The City of Denver occasionally receives complaints from contractors that their invoices aren’t being paid timely. Unfortunately, those complaints increased around the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 and some even made their way up to the Mayor’s Office! Just about every department in the City has a contract, ranging from construction, goods and services to professional services and more, which meant that finding a solution would require a system wide effort.

A City ordinance requires us to pay a contractor in 35 days or less after the receipt of the invoice, but sometimes we miss the mark.

In January of 2020, Denver Peak Academy was called upon to facilitate a massive process improvement effort, one of largest events we’ve ever run in our training room in the Wellington Webb Municipal Building (we quickly ran out of chairs lol). Peak gathered a group of over 45 Denver public servants from 11 different departments, facilitated 3 simultaneous process maps, utilized multiple plus/delta and impact/effort tools, and ultimately left the room with more 40+ ideas for improvement followed by a robust action plan.

The main event led to a list of 9 core improvement methods that was agreed upon by select staff and leadership of each of the 11 agencies, all striving towards the wildly important goal of reducing the time to pay an invoice. The improvements all fell into three buckets: technology, education, and workflow.

The work that has gone into this improvement effort is incredibly impressive, not to mention the increased importance since the pandemic hit in March. Denver businesses, now more than ever, must be paid on time! It can increase risk when those comapnies are paid too late. It is absolutely crucial that we maintain support of our local economy in these trying time, and the City of Denver’s comprehensive prompt payment effort is making a difference.

Stay tuned in the coming months for a series of blog posts on this topic to learn more about how specific agencies in the City have contributed to this process improvement!

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