Spare change. It’s one of those things that can help you out in a bind, but some people shirk at carrying and using it. It’s easy to see why – coins can be heavy, noisy, and they only have fractional value when compared with the dollar. Counting change can be slow and tedious, and paying with change can be a messy process. And keeping track of loose change – well, that can cause stress.
Change of another kind can also produce stress. The Federal Communications Commission is in the process of making changes to many E-rate forms. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently approved changes to the FCC Form 472 (Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement Form, or BEAR) and the FCC Form 474 (Service Provider Invoice Form, or SPI). Like paying with coins, it takes time to sort through the required pieces of an E-rate form and come up with just what you need to get the job done. It also takes time to reform existing processes and make changes to a website. In fact, USAC implied in their last Service Provider call that it will be a matter of weeks before their website will be ready to receive the new forms electronically. Despite these challenges posed by change, Funds For Learning® has kept up: E-rate Manager® already offers subscribers easy, updated form wizards to assist in the preparation of these new BEAR and SPI forms. For now, while USAC is still in the process of updating their site, applicants and service providers will need to submit their forms by mail, fax, or email. However, Funds For Learning® is already poised to act as soon as USAC has updated their system, so that E-rate Manager® subscribers will once again be able to transfer these forms electronically to USAC via E-rate Manager®. All this effort ensures FFL clients will stay compliant even in the face of change and, more importantly, can continue receive their funding.
It pays to track new developments and stay ahead. Keeping up with shifting needs and requirements adds value in small ways that add up quickly- just like spare change.