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Every year, Transparency International releases its Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2013, the organization rated 177 countries on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the least corrupt and 0 being the most.  The United States scored a 73, placing it 19th, snuggled between Japan and Uruguay.  Unfortunately, 69% of countries had a score of less than 50, indicating serious corruption problems.

While many people associate ERP software with large multinational corporations, it has a place in the government sector as well. Technology as a whole, and ERP software specifically, can provide transparency to the public that in turn reduces systemic corruption.

In its most basic form, ERP software can shift government agencies from a manual, paper-based system to an electronic system. Paper can be lost, pencil can be erased and information collected can vary widely. With an electronic system, there is always a trail and systems are backed up. Truly “losing” one’s electronic information simply isn’t possible if systems and safeguards are set up correctly. If documents are altered, the electronic trail will show this as well. Electronic systems can also help ensure that the same information is collected every time for a repeatable process.

When electronic systems are made available for the public’s review and audit, government agencies are held accountable for their quality of work and spending.  For example, when the public finds imbalances such as high spending on government employee perks vs. low spending on public utilities, they can assess whether a need for change exists.  As Harry S. Truman stated, “Secrecy and a free, democratic government don’t mix.”

Written by Annalynn Evenstad, Associate General Counsel & Contracting Department Manager at Panorama Consulting Solutions