Combating debt: 3 things the public sector can learn from private organizations

November 9, 2017

The national debt, which has grown to almost $20 trillion in recent years, has been a topic of conversation for decades. What many Americans aren’t aware of is the looming debt crisis with many state and local governments. In 2013, the Census Bureau estimated that $1.13 trillion of the debt is on a state level and about $1.82 trillion is local debt. As you can imagine, this is just the tip of the iceberg…as the American population grows and ages spending will as well, especially with retirement, healthcare and education.

In order to combat our growing debt, government entities and agencies can benefit by taking a few tips from the private sector:

  1. Take advantage of emerging technologies. Automating antiquated processes takes an initial capital investment but the benefits and cost-saving in the long term far outweigh startup costs. In the long run better technology means greater efficiency and happier customers.
  2. Utilize available data to find the best solutions. The modern procurement officer has the tools to be smarter than ever, with the quantitative and qualitative resources available these days there’s no reason the public sector can’t get competitive prices like their private sector counterparts.
  3. Be held accountable. While the public sector doesn’t have shareholders to hold them accountable, they have taxpayers who expect that they will make good financial decisions. Researching all available options before making a decision is key.

The bottom line is government budgets are consistently getting reduced or cut, but they’re still asked to accomplish the same goal with diminished resources. By operating more like a corporation and leveraging innovation to maximize returns they can increase productivity and save taxpayer dollars in the long run.

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