Thursday, December 23, 2010

Municipalities eager to automate RP

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Municipal governments are showing strong interest in purchasing automated remittance solutions, and it appears that the sluggish economy -- and its impact on municipal budgets -- is the primary reason, according to Tony Rapaglia, regional manager for Creditron ( Municipalities are looking to automate functions such as tax and utility payment processing, Rapaglia explains, adding that he expects the strong demand to carry over into the new year.

"Especially after the recent elections, municipalities are extremely conscious about the amount of money they are spending on back-office functions such as remittance processing," Rapaglia says. "Many are focused like a laser-bean on cutting costs and improving service to taxpayers. They recognize that they can pass along any savings from more efficient processing to their taxpayers."

So why is remittance processing, in particular, getting so much attention from municipalities?

For starters, Rapaglia notes that automated remittance processing frees up municipal workers to focus on other activities -- which is critical as they look to become more taxpayer-focused and make do with less staff. Automated remittance processing also helps municipalities make deposits much quicker, delivering immediate gains in funds availability. Even greater gains are on tap for those municipalities that deposit items electronically to their banks via Check 21. And municipalities are drawn to the improved security that an automated remittance system provides compared to paper processes. "In an automated environment, less people handle the checks, and there's less opportunity to lose them," Rapaglia explains, noting a recent case where a courier misplaced paper checks.

"Municipal budgets are certainly tight, but more of them are recognizing that they can achieve big savings by spending relatively little money on an automated remittance system," Rapaglia concludes.

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