Setting the record straight: The inefficiencies state and local governments must overcome

April 11, 2023 / #Unstuck Government, #State, Local, Education (SLED)

State and local governments find themselves hamstrung thanks to legacy systems and paper-based manual processes. But why is that the case? After all, we’re in the age of modern, cloud-based work management software that can do away with manual steps and automate entire workflows.

The truth is that many of the software options available to state and local governments aren’t made to solve their unique problems. In other words, they’re just not built for government application. So, even if a state or local entity implements one of these solutions, they still probably lack the essential flexibility and functionality necessary to accelerate processes and generate reports (mandatory or otherwise) with ease.

Not-so-robust reporting features

Ad-hoc reporting
Many software solutions simply can’t create ad hoc reports. Before implementation, a government agency often must work with the software developer for months to set up the types of reports that can be generated. If a different type of report is needed or wanted at any point, they might just have to move mountains to make generating that report possible.

Limited report options
Most platforms only let users report on certain, pre-defined data fields. This inability to report on any metadata risks gaps in information and unverified claims. It also means the software is unable to keep up with ever-changing state and federally mandated compliance reporting demands.

Third-party reporting required
If software lacks in-application reporting, then users must learn (and IT must support) third-party tools like Tableau or Power BI. This learning curve only adds to implementation time – not to mention increasing any frustrations over having to figure out yet another reporting tool.

Enterprise solutions don’t fit the government mold
Some state and local governments turn to software designed for the enterprise. While many of these solutions cater to industries that range from aviation and technology to manufacturing and healthcare, government use cases tend to be an afterthought, if considered at all.

And aside from the integration and implementation challenges that come with making an enterprise solution fit a public sector entity, most enterprise software options don’t have standard or out-of-the-box government reports.

In search of a one-size-fits-all reporting solution

There are universal reporting requirements that every state and municipality must adhere to, and these include:

  • The Auditor of State’s office must audit municipalities once every two years
  • Copies of the state single audit report package must be filed with state grantor agencies
  • Audit reports must be made accessible to the public
  • States must conduct an annual statewide audit (the Federal Single Audit)
  • Audit reports must contain findings and resolution recommendations
  • State agencies must continue to provide any additional information on planned or completed corrective actions identified in the Corrective Action Plan (CAP)

Still, the requirements on audit reporting, as well as other report types, differ wildly between states and municipalities. Out of the box, no single solution will provide exactly what any state or local entity needs in the precise way it’s needed.


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