Prior to state funding, trial courts either adhered to county accounting policies and procedures or, more commonly, were completely dependent on the counties to provide administrative support functions, including fiscal services. With the implementation of state funding, many courts were faced with assuming the task of performing their own finance-related functions or finding third-party administrators to perform such essential administrative functions as human resources, payroll, and accounting activities. Because many courts lacked the appropriate infrastructure and staff resources to manage these functions, the AOC, in partnership with the courts, has developed several initiatives in response. These include trial court financial policies and procedures, an internal audit program, a centralized treasury, and a statewide financial system (Phoenix Financial System) which has been fully deployed in all 58 trial courts.
Overall, the establishment of a financial infrastructure will enable the courts to produce financial statements that comply with existing statutes, rules, and regulations. In addition, accounting and business functions will be standardized, investment opportunities maximized, it will ensure uniformity of financial recordkeeping, and provide consistent data and reporting for the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. These actions further demonstrate the judicial branch's commitment to accountability and transparency and acting as a responsible steward of finite public resources.