Public and Government organizations have very similar accounting operations to those in the commercial sector; cash management, analytical report tracking, creating budgets, as well as identifying and tracking operational costs. However solutions especially designed for commercial use often don’t meet the needs of government and public administrations as these organizations have to comply with stricter accounting practices like those put in place by governing bodies such as GASB.
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One of the challenges of meeting government accounting requirements is that there are so many different types of public sector organisations. Local, county, state, and federal levels represent just one aspect of the variety. In terms of which accounting software is appropriate, the more relevant difference can be seen in the multitude of functions that public sector bodies serve. Without attempting a comprehensive list, it's clear to see that there are major differences between the type of accounting features needed by: fire and police, health care and social service departments, tax related groups, public works departments, the courts, and various elected officials.
The challenge of meeting such disparate needs is compounded by the fact that there a major benefits to using a comprehensive system for organisations with a number of different departments. Integrated information allows public sector entities the ability to lower the total cost of ownership by creating efficiencies associated with keeping all relevant information within one centralised database. Hardware requirements are significantly reduced when records are not duplicated across multiple systems. There is a major time savings impact, as well, when staff can access information easily from within one single system.
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