GFOAs Awards for Excellence in Government Finance recognize innovative programs and contributions to the practice of government finance that exemplify outstanding financial management. GFOAs Awards for Excellence in Government Finance stress practical, documented work that offers leadership to the profession and promotes improved public finance. Government Finance Review has showcased a number of 2018 winners for Exceptionally Well Implemented GFOA Best Practice since they were announced at last year's annual conference. This article summarizes the projects you haven't yet read about, from Travis County, Texas; the City of Peoria, Arizona; and the College of DuPage in Illinois.
The Travis County (Texas) Auditor's Office created an interactive online form with digital signature capabilities to streamline the process of obtaining "related party" disclosures from current and former county employees, in accordance with Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement (GASB) Statement No. 62, Codification of Accounting and Financial Reporting Guidance Contained in Pre-November 30, 1989 FASB and AICPA Pronouncements. The single form incorporated both the actual disclosure certification and the list of vendors for the employee to review and check off to indicate any association with a particular vendor.
The county's prior related party disclosure process was cumbersome and inefficient for both the employee and the auditor's office staff, contributing to delays in receiving the completed disclosures. Before the form was rolled out, the auditor's office would e-mail two files to employees for completion, the disclosure form and the vendor list. Employees would review the vendor list and indicate any vendor there was a relationship with and save that file. Then, the employee would complete the form and sign it, and then return both to the auditor's office via inter-office mail, fax, or scanning and e-mailing. Once the auditor's office received the file, it would create a digital file of the returned disclosures to archive them.
The project was designed to address the following shortcomings:
* Replace manual signatures with digital signatures.
* Reduce or eliminate unnecessary or redundant process activities.
* Reduce the use of paper.
* Expedite disclosure submissions.
The project was based on organizational change and continuous process improvement principles. Because this represented a significant organizational change for employees, the initial rollout strategy was to encourage, not mandate, use of digital signatures. The strategy for the second year was to follow up and incorporate "lessons learned" from the previous year to improve the process and to conduct outreach to employees who previously submitted their disclosures manually, in order to reduce any barriers to their use of digital signatures.
The initial rollout strategy resulted in 53 percent of employees (69 of 129) completing the form electronically, compared to 47 percent (60 of 129) who completed it manually.
The main benefit to the auditor's office from implementing this best practice was a...