For many logistical reasons the State of Illinois cannot close the books on a fiscal year before it ends on June 30. For one, the State does not receive all of the invoices for goods and services it acquired by July 1, which is the day a new budget goes into effect.
Lapse period is a time frame for the State to pay any outstanding bills from a recently expired fiscal year. The deadline for agencies to submit lapse period vouchers to the Comptroller is Aug. 31. The deadline for the Comptroller to process all Fiscal Year 2015 lapse period vouchers is Dec. 31, 2015.
Lapse periods tend to last longer than they otherwise have to when the state spends more money than it collects, and that often postpones end-of-year reviews on how the State spent its money. Antiquated accounting systems certainly play their part in prolonging the state’s financial reporting and auditing requirements, but so do longer lapse periods. After all, comprehensive analysis on the state’s budget priorities cannot take place without all expenditures accounted for.