in government, Ireland, software

How not to lose mail; how not to lose €3.6 billion

The Department of Finance loses mail. When you are responsible for cash flows amounting to billions of euros per year. I used to lose mail too. Really, I was very disorganised. I then bought this scanner. Every so often I take the pile of mail and scan it in. I can sort it on my computer. I save it to my Dropbox although I am having misgivings about this, security- and confidentiality-wise. The software that comes with the scanner OCRs the documents, so now I can find anything I need using my computer’s built in search feature.

This is not the first time the Department of Finance lost something important. In 2011, the Department ‘lost’ €3.6 billion. Again, there is technology readily available, ordinary accounting standards, adapted to the needs of government, called International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

In the context of a major government department, this kind of stuff is really cheap. It makes it simple to organise vast amounts of information. Why isn’t it being done? Bureaucracy, I suppose you could say. But the current circumstances suggest it is more likely that it’s an unwillingness to keep proper, permanent records that is stopping progress.

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