In April 2022, the Department of FISCal (FI$Cal), in partnership with the Department of General Services (DGS), implemented an innovative new feature that allows suppliers and departments to quickly identify the payment status for procurements. This new Purchase Order Payment History search tool allows vendors, subcontractors, state departments and the general public to search for procurement-related payments made to vendors by state departments within the FI$Cal system.
In the past, vendors would request payment information, such as a pending payment status or a purchase order date, by submitting a separate request to each state department with whom they contracted. This would require departments to extract data from their internal systems and compile it in a useable format for each request. Since each request would be handled using the department’s internal system, compiling such data often required significant staff time and resources. Now, with this new payment search tool, all publicly accessible payments made by state departments through FI$Cal are searchable online.
Implementing this new feature is part of FI$Cal and DGS’ continued efforts to promote government transparency and provide insights into the state’s payment process by providing payment dates, payment status, dollar amounts and recipients (vendors paid) from FI$Cal departments. In designing the new search functionality, FI$Cal partners used Microsoft Power Business Intelligence and sourced data from FI$Cal’s data warehouse. This provides additional flexibility to more quickly and efficiently enhance the tool’s search capacity with new options and filters, allowing for a streamlined approach to handling large amounts of complex data.
One critically important aspect of this new search is that it gives subcontractors, including certified small and disabled veteran businesses, the ability to track payments made through FI$Cal to prime suppliers, which can further aid subcontractors’ efforts in receiving prompt payment from the prime suppliers. Additionally, by providing transparency into the payment process, departments may be able to streamline business processes by identifying areas of deficiency, such as late payments, or areas of success, such as timely payments. Through this tracking, departments may be able to identify more efficient payment processes.
The FI$Cal Purchase Order Payment History search feature has been demonstrated to small and disabled veteran business councils and networks, state purchasing officials and select business vendors. Departments are now sharing the tool as a resource on their accounting websites. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with a common appreciation for having a self-service search with useful information to assist in tracking payments to vendors. Going forward, FI$Cal will continue to solicit feedback from stakeholders to mature the tool by adding additional useful information that meets the needs of our customers.