Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accountability and Transparency Have Never Been Easier!


You are likely somewhat aware of the current expense management challenges we are having in the Senate up here in Canada. Yeah, we're friendly alright, just a little forgetful sometimes, and occasionally unsure of the rules. Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy are the current Senators having serious challenges arising from an audit underway by Deloitte. The Board of Internal Economy Committee is involved, as is the RCMP. That's lots of people spending tax dollars ensuring that others spending tax dollars are held accountable.

I guess that makes sense. Or does it?

Seems to me that accountability starts with knowing the rules and then being transparent about the application of them. And being able to track how people do in applying them. People can be as accountable as they want to be within the rules as they understand them. Sometimes they can be misinterpreted. So, now that the rules of which expenses are claimable by Senators for Senate business are becoming clearer, how do we make that transparent enough to measure?

Let's make them all use a new receipt capture app!! As soon as an expense is incurred, they MUST snap a picture of the receipt, tag it with the details, and then they can securely send it off to the government accounting system. Someone there with authority pushes the YES or NO button on whether it complies based on the data captured and input from the receipt capture system. No delays in figuring out if the expense qualifies or not. We don't have to spend millions later figuring out if the millions they've already spent qualifies as a legitimate expense or not.

Regardless of your position on how transparent the government needs to be in sharing this information, accurately capturing receipt data at its source is the beginning of disciplined expense management policy. This applies to all organizations, public or private.

Hey, it's not like receipt capture apps were created to save taxpayers millions, but it sure may end up helping the cause!

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