The Importance of Managing State and Local Government Invoices and Expenses During COVID

You’re following all the rules. You’re social distancing; you’re requiring masks on in all your offices; you’re keeping staff and visitors as separate and safe as possible. It’s what COVID demands, and you’re doing it.

You’re also dealing with the economic fallout of the shutdown, which isn’t any easier. Sixty-eight percent of state and local government decision makers, in fact, say unexpected expenses and new categories of spend are major job-related challenges as they transition to remote work.

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There is help, however, with CARES Act funding and other support designed to keep your institution running and serving your constituents. But this help comes with conditions, making compliance absolutely critical.

Here’s why.

 

Expense types aren’t what they used to be

Masks, of course, are obvious. Unexpected, but obvious. You need to provide personal protective gear to staff when they come into the office – as well as an endless supply for visitors – and that’s a cost for which you have to account. What you might not have thought about (and certainly weren’t prepared for) was the costs of working from home.

Remote employees are buying postage and paperclips and paying internet providers, and the bills are landing on your desk. They have OSHA requirements to meet at their desks and their home workspaces, and you’re getting those bills, too.

If you don’t put policies in place to manage these expenses – if you don’t create unique expense categories with specific rules – you end up stuck in some sort of Wild West Spending Spree that damages your internal policies and defies regulatory requirements.

 

Reporting requirements aren’t either

Federal regulations and requirements, along with your own internal reporting standards have only tightened in light of the pandemic. And the responsibility to track how and where and when you spend any of these funds is all on you. The audits for which could take years.

Seeing and controlling your invoices and expenses under this scrutiny is more challenging and more crucial than ever.

 

Automation might just be the most intelligent answer

When your expense and invoice processes are entirely automated, you can see all the details on all your spending. You can put policies in place that allow you to see where your spend is going before it’s spent, and you have a data trail to back up every decision.

Detailed dashboards and reports bring you real-time visibility, so you can take proactive control of your compliance policies – and you’ll know what’s working, what’s not, and where fixes need to happen.

In the end, you not only know how funding is being used and how effective your policies are, you know how to adapt as requirements change. And if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that change can be more severe than we thought.

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