E-Government

VA turns to electronic payments to save money, improve work

e-payments

Companies soon will be required to submit payments to the Veterans Affairs Department in electronic form. It will be mandatory as officials work to boost VA's productivity and garner more savings from even the smallest corners.

VA officials announced the finalized rule Nov. 27 in the Federal Register. The new rule takes effect Dec. 27.

Electronic payments will help VA make its timely payments and avoid interest penalties for late payments. VA will also be able to increase how much money it can save from prompt payment discounts. On top of that, VA will bring electronic government deeper into its operations. The result could lead to improving how VA achieves its performance goals and reduces its own costs and the burdens on businesses.

In an April Federal Register notice laying out the proposed rule, VA officials cited a 2006 Government Accountability Office report that found electronic invoicing eliminates paper and redundant data entry, improves data accuracy, and reduces the number of lost or misplaced documents.

In 2009, VA began adding an interim contract clause to have contractors voluntarily submit electronic invoices.

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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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