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3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Department’s Processes

By Jean McGann, CPA 

There are never enough hours in the day. It’s safe to say we all feel this way from time to time, regardless of the profession we’re in. But from what I’ve seen as a consultant for local governments, I know this statement rings especially true for those who work within the finance or human resources department of a municipality or government organization. 

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, I have encouraging news for you: there are a few simple things you can do to help your department function more efficiently. 

1. Review the structure of your department’s processes. 

Having a consistent process for key functions such as payroll and hiring is not only good practice—it’s critical to keeping your organization in compliance with state and federal laws. Evaluating the structure of your processes is a wise place to start. First, ask yourself: How consistent are our processes? Is hiring, for instance, happening in the same way for all employees? 

It’s also important to verify that the right data or information is being recorded and in a way that makes sense. For example, if you’re tracking information to meet the requirements of your equal employment opportunity program and the Fair Labor Standards Act, are you able to deliver the information quickly if the Department of Labor were to request it?

Finally, look at your people. How are your team’s roles and responsibilities divided? Do you have the right individuals performing the right tasks? Have you limited access to sensitive employee and/or financial information to only those who need to know?

2. Eliminate redundancies. 

This may seem elementary, but it’s worth a mention. If you’re constantly running from one fire to the next, it can be difficult to truly know who’s doing what. Mapping out each of your key processes, such as those related to payroll, purchasing decisions, accounts payable approval, hiring, employee evaluations, etc., can help you identify where redundancies or duplication exist. Eliminating these can help you and your team save precious time on a daily basis.  

3. Evaluate your technology. 

Technology should facilitate your team’s workflow; it should never be a roadblock. Are your software platforms giving you everything you need? Could incorporating a new platform or technology help your team do its job more efficiently? 

Recently, we consulted with a municipality that had outgrown its software. Our client was seeking a platform that would enable the municipality to interact with both businesses and residents online. The solution ended up being a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and it completely revolutionized their payroll, human resources, accounts payable, and permitting processes. One of the most significant time-saving benefits they noted was that their building inspectors no longer had to sign off on permits in the field! 

Ready to empower your team?

With consistent, streamlined processes that are supported by the right technology, your team is positioned to thrive, even when budgets or timelines are tight. Our team at AEM Financial Solutions can help you make it happen. We provide a Process Evaluation that includes the three steps I’ve mentioned here as well as access to CPAs and consultants who support you with operational and financial expertise. 

If you’d like to explore your options for establishing an efficient workflow, please give us a call today at 952.835.9090.