Local government finance teams regularly face complex tasks, cumbersome processes, and shifting accounting standards and requirements. Their roles have become even more challenging in the unpredictable world we currently find ourselves, as municipalities take on more debt to accommodate budget shortfalls and attempt to navigate uncertainty while supporting their communities.
Constantly asked to ‘do more with less’, many organizations are looking for new ways to be more efficient. Enter debt and lease management software. This type of financial technology adds tremendous value to accounting and finance teams, providing powerful functionality developed specifically for the needs and challenges of local governments and higher education and driving increased productivity by automating resource-intensive or manual tasks. But the software’s real value is in the visibility and clarity it brings to your decision-making process.
Outside of payroll, debt service and lease payments typically make up the largest expense line items for local and state governments, and moving forward, taking on new debt is often a critical component to carrying out the organizations’ strategic initiatives. Whether managing your existing debt portfolio efficiently or optimizing your strategy to meet your future borrowing needs, below are four ways debt and lease management software can help improve your organization’s decision-making.
It brings all stakeholders to the table
An organization makes good decisions when the right people have access to the right information at the right time. This may be easy at the individual and team level, but for organizational lease and debt management, effective decision-making often requires collaboration and feedback from teams operating across multiple departments. Apart from the department actually using the leased asset, an individual lease may be touched and managed in some way by teams within the organization’s finance, procurement, legal, IT, budget, and audit departments, and that’s before the organization brings in its outside professionals and advisors. If organizations don’t have effective tools to knock down these siloes, each team may be forced to make a decision without seeing the whole picture.
With debt and lease management software, you can provide access to any number of stakeholders, both inside and outside your organization. This functionality allows you to leverage and communicate with department heads, consultants, legal counsel, board members, vendors, and auditors more efficiently and effectively.
It creates a single source of truth
It’s common (and wise) for team members to cross-train and share responsibilities to create redundancy and support, particularly when it comes to working with data and meeting hard-and-fast deadlines. But without the proper tools, sharing responsibilities and collaborating with multiple team members can create opportunities for errors, especially when data is entered manually, processed in multiple versions of static spreadsheets, and then emailed back and forth between team members. A supervisor can’t be everywhere at once, so a slight error that slips through the cracks may live on year-after-year, version-after-version, buried deep within rows and rows of data before coming to light at just the wrong time in the form of a bad projection, incorrect payment, or missed opportunity.
With debt and lease management software, you can stop human errors in their tracks because your entire team (and outside professionals) are working from one set of accurate, up-to-date data, accessible anytime from anywhere in a secure, cloud-based location. Because the software accommodates multiple users, your team members are constantly checking and updating each other’s work without even realizing it. With a universal system, you create a single source of truth, giving your team access to the two pillars of good decision-making—accurate data and complete visibility.
It ensures organizational compliance
A finance team that relies on inefficient or outdated processes can quickly find itself putting out small fires while missing the big ones. Public sector finance teams, in particular, must operate within a complex web of constantly evolving compliance and reporting standards and requirements. Implementing changes to those standards may require weeks (even months) of work, but other urgent commitments and resource constraints often prevent organizations from taking a proactive approach to their compliance efforts.
Debt and lease management software lightens the load by making it easier to monitor and prepare for new compliance requirements, such as GASB-87. Because your debt and lease management software should be developed for your particular industry, it incorporates input from a nationwide-network of clients and industry experts, helping you stay on top of looming changes before they take effect.
The best part, however, is implementation. Debt and lease management software provides a simple framework for driving and ensuring compliance. This roadmap helps you stay on top of your critical tasks and factors affecting compliance at implementation and sets the stage for ongoing compliance, too.
It enables a smooth transition
Even in the best run organizations, turnover among key leaders and staff can lead to chaos and mistakes.
Effectively managing your debt and lease portfolio following the departure of key personnel can be especially tricky. Departing staff members often take with them a deep reservoir of institutional knowledge and an intimate familiarity with the spreadsheets and tools used to manage your debt. In those instances, simply locating the right version of the spreadsheet may be a challenge, let alone finding someone who can use, update, and interpret the spreadsheet effectively enough to avoid disruption.
Debt and lease management software brings order to the chaos by providing an enterprise-level resource with nimble user access. With cloud-based storage, you can be sure your data is secure even in times of transition. Your institutional knowledge is preserved because it doesn’t belong to any one person—it’s right there in your audit trail and saved history.
DebtBook is an intuitive, cloud-based debt and lease management platform. Our software enables local government and nonprofit finance teams to bring clarity and efficiency to their financial reporting and decision-making processes. Would you like to see for yourself? Contact us now to schedule a demo.