Fast-tracking reporting for optimal public sector resource deployment
By Stephan van der Merwe Product Manager – Public Sector at CaseWare Africa, a division of AdaptIT
Well I think you would all agree that South Africa has seldom had a greater need for compliance in reporting, fiscal responsibility and transparency than it does at present. But compliance with National Treasury reporting processes and requirements may not be making optimal use of your public sector resources at hand.
As our country strives to transition to more efficient government processes in an Industry 4.0 environment, automation, and a range of next generation technologies, present solutions to the reporting challenges currently facing provincial and national government departments.
The cumbersome process of preparing financial statements is a key challenge especially in the case where this is done manually – which is quite common. Doing it this way requires extensive time and effort: it also presents the very real risk of human error creeping in. Should an error occur, skills resources across the relevant departments and National Treasury itself have to be deployed to identify the error and investigate whether it represents mismanagement or fraud. This results in a time devouring exercise involving the valuable resource of senior skills that must focus on drafting and checking reports and investigating errors, leaving virtually no time for them to apply their expertise to analysing, probing and understanding the reports.
“Automation presents an immediate solution to the challenge of maximising high-level financial skills resources, while at the same time supporting compliance and transparency”
It is incredible that this still happens when one word solves the entire problem – Automation!
This presents an immediate solution to the challenge of maximising high-level financial skills resources, while at the same time supporting compliance and transparency. Departments can provide National Treasury with reports in the required formats with minimal resources and effort, while still supporting the drive towards more efficient, transparent management of taxpayers’ money. Not only can automation slash the time you take to import data to the necessary formats; it also eliminates the risk of human error in reporting. The result is that investigations are limited to those cases that legitimately require investigation. In addition, automation supports reporting throughout the financial year, enhancing your decision-making processes through the availability of up to date information.
CaseWare Africa has launched and refined an efficient template for the Modified Cash standard developed by the Office of the Accountant General in National Treasury to mandate the principles by which national and provincial departments should present their financial accounts. CaseWare’s templates automate the onerous process of compiling financial statements in a prescribed format, allowing national and provincial departments to produce statements that comply with the guidelines issued by National Treasury with the minimum of extra work, and with increased accuracy.
“CaseWare’s templates are an excellent example of private sector innovation to support public sector efficiencies and transparency.”
The Modified Cash template can be set up to draw the necessary data from the state’s central accounting system, Basic Accounting System (BAS), as well as the management information system, Vulindlela. This information is used to populate Microsoft Word and Excel reports automatically from a single basic data source, eliminating the challenge of version control. If trial balances are updated during the process of creating the financial statements, it is easy to re-import the data into the Excel or Word reports.
Now available to South African national and provincial departments, CaseWare’s templates are an excellent example of private sector innovation to support public sector efficiencies and transparency.
Brief Bio: Stephan van der Merwe, Product Manager, Public Sector, CaseWare Africa – a division of AdaptIT division
Stephan is an immensely experienced executive in the financial services industry. He was an audit manager at the Auditor General where he served large public entities. His tenure there was the catalyst that developed his passion for auditing in the public sector.
He joined CaseWare Africa in 2008 (at that time the company was CQS Holdings and renamed in 2017 to CaseWare Africa following its acquisition by Adapt IT). Stephan’s personal industry experience has helped him to apply his knowledge to CaseWare’s products and add value that is not only technically sound but also industry relevant.