A client made a multi-year grant to a major medical institution. The grant was predicated on an agreement, which our team had negotiated, that instituted clear reporting requirements. As the first year drew to a close, we collected the negotiated reporting information from the institution and noticed a large amount of the grant had yet to be spent as per the grant proposal's first-year budget.
On behalf of our client, we raised the issue with the development department, which assured us in no uncertain terms that the funds had indeed been spent and that it was only a problem of delayed accounting. Based on our suggestion, the client withheld the second year's installment until we could obtain a proper accounting.
Several weeks later, the department submitted revised information showing that the research project was indeed behind schedule and that the funds had yet to be spent. We worked with the development department to understand the reason for the delay, requested a revised budget for the project, and devised steps to ensure that the medical institution was keeping the project on track.
Had we accepted the assurances of the development department, our client would have had no way of knowing that the project was running behind and would have issued funds that would have sat dormant in the institution's accounts. Ultimately, the client and institution reached an understanding of how to move forward for the remaining years of the grant.