A Sea of Change in Government Reporting

A Sea of Change in Government Reporting

No business has been affected in the world of business reporting by the new reporting requirements like the government has. Rules and regulation overhauls, from local, state and federal agencies, are requiring a new way of reporting. Consider these:

– In California, the state controller’s office issued new requirements for elected officials and public employees in more than 400 cities. These municipalities now have to report salary ranges and benefits, showing a framework for how public funds are being used. The act was in response to the city of Bell’s scandal, where eight officials have been arrested for misappropriating funds.

– At the first session of the University of Oregon Senate this year, the hottest topic wasn’t controversial classes, grade inflation or university rankings. Instead, it was reporting on athletics and financial expenditure. The senate was attempting to comply with an earlier motion that stated the university must establish a detailed, department-wide, publicly accessible online database of financial expenditure data.

– Across the country, all states are required to report to the federal government any licensed health care workers who have been sanctioned. A ProPublica investigation found a huge disparity in the number of unreported pharmacists and nurses. Twenty-one states and Puerto Rico were not in compliance, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration is still trying to sort out what reports are missing.

These are just a few examples of how new rules and regulations are affecting business reporting in the very sector that has created these laws. Three different industries, in three different regions of the country, facing new requirements. The common theme for all these instances is to get to the point of showing transparency.

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Government employees understand their responsibility to demonstrate how the government functions, and they know that reporting is an important part of that equation. And although the aforementioned stories illustrate that we’re far from complete transparency, there is good news on the horizon.

Making the effort to guarantee reporting transparency, many states are making the efforts to establish their own resources. One model is in California, where the state has created the “Reporting Transparency in Government Website.” Visitors to the site are greeted by a message from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who says he recognizes the importance of making data available to the state’s citizens. The details of thousands of government contracts, with everything from salaries to pensions to travel expense claims, can be found on this site.

How will all these departments and agencies go about meeting transparency goals? With the right government reporting software, of course. Reporting software is helping government entities generate useful, accessible, and easy-to-read reports that will help them maintain their accountability. And that’s good news for all of us, no matter what industry we work in or where we live.