Microsoft Corp. could be close to landing a contract to implement a unified accounting system across Puerto Rico government agencies, which currently are unable to share data with each other, making reporting a challenge.
On Wednesday, Puerto Rico Chief of Staff Víctor Suárez said the technology giant had beat out several other companies, including Oracle, for the job contracted through a Request for Proposal Format.
However, he could not say how much the contract being channeled by the Treasury Department is worth, or the specific work the company will do.
A lack of a uniform accounting system has been identified as the cause delays in the availability of current government financial statements. The government has been unable to release audited statements for the past two years.
“One of the main concerns of our creditors, the financial markets, and even the federal government, has been that Puerto Rico government agencies can not communicate among themselves about accounting and financial data,” he said.
Establishing a unified accounting system is on the government’s “to-do” list included in its five-year Fiscal and Economic Growth Plan unveiled in September.
“This is an important step in terms of transparency and institutional reforms that the Puerto Rico government has to implement,” Suárez said during a briefing at La Fortaleza.
Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza said the agency is wrapping up a financial assessment of the applications that will replace the current system, “which has serious deficiencies in the operations of both [Treasury] and the central government.”
As part of the process, it has formed a committee consisting of staff from the Office of Management and Budget, Treasury and the Department of Education.
“They’re holding meetings with Microsoft to determine the costs of its implementation. Once the assessment is completed, Treasury will proceed to acquire the application that best suits our needs, taking into consideration the present and future costs,” Zaragoza said.
Meanwhile, Herbert Lewy, country manager for Microsoft Puerto Rico, confirmed that the company has worked with Treasury to provide all of the information requested about the solutions to modernize their systems and processes.
“Microsoft historically has been committed to the Government of Puerto Rico in delivering solutions that create a positive impact on reducing costs, improving efficiency, productivity, and citizen-oriented services,” he said.
But, “as company policy, we do not comment on negotiation processes with private or public customers. It is up to these institutions to disclose information related to these processes,” Lewy said.