5 Must-Do’s to Maximize Shared Services

5 Must-Do’s to Maximize Shared Services

Across the country, local public entities find themselves in the same predicament: trying to do more with fewer resources, smaller staffs, and greater demands.

In today’s environment, these issues are virtually universal, in cities, towns, villages, and school districts within a given county—and adjacent counties.

On top of these constraints is a steady stream of unfunded federal and state mandates that public entities must implement, with ever fewer dollars to cover day-to-day overhead expenses.

It should come as no surprise that more and more entities are looking to work together to eliminate duplication of services and reduce unnecessary overhead. As a result, shared-services initiatives are gaining popularity, ranging from public works, public safety, self-insured healthcare plans, and cooperative purchasing programs.

The ability to join forces can have an immediate and beneficial financial impact. The one impediment is jurisdiction of control. Entities involved in sharing services should have a long-term perspective of outcome and address this clearly upfront—and in writing.

The need to consider or expand shared services may not be desirable, but rather an absolute necessity to survive. This is especially true for smaller entities within larger jurisdictions. In the minds of taxpayers, a proper business attitude is to be applied, rather than an emotional wrestling match over control.

Under a shared-services agreement, the concern of lost identity should not be raised; the initiative is a joint effort in providing/receiving services for the participants’ mutual benefit. In general, the initiatives should focus on saving money and/or generating revenue.

Here are 5 financial shared-service initiatives to consider: 

1. Conducting a universal banking services Request for Proposal. A banking RFP would create a large volume of buying power to use in negotiating competitive pricing on bank fees and deposit rates. A collaboration like this could include villages, towns, cities, school districts, and the county government, all at once. The end result could lead to hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars in savings and or additional interest income. rfpPrep® by three+one® is the first-ever electronic banking RFP (Request for Proposal) service, entirely online and specifically designed to facilitate the bidding of banking services. Visit our rfpPrep site for more resources. 

2. County governments can be a source of purchasing the short-term paper of related entities as they come to market. As local villages, towns, and school districts issue Bond Anticipation Notes (BAN) or Tax Anticipations Notes (TAN), a county could be a bidder of such notes, as allowed by legal statutes, for investment purposes. As such, the county can be an additional bidder, helping to lead to lower rates and greater competitive pricing on cash for investment. 

3. Counties can provide additional resources and expertise through their finance offices in helping smaller local entities identify and manage their cash. It would still be expected that associated entities would control their cash, but alleviate the stress associated in identifying and investing cash. 

4. Combining technology efforts can be effective and beneficial both in financial and banking transactions, especially in the flow and protection of collections and payments. 

5. Finally, consider consolidating tax collection. In the future, all tax collections will be automated. The need to have a counter or have the control of check collection will become obsolete. Having one point of contact for tax payment and options payment can lead to major personnel and banking cost savings. 

Sharing services can be pathway to strengthening the financial well-being of all those involved. Let three+one help you in setting up and managing your shared-services initiatives.  What may seem as a major undertaking can be simplified with through our proprietary liquidity analysis and modeling capabilities.

As always, our mission is to help public entities to do more in serving their communities.

 

Prepare for Change

Prepare for Change

At recent GFOA conference, we surveyed attendees and discovered a startling disparity in the experience levels among municipal officers as 25% were comparatively new to their positions. With 50% of finance officials now age 55 or older, preparing for your entity’s leadership depth is essential.
 
In the near future the largest group of public finance officials will be new to their office. Today’s vlog introduces 5 key strategies to prepare you & your office for those changing demographics.
Providing Solutions

Providing Solutions

At our core, three+one® is a liquidity analytics, data & tech company, and what better way to demonstrate our savvy in FinTech than to communicate with you using new media tools like vlogs? Informing the national marketplace about the value of time-horizon data and liquidity analysis will be better visualized using this new format. At three+one® we are changing the conversation on financial responsibility with this exciting new enterprise!
 
Introducing the first in an ongoing monthly series, join us for a conversation as Garrett Macdonald vlogs about the necessity of solutions-based approaches in turning your cash into your most powerful asset.
Lights, Camera, Cashvest!

Lights, Camera, Cashvest!

We were thrilled to introduce our new website to the world last month, and now we have the cherry on the cake!  Our marketing team at Steven James Media Group has delivered the new cashvest® by threeplusone® overview video that features our founders along with two of our valued clients explaining what we do , how we do it, and what results are available for public entities and institutions of higher education across the nation. 

