“Objective Case Management” cause reconciliation problems for local authorities…”
As from the summer of 2012, ATP will take over a number of tasks within state pensions, housing benefits, maternity benefits, incapacity benefits and child benefits paid in advance.
Tina Mollerup Laigaard is the Managing Director of Ascendi A/S, a specialist provider of help to public sector enterprises, including local authorities, within accounting and finances.
“The work we focus on is ‘clearing up’ and organizing efficient budget and accounts management,” says Laigaard.
“It’s now or never for local authorities to reconcile accounts for the five areas which ATP will take over in less than 2 years time”
“The local authorities are hard-pressed. They need to make big savings, have a shortage of qualified personnel in many areas and are constantly forced to take on new duties. That’s why it is vital to be able to control budgets and accounts to arrive at the methods and solutions they need to provide an overview, minimize error and save time, to be able to free resources for other important tasks.”
“I reckon that only about 25% of local authorities are fully aware that all the areas to be handed over to ATP have to be effectively reconciled in less than 2 years!
Take, for example, housing benefits. The use of automatic reconciliation here instead of manual reconciliation would yield benefits in a number of areas.”
“Government grants to local authorities are based on cash, not costs. That means that their means of control and maintaining overview can easily be lost”
“It’s much harder to control creditors, debtors, procurement and investment in such areas as council housing etc., when running the cash-based system. It’s easy to lose an overview of how costs are spread over the year, and we often see that future costs are not taken into account. “Objective Case Management” gives local authorities a lot of problems when it comes to reconciliation …”
“An effective reconciliation tool provides a number of benefits, and makes it easier to quality manage and validate selected areas”
“Reconciliation of bank, inter-company transactions, payroll, housing benefits etc. is very time-consuming, and modern technology can be a valuable help. Not only can a very large element of the reconciliation process be automated, but management gain new and better control tools. For example: reports and lists can be printed in minutes, giving management and auditors a fast, complete overview of such items as status, open and reconciled entries, not to mention details of who has reconciled any given entry and when, and whether it was done automatically or manually.”
“This improves the chances of being able to quality manage and validate selected areas,” Explains Laigaard.
“I reckon that less than half of all local authorities currently use automatic reconciliation”
“External consultants and auditors continue to propose or demand that local authority reconciliation ought to be automated in all areas, to create better, faster overview and enhanced control. In addition, it saves time for everyone involved, and boring, trivial work can be largely done automatically,” concludes Laigaard.
Ascendi A/S in brief
Ascendi undertakes strategic and operational tasks for the biggest public sector enterprises in Denmark, and therefore has extensive and detailed expertise within financial management and accounts at government, regional and local authority levels. Ascendi has opted to focus on three specialist business areas:
- Development within the fields of accounting and financial management
- Restoring and underpinning accounting and payroll
- Boosting accounting and finance functions