Categorized in: Center for Government Innovation Local governments

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Published: May 28, 2021

Spring is a time of renewal and energy, plants come alive and start to bloom, the green grasses grow, and the air has a fresh, clean scent. Spring is a great time to dust off the cobwebs of last year, and start afresh. If you’ve filed your annual report, then it’s a good time to kick off some spring cleaning at your workplace.

Here are some ideas for you to consider:

  • Accounts payable: Have you recently scrubbed your vendor master file? Over time, duplicate or inactive vendors can clutter your file, which increases the risk for duplicate payments. Spend some time archiving vendors that you no longer use, and inactivate those duplicates.
  • Banking: You document your reconciliation process, but maybe it’s time for an upgrade? Get creative and breathe in new life into your reconciliation tool. We have some best practices here for you to check out.
  • Records management: Out with the old and in with the new; taking into account records retention limitations of course! It’s time to organize, clean, purge, and archive to get your records management system ready for a fresh new year. Remember, this should include checking where and how your electronic records are stored.
  • System permissions: Rejuvenate your user access settings and make sure they are up-to date and reflect personnel and responsibility changes since your last review. Employees should only have the system permissions that they need to do their jobs, and no more.
  • Financial policies: Dust off those old policy manuals and see if they need a new look. See what you are missing, or what doesn’t align with your current practices. You can always improve what you have in place.
  • Capital assets: Your capital asset listing can get cluttered and disorganized. Bring some spring fever to your tracking and recordkeeping. If you are short on ideas, check out our resource on this topic.
  • Unclaimed property: Grow your revenues by locating any unclaimed property listed in your government’s name. Yes, local governments frequently have unclaimed property to collect! If you haven’t checked recently, you might be pleasantly surprised: https://ucp.dor.wa.gov/. Don’t let dust collect on what’s rightfully yours. A rule is thumb is to check for unclaimed property once a year.
  • Spring training: Why should baseball players have all the fun? How about a spring training session for you and your staff? Think of the knowledge and growth you could inspire in your work group!
  • Credit cards: Seasons change and so do people’s needs, maybe it’s time for a check-up? Where are spending limits too high? Are cards going unused that could be closed? Remember, a high ranking position title shouldn’t automatically equate to high credit limit, those should be based on spending needs. For more tips, here’s our best practices resource for credit cards.
  • Take home vehicles: Vehicle assignments have a life cycle, so it’s good to periodically check in on your assignments to see if they still make sense. We have a resource to help you if you want to deep clean.
  • Vacations: We all need a spring break, maybe in April or some other time of year. Time off provides time to relax and rejuvenate, but it is also an important part of an internal control structure, as long as work is not held when staff are away. Take a few moments to see if you or your staff has taken at least five consecutive days off in the last year, or if there are plans to do so. If you don’t have a policy that requires annual vacation time, this might be a good time to start!

We can help with your spring cleaning efforts

Keep in mind that we are always here to help. If you have specific technical accounting questions, submit them using our HelpDesk in the client portal. We also have financial management specialists at the Center for Government Innovation available to talk through projects you might be working on that affect your internal control systems. We might not be Mr. Clean, but we’re happy to help – send us a message at Center@sao.wa.gov.

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Categorized in: Center for Government Innovation Local governments

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