In recent years, regulatory and procedural advances have fostered a State treasury model emphasizing the dissemination and sharing of data and on-line payment services; over 95 per cent of transactions are now made on-line. The model is based on the interlinkage between the Public Connection System and the National Interbank Network, as envisaged by the Computerized General Government Payment System (Sistema informatizzato della Pubblic Amministrazione, SIPA). IN the latter, government receipts and payments are handled through the banking system’s information and electronic procedures, using credit transfers as the ordinary means of payment.
The main payment procedures developed in the last decade, and now compliant with the European SEPA standards, comprise both payments of central government departments and their local units (including salaries and pensions) and cashier services for third parties (INPS and fiscal agencies), under special conventions. As regards the collection of taxes and social contributions, the key developments were two applications – the single tax payment proxy (delega unica) and the public entities F24 form, to aggregate payment orders from banks, tax collection agencies, and the Post Office – and the creation of the treasury credit order.
Finally, on 1 March 2010, in the framework of the single treasury account for local governments, the computerization of transactions with bank cashiers was initiated. This has streamlined operations and provided prompter reports on funds movements, to the benefit of projections of the state sector borrowing requirement. Still outside the computerized treasury system are paper-based payments – now residual – and collections and payments made in cash, in person. For more details on the procedures for State treasury collections and payments see “Services for the public”.
The large number of players involved in payments and receipts greatly complicates the realization of the system and evidences the need to extend information and communications technology to every phase in the treasury process.
The Bank of Italy is required, under laws, regulations and technical operating agreements, to report on payments and collections effected on behalf of the State and other public entities and on the accounting transactions effected as part of the treasury service.
With the nearly full computerization of the treasury service, data transmission and statements of account are now produced mainly by legally valid electronic means governed by protocols between the parties and transmitted through the Public Connection System (to which nearly all general government bodies are linked) and the National Interbank Network. Electronic statements of account are rapid, certain, and readable; they support expenditure management and allocation decisions by strengthening the controls effected by the general government entities themselves and by the bodies charged with control duties.
The Bank also reports on use of the Treasury payments account in summary form. In addition to periodic statements of the management of the account, the Bank must also provide a “judicial account” to the State Audit Office, insofar as in its performance of the State treasury service the Bank is subject to accounting responsibility; that is, as the institution charged with the treasury service it takes on the role of accounting agent under the State accounting rules.