As once stated by Heraclitus of Ephesus, the ancient Greek philosopher, “the only thing that is constant is change.” It was true then, and it is true today in your government’s finance department. Workloads fluctuate. Key personnel transition. New accounting systems have unintended consequences. Despite these changes and challenges, the work must get done in a timely manner because your finance department is essential to the continuity of government operations and, ultimately, serving your constituents.
Here are common challenges faced by local governments where outsourced accounting services can alleviate stress for the finance department and enable continuity of service:
Some vacancies, like retirements, have been planned for months, while others happen on short notice. Either way, a vacant position means more stress on your team and, even worse, falling behind on critical work. In situations like this, outsourcing can provide interim financial services. For example, by allowing an outside service to temporarily take over the finance director role, a government can continue to operate, provide useful information to the governing body and / or prepare for its annual audit. Alternatively, if an entry level vacancy occurs, outsourcing services can provide many different types of solutions such as accounts payable and payroll data entry assistance.
Major events, like a system implementation or special project, can cause a shift in government resources. In either of these situations, it’s easy to get behind. To alleviate the stress on your department, an outsourced firm could step in to assist with the software implementation as well as help the team stay current on day to day accounting operations.
If you have an elected finance position, continuity of knowledge in how to maintain the accounting system should be considered. By having an outsourced service perform your accounting data processing needs, your government can avoid interruption during transitions. What’s more, a knowledgeable outsourcing service with government industry expertise can provide initial training and ongoing consultations for your newly elected finance position.
Few areas of finance are more challenging than the budgeting process. If your government is uncertain about proper budgeting practices and state regulations, an outsourced accounting service with knowledge of the budget process in your state can ensure a well-thought-out and compliant budget. Outsourced support can be as simple as providing budget-related consulting as needed or as complex as leading the budget development process entirely.
No one wants surprises during a financial or compliance audit. Hiring a team of knowledgeable, outsourced accounting specialists well-versed in government auditing to assist with preparation can provide peace of mind for the audit process.
By having a team of outsourced accounting specialists on standby, you can add significant scalability to your finance team by outsourcing specific functions — from data entry to finance director. This can help alleviate stress and enable your department to deliver quality work without disrupting government operations and services.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly state and local government outsourced accounting specialists can help, contact our team.