Imagine you just bought a home, but you don’t like the kitchen because it’s outdated. Since this is potentially your “forever home,” it makes sense to update the kitchen so you can enjoy it for years to come. In a similar situation, a local government keeps its capital asset records for years – sometimes decades – so why not take the time to improve them? Like the kitchen, the investment in improving your capital asset management system is worth it because you can reap the long-term benefits.
Employees are on the road again, traveling to various in-person trainings and conferences. Given this, one cannot help but wonder about the internal control systems for processing employee reimbursements and travel claims. Are they ready to handle this activity and prevent waste, loss or abuse?
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. It also means it’s time for us to share our updated Checklist for Preparing and Reviewing Cash-Basis Financial Statements.
Public services of all types depend on specialized computer systems and information technology applications. However, all too often those applications are out of date. In fact, between 40 percent and 60 percent of Washington state’s government applications should be considered “legacy applications” according to Washington Technology Solutions, the state’s centralized provider of IT services.
The long, hot summer days are waning, which means the end of another school district fiscal year is upon us. Yes, it is time again to close the books and prepare your annual financial reporting package. And, as we do every year to help you get ready, we published an updated Checklist for Preparing and Reviewing School District Financial Statements.
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.
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?
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.
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.