Travis County, TX: Best Practice Using Electronic Signatures
The Travis County Auditor’s Office created an online, fillable form with digital signature capabilities to streamline the process of obtaining “related party” disclosures from current and former County employees in accordance with Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement (GASB) No. 62 requirements. The single form incorporated both the actual disclosure certification as well as the list of vendors for the employee to review and check off to indicate any association with a particular vendor.
The prior related party disclosure process was cumbersome and inefficient for both the employee and the Auditor’s Office staff, which contributed to delays in receiving the completed disclosures. Before the form’s rollout, the Auditor’s Office would email two files to employees for completion, the disclosure form and the vendor list. Employees would review the vendor list and indicate any vendor with whom there was a relationship and save that file. Then, the employee would complete the form and manually sign it. The employee would then return both to the Auditor’s Office via inter-office mail, fax, or scanning/emailing. Once received, the Auditor’s Office would create a digital file of the returned disclosures to archive them.
The project was designed as a process improvement initiative to address the following shortcomings:
- Replace manual signatures with digital signatures
- Reduce or eliminate any unnecessary or redundant process activities
- Reduce paper use associated with the process
- Expedite disclosure submissions
GFOA recommends that state and local governments continue to improve electronic access to their services and information by other government entities and the public. When the identity of contact and/or the contents of the information received must be authenticated, the use of a secure form of electronic signatures is encouraged.
Melinda Grahmann (right) General Ledger/Disbursements Auditing Division Manager the division responsible for related parties reporting, Donna Scarbrough (left) Form Developer.