Strategies to Help Your Government Run Smoothly


Managing a governmental entity, whether it be a city, county or school, is a complex matter. You must balance the needs and expectations for several departments, such as finance, human resources, programming, resource management and more. You are also responsible for keeping up with compliance, the latest industry news and the changing needs of your community members.

Ensuring these components run smoothly, both on their own and holistically at your organization, demands focused strategies. These strategies should help you drive a culture of effectiveness across operations. Unfortunately, just keeping operations running smoothly day-to-day is time consuming and absorbs resources, which leaves strategy and culture work at the bottom of the list of considerations.

The benefits of establishing a culture of effectiveness and being strategic are too great to leave for next year. The steps you take today can set you up to optimize your resources and operations – and take your government to new heights.

In each area of government, there are specific strategies leaders should consider to establish the foundation for smoother, more optimal operations. Set aside the time to pursue those strategies that will bring the most benefit to your government and solve your most pressing challenges. Understand that even one or two changes can have a noticeable impact.

Financial Strategies for Your Government

Establish Written Policies and Procedures.

How does your government operate? Is it correct and optimal considering your government’s circumstances? Written policies and procedures help you run your government more effectively – now and in the future. They also help you mitigate risks associated with staff turnover, ensure accountability from individuals who must adhere to those policies and procedures, and prevent potential fraud.

Developing such documentation should involve your leadership and the governing board, to provide guidance on what should be included. Additionally, these documents should be considered “living” documents. They must be updated regularly as improvements and changes are made.

Ensure You Operate with a Compliance Mindset.

Governments must stay vigilant about compliance, addressing any issues with urgency. Engaging a skilled business advisor can be helpful in ensuring you address your compliance questions and concerns with the best approach.

Services and resources that help governments assess and ensure compliance 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 auditoris 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.

Transform your government entity with a team of experienced advisors who understand the complexities and challenges you face. We’re here to guide you, help you remain compliant and maximize resources.

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 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 benefit from 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. Be open to new and innovative ideas as well as creative thinking when it comes to how you run 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 in-demand knowledge and skills applicable in the real world today. Interview businesses that specialize in different industries and ensure your programming is in line with the constantly changing, fast-paced world we live in. In addition, be on a constant lookout for areas where you can improve curriculum and programs so your offerings don’t become stagnant.

Align with Industry and Community 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. Look for programming and schedules to accommodate adult learners as well. Review your offerings on a regular basis to see what is still relevant, what needs an upgrade and what you should stop including. 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 Governments Need to Consider New Strategies

Governments are constantly changing. It’s no longer enough to simply follow regulatory compliance and operate as you always have. Governments should work to embrace change throughout their organization and use it to grow and expand. Consider a variety of departments as well as approaches to assess for improvements. It can be difficult to zero in on the right next step. Working with a government advisor can help you make the best choices for your organization, get more strategic overall and create a culture of effectiveness.

Finding the time and resources to get more strategic at your government can be a challenge. However, the value and return you get from making meaningful changes can help solve this challenge and get your operations running smoothly.

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