Financial Management

Quick tips on how to monitor your collection agency

It’s fairly common for local governments to use a collection agency in some capacity, such as to collect outstanding fees or fines that the government was unable to collect on its own. But how do you know if your collection agency is doing a good job? A collection agency acts on your behalf, collecting delinquent debts and remitting money back to you so you can use it in your operation.  

In this article, we will discuss tips on how to monitor your collection agency to evaluate its performance. 

Are you applying for new federal awards? Know the strings attached

It is important to think about all that comes with managing a new federal program for your government, ideally before you apply for it – and especially before you accept it. New federal awards are like getting a new puppy; they come with ramifications, implications and potential future costs for your government. If you think those things through, and understand what you are taking on, then you will be in a better position to manage the new award. 

Should you outsource your government’s payroll?

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?

Maximize your accounts receivable revenue with SAO’s new resources

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?

SAO’s updated guide can help you implement new accounting standards

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) releases new accounting standards nearly every year, and local governments have to evaluate and implement them. We know it can be challenging and time-consuming to implement new standards properly. But as auditors, we also know that a poorly planned implementation can lead to financial statement errors and raise concerns about the quality of your internal controls.

Perform a credit card clean up to reduce your risk for fraud and mismanagement

Government-issued credit card programs provide convenience to employees while reducing procurement costs for small, frequently purchased items. Not only do these programs decrease the administrative burden of processing employee reimbursements, they also reduce the hassle of creating purchase orders with various vendors. It's no wonder these programs are growing in popularity.

Are your ACH internal controls strong enough to protect you from fraudsters? SAO has a new resource to help you

Do you remember the Nigerian prince scheme—that long-running internet fraud where the bad actor drains your bank account after obtaining your information? Fraudsters made $703,000 in 2018 alone on that one. While some fraudsters are still working that old scam, others have moved on to impersonating your employees and vendors to redirect Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments meant for payroll direct deposits or vendor payments. In fact, Washington governments reported $4.7 million lost to these schemes in 2020 and 2021.

Preparing your school district’s annual report? SAO’s updated tool can help

Aah, September: The kids are back in school, the leaves are starting to change colors, and pumpkin spice lattes once again dominate coffeehouse menus. It's also that time of year when school districts begin preparing their financial statements. And, as we do every year, we publish an updated Checklist for Preparing and Reviewing School District Financial Statements to help you get ready.

Is your payroll process as secure and efficient as it could be? Find out with SAO’s suite of payroll resources

It can be challenging to find the time to focus on improving your payroll process amid the constant demands and deadlines of payroll activities. While payroll may be a routine and repetitive process, it's still vulnerable to fraud and human error. Coupled with new and evolving ways to pay your employees and automate payroll, your process may not be as secure and efficient as it could be.

Are you at risk for wire transfer fraud? SAO’s new resource details best practices for protecting public money

Wire transfers move money from one bank account to another. They are a fast way to send money and, if a fraudster intervenes, a fast way to lose it. Wire transfer fraud has dramatically increased in recent years, and more local governments are becoming victims of these scams.