Consultation in Municipal Finance: The Rundown
Public finance is a complex field that frequently necessitates private consultation. In the realm of public finance, a consultant provides two major benefits: reduced costs and improved results. This comes from their ability to perform tasks in ways that internal employees would not be able to do and their ability to contribute things that are best taken from an outside source.
Public finance consultants are utilized because they can reduce costs by several means. While it is possible to maintain a public finance department, this is far more expensive than outsourcing financing to a consultant and it is generally outside the purview of all but the largest and most wealthy municipal divisions. Keeping a consultant on retainer means you have the benefits of a financial department when you need them.
Accurate Reporting and Advice
Consultants can be hired as a means of guaranteeing more accurate financial reporting. It is entirely possible for internal employees to perform financial reporting. Many departments rely on software to fill in blanks in expertise. These are very limited in their utility. Many forms of financial reporting grow complex when circumstances are taken into account and quickly outstrip the abilities of employees and software to address.
A consultant in this situation can take the details into account to provide much more accurate and thorough reporting to underwriters. They can turn acceptable reports into excellent reports and allow departments to set budgets with much lower risk. The advice consultants can provide underwriters is also invaluable. While underwriters can take steps to educate themselves it can be very difficult to do so in a sufficiently-comprehensive manner. Comprehensive expertise is, in this case, what the consultant offers.
Perhaps the most singularly powerful thing financial consultants can offer is an outside source of support in times of heavy workload or emergency situations. Some circumstances demand more work than a department is necessarily equipped to perform under time constraints. Trying to pull together large or complex projects will frequently produce this problem. It can be difficult to cope with this internally for several reasons, not the least of them being budget limitations associated with allowed hours. It can necessitate employees doing jobs outside their description and take time away from their prescribed duties.
An outside consultant can intervene and take on financial work as a form of relief as well as assist underwriters with immediate situations of greater complexity than they are prepared for. In this case, both the hours and expertise are most easily found in an outside source. Consultants are that outside source.
Consultants make themselves valuable by responding with agility to dynamic financial situations. They serve as both solutions to complex projects as well as stopgaps for emergency situations. Whether a department is facing a situation outside their collective or procedural expertise or a situation outside their capabilities, a retained consultant can step in and resolve the situation. This is how financial consultants interface with public finance, and it is also why they are so valuable.
Stanley Stone is the president of stanleypstone.com. He is a Certified Independent Public Finance Advisor (CIPFA) and an associate member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers. Stanley loves the theater and attends many plays, operas and ballets each year in New York City.