Following compliance guidelines is an important part of what a procurement officer does. By adhering to guidelines, procurement officers can ensure that their department is free from ill-advised spending, corruption, and fraud. Here are the top five compliance traps that procurement officers should be aware of, and some tips to avoid them:
1. Rushed procurement
When the process is rushed, things are bound to fall through the cracks. Procurement agents should make sure that they have plenty of time to go through a proper bidding and selection process. A rushed process may open the procurement officer to picking a vendor that’s not the best fit or failing to follow other selection guidelines. By standing their ground and insisting on enough time to follow all procurement steps, officers will help themselves by allowing the process to flow properly from beginning to end.
2. Contract compliance
Procurement officers have so much on their plates, that keeping track of everything can be overwhelming. However, it’s not enough to simply follow the procurement process, officers must also follow up throughout the project and make sure that vendors are actually doing what their contract indicates. This will ensure that governments get their money’s worth and that vendors that don’t comply with contract stipulations do not get rehired.
3. Lack of standardization
There is security and transparency in a standardized procurement process. The procurement process should be the same for every project. While each project of the course will be different, there should be a set of guidelines and steps to follow. This will help procurement agents prove that all vendors applied and were selected through the same process, reducing the opportunity for any corruption or fraud claims.
While it may be tempting to do a favor here or there for a city council member or higher-ranking official, this opens the door to accusations of corruption and fraud. It’s vital that all procurement projects are treated the same, and that no favors are granted to any individuals. This will help procurement agents avoid any favoritism or impropriety allegations.
5. No purchase order
Part of compliance is accurately tracking the budget and spending. By ensuring that the proper paperwork has been filed for each project and that a purchase order is attached to every item or service procured, government agents can prove that spending is on track. When money goes missing, people get nervous. Even if the spend is approved, by simply making sure that all expenditures can be connected with proper purchase orders, procurement agents will save themselves the headache of having to go back and explain any undocumented money spent.
It’s a trap!
Procurement agents can avoid these top five compliance traps by simply following set guidelines and sticking to the procurement process. This will eliminate any concerns of improper spending, corruption, or fraud, and make procurement for any agency much easier.
What traps have you come across? What compliance tips do you have to help avoid these traps?