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Treasurer intros system meant to speed up payments

Treasurer Falema’o Pili has proposed a Streamlining Paperless System with the belief this will speed up the process of paying vendors their long overdue payments, and will also save money for the government as it goes live in April 2013.


Falema’o announced this during the ASG cabinet meeting held last week, where he announced that the Treasury Department is going to launch this efficient, streamlined paperless system.


In 2011, there was a study conducted for the purpose of finding ways to improve and speed up the purchasing process and the conclusion of the study was that paperless was the most efficient way, he explained.


“We are in an age of technology today, where we need to take advantage of the latest models that are already set up,” he said. Every year $150,000 to $200,000 is spent on paper and ink, yet with this system that money can be saved.


Falema’o — in a power point presentation — noted that filling out Purchase Request (PR) forms can take two to four hours — to drive around to collect invoices, and then up to 30 minutes to fill out the forms, then more time (days) are spent getting the authorized signatures, and aside from that there’s the routing of the papers between offices, a visit to the budget office 15 times a week inquiring if the PR is ready — and all of this takes too much time.


However with the paperless system, there is much more efficiency, and not as lengthy a waiting period as the manual system.


A brochure provided to the directors explained that this new workflow process allows for individuals whose signatures are required for a PR/PO, and entails a simple login with an email which allows the job to be done without paper or pen.


Using the report tracking module minimizes the time someone spends running around finding paperwork and this is where transparency comes into play. This tracking module allows the government to better analyze the strengths and weaknesses of departments — because having a PR held up in one department for more than a month is not part of the normal business practice — especially if the product was delivered before payment, says the brochure.


Kirk Aab, the IT manager for Treasury conducted a power point slide presentation, and noted that if a PR is in need of an approval, an email is sent to that director informing the director that their signature is needed — and if it’s a past due a reminder will be sent again noting there are pending items.


This system also has a way of checking where a PR might be stuck. It’s simple — just type in the PR number and you will see the history of the PR and where it is currently stuck, and how long it has been sitting there with that person or department, said Aab.


All this system requires is a web-based, government wide network and internet access to approve or disapprove the purchase requests according to the brochure.


Following the presentation, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga urged Treasury Department, Human Resources, Budget and Planning Office and Procurement officials to meet and go over this new system.