Fuel prices can be volatile. When they rise, governments will feel it in higher fleet-operation budgets, and employees will feel it in their wallets. And here at SAO, we will likely see more local government reports of known or suspected fuel-related losses and frauds.
Center for Government Innovation
The Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) was enacted to make the conduct of Washington’s governments more accessible and open to the public. The OPMA underwent significant changes in 2022 when the Legislature modified the law in response to how local governments had adapted and continued to hold their governing body meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local governments are fast becoming attractive targets for cyber criminals because of the vast amounts of sensitive data they maintain about their employees, infrastructure and residents. To keep pace with the constantly evolving threats and tactics, it's essential that you understand how to minimize your government's risk of attack.
Preparing your government's payroll takes a lot of time and expertise. From collecting employee information, tracking leave, processing timesheets, and calculating pay to processing garnishments, delivering pay checks, submitting tax forms, and preparing year-end reporting, there's a lot to do. That's why some governments use a third party to do all or part of their payroll. But how do you determine if outsourcing payroll is right for your government?
When was the last time you looked at your finance team's vacation patterns? It may surprise you to learn that many frauds and other breaches of internal controls come to light only after employees go on vacation and other staff take over their tasks.
Meter reading is the critical first step in a utility's revenue collection process. Gathering accurate, complete meter data is essential not only for collecting the appropriate amount of revenue to operate the utility, but also for ensuring a positive customer experience and public image.
From accurate and prompt billing to well-designed collection procedures, accounts receivable requires a robust set of internal controls to ensure your government collects the money it is owed. A strong accounts receivable process can result in higher revenue for your government, while a weak process can lead to wasted staff time, accounting errors and lost revenue. When was the last time you took a close look at your accounts receivable?
Automated Clearing House (ACH) and other types of payment fraud are on the rise, and bad actors are using vendor master files to do it. It starts with a simple request to change a vendor's contact information, payment address or banking details, and ends it with thousands or even millions of dollars in public funds being redirected to fraudulent accounts.
A new year has begun, which means it's time for cash-basis governments to close out the last year and begin preparing their annual financial reports.
SAO's latest performance audit report looked at the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) contracting processes for tolling. While that audit didn't involve local governments, WSDOT plays a large role in how they obtain state resources to improve local road systems. This got staff in SAO's Center for Government Innovation thinking about how much transportation funding WSDOT distributes statewide.