|The utility utilizes Microsoft Access for all accounts receivable, and IBM I-Series for all payroll and accounts payable, including a chart of accounts. The accounting file in each system is accessible on any finance staff computer throughout the building. There is strong segregation of duties in the accounting department, including an accounts receivable clerk, an accounts payable clerk, payroll, a cashier, grants staff, and a treasurer who provides purchasing approvals, budgets, supervision, and reconciliation to finance staff.
Utility bills are sent out within the first week of every month and are due for payment 10 days after mailing. If payment is not made, notices are issued and the accounts receivable clerk contacts the customer by phone to notify them of the delinquency and attempts to identify solutions to the payment issue. According to the community’s collection policy, if payment is not received within 20 days, service is to be terminated until payment is made in full. Subsequent to termination, if payment is still not received, the account is turned over to the Metlakatla Tribal Court for collections, then Ketchikan Credit Bureau or District Court of Alaska for collections. Currently, terminations are not being carried out, though upon 90-day delinquency, the account is being turned over to the Metlakatla Tribal court for collection. Accounts are not being forwarded to Ketchikan Credit Bureau or District Court of Alaska for payment. The current 90-day delinquency collection rate is approximately 47 percent. As the community does not wish to utilize shut-offs as a means of collecting on utility debt, they are considering revising the collections policy to reflect this. Further collections tools will be necessary to improve the delinquency rate.
The community receives many payments in cash. When cash is received, the cashier notes payment in the general fund account as an accounts receivable, tallies and itemizes each payment, and deposits cash into the bank daily. There is no cash disbursement.
Each employee is responsible for a timecard, which is signed by two supervisors (the direct supervisor, and a Metlakatla Indian Community official). The timecards are tallied by the payroll clerk and entered into the accounting system, along with any leave slips. Payroll is processed after garnishments and withholdings are factored in, and checks are signed by the appropriate supervisor, and then distributed to employees.
Reconciliation is completed monthly in phases first by the treasurer and then entered into the system by the finance director.
When utility staff requires a purchase, a requisition form is completed including the vendor, department, quantity, part, description, purpose, unit price, and extended price. Finance staff links the request to an account code for that department, and then the request is authorized by the treasurer. A purchase order is completed and signed by the staff member designated with purchasing authority and the item is ordered by the utility staff member. Final payment is made by the purchasing authority and reconciled through the above-noted reconciliation process.