The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) will offer specialized finance and human resources/payroll benchmarking services to state governments under a contract signed with The Hackett Group and Accenture.

Under the terms of the agreement, announced at the 2005 NASACT Annual Conference, NASACT will offer benchmarking and related consulting services from Hackett and Accenture to all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

The program will offer state governments a way to analyze and target improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of their finance and HR/payroll operations; compare their performance with that of their public- and private-sector peers; and compare the performance of individual agencies with others in their state.

The benchmarks are designed to help state governments identify areas where they can benefit from best practices and target processes that are inefficient, and to help state finance managers prioritize where they can make process improvements through standardization and simplification. The benchmarks can also be a useful tool in annual planning processes, helping state governments establish business cases for process transformation in the context of enterprise resource planning implementations and evaluate whether business operations can be centralized or moved to shared service centers.

"This is an exceptional opportunity for state governments looking to streamline their operations, giving them a detailed objective assessment of their performance in these areas and the ability to learn from the best practices employed by top-performing organizations," said NASACT Executive Director Kinney Poynter. "We selected Hackett and Accenture as our partners for this program because they have the proven ability to offer recommendations and analysis driven by empirical data, a comprehensive knowledge base of best practices in these areas, and a good understanding of how state governments operate. We're very excited about the development of a first database of state government metrics and what that database can do for our member states."

"This benchmarking program offers state governments a tremendous opportunity to learn from the best practices of the private sector and from each other," said State of Arizona Comptroller Clark Partridge. "Like many states, we see our needs changing and our technology infrastructure aging. This program provides an intelligent framework to help us assess our current capabilities and make informed decisions about how to put the best systems and processes in place to support our programs and constituents in the short- and long-term."

Hackett Senior Vice President Jeffrey S. Rosengard said, "Under exceptional pressure to provide the highest level of service possible at the lowest possible cost, state government executives are focused on improving their ability to add more value to their stakeholders. Because mere competence is no longer sufficient, they're meeting this challenge by taking a truly aggressive entrepreneurial approach, striving to emulate private-sector best practices, integrate performance management in their planning and budgeting process, and subject services to competition. Benchmarking can play an important role in helping states achieve these goals."

"Accenture and Hackett have a proven track record in helping clients use benchmarks to achieve performance improvements," said David Wilson, managing partner of the Finance and Administration practice in Accenture's Government operating group. "Benchmarks provide an exceptional starting point for transformation initiatives, offering organizations a baseline of existing costs and productivity levels and an assessment of where the greatest opportunities for improvement lie."