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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of General Services
Business Services Center Shared Services

Issued: December 16, 2016
Link to full audit report 2016-S-16
Link to 90-day response

To determine whether implementation of the Business Services Center has improved the consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness of the administrative transactions that it processes for its State agency customers. The audit covers the period September 27, 2012 to September 12, 2016.

The State’s 2012-13 budget, at the suggestion of the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission, established the Business Services Center (Center) within the Office of General Services (OGS) as a centralized office for processing Human Resources (HR) and Finance transactions that are common across State agencies. The SAGE Commission estimated the consolidation of functions under the Center would save the State approximately $63 million annually as a result of more efficient processing of back-office functions. The SAGE Commission also projected that the Center would significantly improve the State’s performance on metrics such as timeliness, accuracy, and cost per transaction.

The Center’s mission is to provide shared services to standardize HR and Finance transactions; its objectives include streamlining processes for faster, more efficient transactions. Since the Center began operations in September 2012, agencies have migrated to its services in waves; as of March 2016, the Center was processing HR and Finance transactions for 62 agencies. Center Management expects all Executive agencies to be using all its services by the end of calendar year 2017.

The Center is organized into five operational units. Two of these units, HR and Finance, process transactions on behalf of State agencies. The other three, Portfolio Management, Performance Management, and Support Services, each support Center operations. In addition, a Call Center hosted by the Department of Taxation and Finance assists agency customers with Center service problems.

Key Findings

  • The Center has improved the consistency and efficiency of certain services it provides to its customers. Procurement card rebates have increased by over $4 million, and interest paid by the State has decreased by $350,000 since Fiscal Year 2013-14. Also, the Center estimates it has reduced staffing costs for administering these services by approximately $34 million annually.
  • The Center has made progress in efforts to provide services at agreed-upon performance target levels. However, the Center had not yet met its targets for Accounts Payable processing, missing target time frames by about 10 to 15 percent in recent years. Also, Purchase Order processing time, while steadily improving, still exceeded the Center’s time standard by 50 percent or more. Meeting these targets could help reduce interest paid by the State and expedite delivery of needed goods and services to customer agencies.
  • The Center has yet to develop specific metrics to measure its performance against Service Level Agreement (SLA) targets for its HR function. As a result, it is unclear whether its service targets are being met.

Key Recommendation

  • Further develop performance monitoring processes to better determine the causes of delays in meeting SLA targets including, but not limited to, obtaining necessary data to expand analytical testing and review of transactions.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Office of Information Technology Services: Effectiveness of the Information Technology Transformation (2015-S-2)
Office of General Services: Passenger Vehicle Fleet Management (2014-S-30)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236