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What’s the Best SOP format for Governmental Accounting Offices?

I’m just very curious, my co-associate and I have a pretty huge project on our hands. We need to develop an updated SOP for our office and it must be very, VERY layman… in other words, an “outsider” should be able to come in and correctly perform any selected task…

*sigh*

I see so many samples, yet I’m more curious as to what would be the “Best Practices” type of format.. a line-by-line, a flowchart, a hybrid flowchart (with step-by-step instructions), or plain outline?

Anyone who ever tackled this type of project, PLEASE, by all means, share your experience with a fellow “GovLooper”… *smile*

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Profile Photo Anita Arile

EXACTLY my worries! Shall I make it very colorful and worth displaying on a desk? Thought has actually crossed my mind on how to make the document worth using, and not just in the beginning… I’ve considered doing feedbacks from the various users on all levels several months after its (SOP) completion… Followed by annual or bi-annual updates (inclusive of the regular updates from Executive orders, etc)… It’s quite a project I hope would be worth tagging my name to!

Profile Photo Steve Ressler

I’ve generally seen a lot of flowcharts. However, I would try a couple different formats and get feedback from “layman” along the way. I think the fear with SOPs is that they become “shelf documents” that no one reads. Once completed, I would put the SOP in a couple different formats so people will use it (handy 1-pager, posters, full document). And market the value of the SOP – why should an average person care? How does this make their life easier?

Profile Photo Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom

We are currently updating the SOPs for our Emergency Support Function at work so this topic is definitely of interest to me. We have an outline to follow, but flexibility with how content will be displayed within that outline. I would really like to make this an easily understood and navigable document since it may be used in an emergency!
Any suggestions would be great!

Profile Photo Anita Arile

Exactly my point Sharon, ANY suggestions would be great… I have some formats that I found online that help a bit, but am still trying to find the “best suited” one for our office. Thanks to our “GovLoop God”, I have excellent questions to consider that would definitely help me along the way! Thank you.. and anyone else who has ever worked on SOPs, please feel free to share your knowledge, as that would be part of the goals of this network… Thanks in advance!! *smile*

Profile Photo Anita Arile

Just to update those following this topic, the SOP Project is now moving in a positive direction. Our action plans have been blessed by our director and we have met with the core players from the various branches in our Division. We have agreed to have a public-accessbile SOP with the office-use only Processing Procedure Manual (PPM) to accompany it. A copy of the PPM remains with each Branch Supervisor/Manager and is for use to train new employees, a guide to cross-train staff and to have a formal task identified for each branch’s duties. The PPM also allows branch employees to collaborate and contribute to the overall SOP project… We’re keeping our fingers crossed!