Scott German is the Genesee County Treasurer, New York State, and Maria Walls holds the same position in Beaufort County, South Carolina.  We sincerely thank them for their generosity of time and spirit in their efforts helping us explain the process of using cashvest® by threeplusone® and what our partnership with their respective counties has achieved for their bottom lines.

We do not use the term ‘partnership’ frivolously when describing our relationships.  When working with a client, we are fully vested in helping them achieve their goals and aspirations.  At threeplusone® we intimately understand the challenges and increasing pressures that face public sector officials and financial officers in higher education these days.  We have served in the same capacity ourselves as public representatives and university overseers of fiscal operations.  There are new regulatory oversights constantly appearing on the radar, time-crunches that only seem to tighten but never loosen, and a host of security and protective measures that must be considered in this age of ubiquitous social media and digital finance. 

cashvest® by threeplusone® exists to find you new revenue sources from your existing cash holdings, to help ease the pain points that we know are faced by public officials and higher education officers, and to strengthen your relationships with the financial and banking institutions with whom you conduct business.  Feel free to contact us for more information at threeplusone.us  

A Fed Surprise?

A Fed Surprise?

Last quarter, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that the Fed did not anticipate increasing short-term interest rates for the remainder of 2019. 

Mind you that these comments came at a point of time when signs of a possible economic slowdown was the talk of many economists, due to an inverted yield curve. That’s usually a sign of a possible recession approaching, good reason for the buzz on Wall Street. 

Having said this, the underlying signs of the U.S. economy appear stronger than expected, with first-quarter growth above expectations, coming in at a positive annualized rate of 3.2%  and unemployment hitting 3.6%. 

In addition to the job growth, productivity continues to expand well above forecasts,  while inflation remains within the Fed’s range. Couple that with the fact that first-quarter earnings are, for the most part, also beating expectations. That’s helped to make gains in the stock market, following a disappointing second half of 2018.

Weighing all these facts, I think there is a possibility the Fed may reverse its course and slip in one more 25-basis-point increase on Fed fund rates this year. 

I realize that this is a contrarian view, but the possibility does exits. Even if I’m wrong, cash will still have greater value than it did a year ago. Your cash should be earning over 2.0%, leading to a source of income that can have an impact on this both year’s and next year’s budget. 

At three+one®, we continue to see public entities and higher Ed institutions with higher cash levels than last year, a trend that has been building steadily over the past four years.

While another rate hike by the Fed would be a surprise for most, the biggest surprise of all could be the reaction of those you serve if they learn that their tax/tuition dollars were earning little or nothing. 

Don’t let that happen.

Let three+one® help you maximize the value of all your cash through cashVest® , our proprietary liquidity analysis. By applying our analysis and the power of your financial institutions, the results could be surprisingly positive.

The Power of Cash

The Power of Cash

Imagine the power that cash holds in today’s marketplace. With short-term rates still hovering above 2.0%, the income generated on idle cash can have a major impact on one’s entity and those they serve 

As we enter the budget season mid-year or at year end, the challenge of stretching tax dollars often leads to less resources or decisions of where to cut, especially when tax caps can easily be outweighed by insurance premium increases, pension obligations, cost of living increases, or other essential services. 

Too many times the frame of mind in forming a budget comes down to cost controls, rather than revenue-producing opportunities. While this may be understandable at one level, it is not a mind-set that will move your entity forward.  At best, you will be in constant ‘treading water’ mode.  


A great example is the value of one’s cash. So many see the need to have idle cash available for ‘just in case’ circumstances rather than viewing cash as an asset to generate additional income and opportunities. 

At three+one® we can help a public entity find new sources of revenue through all levels of cash. In 2019, three+one®’s flagship service cashVest® will provide proprietary liquidity analysis and data that will result in over $100 million of new revenue to communities that will lead to:

  • Closing a budget gap
  • Preventing additional tax increases
  • Providing additional teachers, police, firefighters & EMTs 
  • Technology upgrades
  • New community services 
  • After-school programs
  • Student field trips 
  • Arts & Cultural community events 
  • New musical instruments 
  • Enhanced sports Programs 
  • Continuing Education & Online Learning

Obviously, the list can go on.  Simply put, the power of cash can have a wonderful impact on one’s budget today and in the future. The time is now to have a conversation with the team at three+one® about our cashVest® liquidity analysis service. The result could make all the difference between stagnation and growth in your 2019 and 2020 budgets.