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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Accounts payable is a process that delivers significant payments to vendors for goods and services and keeps local government operational. While the tasks that make up your accounts payable process may seem repetitious and mundane, they serve a critical business function—and they are vulnerable to fraud and error. When was the last time you took a hard look at your accounts payable process to ensure it's still designed appropriately and functioning properly?
The American Rescue Plan Act and the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are sending significant amounts of federal funds to Washington. This means that local governments will be spending more federal funds than ever. If you spend more than $750,000 in federal funds a year, you'll need a Single Audit examining your compliance with the requirements of your program(s).