Thought Leadership Thursday
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Thought Leadership Thursday Article
Failing has never been an option for me in life, as I am sure is the same for many of you. That motto has been tested throughout my entire career, but never more so than the past two years. Leading a statewide office – one responsible for making sure the state’s bills are paid – through a global pandemic was a curveball that nobody could have predicted.
When the pandemic first reached Arkansas, my office was faced with making sure the state had enough cash on hand to weather what was then an unknown economic future. As much of the world began working remotely – including my staff – I challenged them to come up with innovative ways that we could respond to the needs of our constituents while also making sure we were continuing to propel the office forward into the 21st century.
One of the functions of the Arkansas Treasury is to receive funds from federal, state and local agencies and credit them to the proper accounts. We receive upwards of $70 million daily in deposits from various sources – checks, EFTs and cash.
During the pandemic, we created a program by which the agencies we serve could remotely deposit funds into the Treasury without ever having to come into our office. We devised innovative ways to keep the office running and keep communication between us and the agencies we serve top-notch.
The Treasury Receiving Interactive Program (TRIP) utilizes the same system banking institutions use, allowing state agencies to place scanners at their respective offices. They are then able to scan in checks and directly deposit the money into the State Treasury. Previously, representatives from roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions would have to physically drop off these checks to the Treasury.
Our TRIP program promoted safe interaction for those agency representatives who were still physically bringing checks to the office, at a time when social distancing became crucial for public health. We’ve had great feedback from the agencies we serve, with many saying the program saves them valuable time each day.
As many of us have figured out – or done the best we can – navigating doing the state’s business in a virtual world, this is just one of the ways that how we’ve adapted to the pandemic will forever change the course of how we do business.
I’m proud to say that we have helped Arkansas financially navigate through the pandemic and are continually monitoring the economic forecast to seek out innovative ways to help our state build up her funding reserves.