In my first post of this blog series, I covered basic best practices that governments should keep in mind when assessing the effectiveness of their finance departments. For the second part I will discuss a few simple ways to get your finance department’s reporting on track. Governments have a fiduciary responsibility to their constituents. They must ensure that all tax dollars received are going towards the services and programs as promised to these same constituents. To meet and exceed public expectations, the reporting capabilities of your finance team must be up-to-date and recorded properly. Here are six easy steps that your accounting team should follow:
- Enter all transactions and financial data as soon as possible. While the transaction is current everyone remembers the reason for the transaction, and the fund and/or program intended to support.
- Reconcile your bank accounts monthly. Pooled cash can be tricky. No excuses.
- Reconcile your subsidiary ledgers or standalone receipts modules with your general ledger monthly. Follow-up with all differences and adjust accordingly.
- Generate reports monthly for operations, departments, and programs.
- Review the reports to check for accuracy. Errors, omissions, reclassifications should be adjusted immediately.
- Back up your files and store in secure, safe place at least every other day if not daily.
- File your required tax reports and tax deposits on time.
In addition to these steps, make sure there is enough oversight to your reporting, finance, and accounting functions. Is there a council member who has financial background to help in this process? Their input is helpful and having an extra set of eyes to catch potential mistakes is never a bad thing. Having the right team of professionals around you is key to ensuring the organization is moving forward and serving its mission to the best of its ability.
Have any questions or concerns regarding your government’s reporting structure? Contact us here or sign up for this webinar that will explore how the finance field is continuously reshaped, and how top governmental organizations should manage their finance teams in an ever-changing environment.