax or BAS returns. Data matching has never been easier for governments, as so many services are now linked and interconnected. So find a BAS Agent bookkeeper now to get your financials compliant and telling a reliable story. The government will check, there is no doubt. A BAS Agent bookkeeper registered with the Tax Practitioner’s Board can certify your reports to give them greater weight and validity.
Make it believable: Some grant applications may ask you to forecast and predict the future. They typically want to know if you have done any business planning and what the future looks like with the grant money. Don’t make it up or wing it, they will be looking for inaccuracies or evidence of inadequate planning. Spend some time planning realistic outcomes around what the grant money will do for your business and how you will run your business better so the money isn’t wasted. Again, good financial planning can help paint an accurate picture with this.
Use keywords: Remember how we said that skimming through the requirements was a bad idea? Take heed here. You need to use the language of the grant: read about the intent of the grant. Understand why it’s being provided. What is the problem the government wants to see fixed? To best answer the key question or provide the solution, weave in some of the keywords they’ve used when writing your application. Still, don’t waffle – keep to the point. Make it easy for the government to understand your claim by checking spelling and grammar. Put yourself in their shoes – did you write rubbish or facts? Did you answer the question?
Pitch it: You are creating a marketing pitch to sell your business as an opportunity for the government. They will give out money to help businesses improve and thrive. This makes a government look good. So expect them to ask for follow up reviews and evidence after you have spent the grant money. They love to spin good political stories of success. It may lead to a good public promotion opportunity for your business.
Keep an audit trail: Government money is public money so you will need to keep an audit trail of where every cent is spent. A quality BAS Agent bookkeeper will be able to manage this for you. There are specific ways to code grant funds that are reflected in business financial records. It’s not worth the risk that comes with getting this compliance side of grants wrong.
Use professionals: Use registered supplier businesses when applying for and/or spending grant funds. Grant money will be used to pay reputable suppliers that have an ABN and appropriate licenses. Governments will check them out too. Get detailed tax invoices and quotes for past or future planned products and services applicable to the grant. Ask your supplier to incorporate keywords into the descriptions that tie in the purpose of the grant to demonstrate fit for purpose supply.
Grant writing can be tricky at the best of times, but they are usually well worth the effort. It pays to seek professional help to maximise your chances of submitting a successful application for a grant or financial assistance.
We can help tell a solid (and accurate) story for the financial side of your business. Give us a call and let’s chat about your numbers. It’s that simple. Call our team on 1300 043 327.