Published: January 27, 2021
Updated: September 9, 2021
Through these challenging times, the Center for Government Innovation continues to help local governments solve problems and improve the value they provide to their community.
As local governments transitioned to remote work over the past year, the Center adapted to meet your needs with more flexible process improvement facilitation. We now offer our services remotely using collaborative web-based tools. This has given us added flexibility to schedule two- to three-hour sessions within a few weeks or over an extended period of time. As conditions allow, we can still travel to your location.
The Center now offers interactive StrengthsFinder team-building workshops that can help strengthen teams, increase productivity and promote workplace harmony. Contact us at Center@sao.wa.gov to learn more.
Financial Intelligence Tool (FIT)
With the financial effects of the pandemic, it’s never been more important to have a tool for monitoring your government’s financial health. With our online FIT tool, you can:
- Project your financial data into the future
- Modify your projections using user-defined variables for scenario planning
- Compare your financial health indicators to similar governments across the state
- Focus your financial indicator analysis at the fund level
Financial management technical assistance
As always, we’re here to help you with your questions about financial management. Reach out to us, and we’ll connect you with best practices and tools that can help your government improve processes and internal controls. Contact us at Center@sao.wa.gov or call 564-999-0818.
Resources and best practices
We have a variety of online resources to help you manage the day-to-day business of local government.
- Payroll Guide: Similar to the Cash Receipting Guide published in June 2020, our new Payroll Guide outlines key factors to consider in your payroll processes. The guide includes single-page pullouts with tips for each of the key roles: leadership, managers, supervisors and payroll clerks.
- What to do after you file: Data quality checklist: Our new checklist will help you build additional confidence in your data’s accuracy as you prepare to submit your annual reports.
- Financial Reporting Risk Assessment Worksheet: Use our undated example worksheet as part of your regular risk assessment process and to document conclusions and responses.
- Are You Doing All You Can to Keep Your Government Safe from a Cyber Attack?: This two-page document points you to six free resources, including training and webinars, to help protect against cyberattacks.
- Phishing posters: As the pandemic raged this year, Washington governments increasingly became targets for cybercriminals. These colorful posters reminded your employees of the “bait” that cybercriminals can use to trick them into providing unauthorized access to your government’s systems and information.
- Backup and Recovery Best Practices: This short guide provides leading practices to help you develop a strong plan for returning to normal operations quickly, if your data access is compromised because of risks like a hardware failure or malware attack.
Purchasing and procurement
- Buying and Bidding – Ensuring your government follows Washington purchasing laws: This is a comprehensive guide you can use to ensure you are following state laws when procuring goods, services or public works projects. It points out many of the alternatives and unique circumstances with these activities, and includes best practices and links to state laws to save you time.
- Is This Bidder Responsible?: To help you navigate whether a bidder meets the criteria to be responsive and responsible, we have compiled a handy checklist you can use to walk through this evaluation and make notes about things you might follow up on later.
We’re launching a new way to learn this fall: online, on-demand courses that you can take whenever you want, wherever you are! Keep an eye out this fall for links to these courses in SAO’s Weekly Digest and Audit Connection blog.
- Our new CPE-eligible course on cash handling internal controls will be online in the coming months.
- Our local government experts will share information about all of the Center’s resources and services in our new on-demand format for #GoodGovernment practices.
Here are some new resources you can expect in the coming months:
- Resources for Cybersecurity Month in October
- Best Practice Guide for Accounts Payable
- Internal Controls checklists for Accounts Payable and Petty Cash
- Best Practices and Internal Controls over Fuel Inventory and Usage
- Additional FIT enhancements
For more information, please send us an email at Center@sao.wa.gov. We look forward to working with you!