Strategies to Help Your Government Run Smoothly

March 2019 | Article

Managing a governmental entity, whether it be a city, county or school, can be a complex matter. You have several duties, and you also must keep a compliance mindset and stay up to date on the latest industry happenings.

One of the key ways to keep a governmental entity running smoothly is to establish an effective culture across the organization. Unfortunately, this is often one of the last things to be considered, as the day-to-day operations are incredibly time consuming. By taking a few strategic steps, however, you can take your government to new heights.

The following are a few beneficial strategies that growing governments can implement:

Financial Strategies for Your Government

Establish written policies and procedures.
How does your government do things? Is it how you should be doing things? Having a written set of guidelines will help you effectively run your government—not only now, but also in the future. Written policies and procedures will also help you mitigate the risks associated with staff turnover. Remember: a written guide is a living document, so it’s important to update it regularly as improvements are made. You also shouldn’t do it alone; involve your governing board and seek their guidance on what should be included in your policies and procedures.

Ensure you operate in a compliance mindset.
Governments must always keep on top of compliance issues and situations. The best way to do this is by engaging with a skilled business advisor who can help address your compliance questions and concerns. A few options for governments include:

  • External audit. Governments of a particular size are required to have an external audit done annually by a third-party CPA firm. External audits are compliance-driven and look to review controls and financials. While this is a requirement, you can also utilize this resource throughout the year to provide you with more proactive advice. Look for a firm that will partner with you and offer you resources (trainings, newsletters, etc.) and expertise—not just one with the lowest price tag.
  • Internal audit. For some governments, hiring an internal auditor can help ensure your finances are running smoothly. An internal auditor is a governmental employee who is tasked with looking at risks and practices within your government. Unlike their external counterpart, internal audits are conducted throughout the year.
  • Performance audit. Performance audits are independent examinations, just like external audits. However, whereas external audits look at financial statements over a certain period, performance audits are conducted with the aim of improvement, and they evaluate things like management metrics and operations. The criteria for a performance audit isn’t set in stone and can vary, which can allow your government to get the most out of the information provided.
  • Outsourced financial professionals. Many governments find it difficult to secure skilled staff who are up to date on the latest trends. To make this easier, governments can consider outsourcing financial functions, like business manager or bookkeeping and finance, to a third-party business advisory firm. The individuals at these firms are highly skilled and compliance-oriented, and they work alongside governments as part of the financial team (which means you don’t have to hire them internally.) This allows others within the government who may have been tasked with these roles to focus on other areas and help improve overall operations.

Human Resources Strategies for Your Government

Look for talent in unexpected places.
The skill set needed for government professionals is rapidly changing. Your staff will have to adapt to a growing number of challenges and opportunities in the governmental sphere. This leaves many government professionals wondering how to find that talent.

The solution is to think outside the box. Look for partnerships within your business community, and ask for their help in generating support to spark the next generation of talent. A collaboration across government, corporate and industry can only strengthen the talent discussion. Public/private partnerships can be very beneficial for small-to-midsized governments. For instance, cities or schools may fine benefit in collaborating with a local business on a new fitness center.

Collaborate and embrace change.
The next generation of employees coming into your government will look a lot different than those who have come before; they will have different backgrounds and experiences. It’s important to open yourself up to the possibility of new and innovative ideas as well as creative thinking when it comes to running your government. By collaborating across your staff and through all departments, you can generate new ideas to help bolster the mission of your local government.

Programming and Resource Strategies for Your Government

Build programs with market value.
Ensure your government is providing opportunities (programs, events, classes, etc.) that apply to the lives of the people you serve. This should include real-world, in-demand knowledge and skills. Interview businesses who specialize in different industries and ensure your programming is in line with the constantly changing, fast-paced world we live in. In addition, always make sure to look for areas of improvement to curriculum and programming so it doesn’t become stagnant.

Align with industry needs.
Successful governments always look for ways to communicate the effectiveness of their opportunities. If you’re working with students, one way you can do this is by offering courses and programs that will attract and retain talent in the community and provide them with their best possible career path. Not sure how to align with actual need? Increase your partnerships with local school districts, universities and businesses. Find partnerships and consider how you can cater your offerings to match what they are looking to learn. For instance, if your community needs more skilled manufacturing labor, how can you incorporate this into the programming you offer?

Rethink the traditional approach.
Learning isn’t just for students, so be sure to look for programming and schedules to accommodate adult learners as well. Review your offerings on a regular basis and feel free to abandon what has become unnecessary. When you remove programs that aren’t working, you can spend more time focusing on areas where your organization can improve and really make a difference for those impacted.

Why You Need to Consider New Strategies
Governments are constantly changing. It’s no longer enough to just be part of the compliance mindset. Instead, governments should work to embrace change throughout their organization and use it to grow and expand.

A good place to start is by looking into your financials and considering how to be more strategic in your approach. Not sure how? We can help! Contact us today to learn more about how you can outsource critical accounting functions of your governmental entity.

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