Congrats! You finished planning for 2019. You spent hours, days and weeks generating spreadsheets, gathering information and poring over numbers to budget income and expenses, staffing, funding and expenditures. You shut yourself away indefinitely with a pot of coffee and endless Excel spreadsheets open on your desktop only to create a plan and budget that is stagnant, inconclusive and lacks visualization for the future. But, hey, it’s done…right?
92% of organizations believe that better planning technology produces better outcomes. So why are we still using outdated procedures? Your municipality isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago, so why would the processes you used then work now?
Planning doesn’t have to be a necessary evil that we all dread. It can be easier. When done correctly with the right local government budgeting software, planning and budgeting can provide invaluable business insights and serve as the bridge between idea and execution that allows your jurisdiction to be agile and prepared the future.
If tracking down broken links and trying to discern which spreadsheet is the most recent is your undeniable reality during planning and budgeting season, it’s probably time for a change.
So how do you know if you’re ready? Here are a few signs your current process could be drastically improved with local government budgeting software:
This one is simple. If you’re using multiple spreadsheets, softwares and processes to plan and budget, you’re making your life much harder than it needs to be. It is very difficult to make comprehensive, informed financial decisions while looking at several different sets of data.
Let’s be real. Endless columns and rows of numbers in Excel don’t tell a story and don’t provide a complete view of your jurisdiction. The majority of your municipality consists of non-financial employees, which means trying to maneuver through a cacophony of spreadsheet filled with meager numbers is not an easy or beneficial task for them.
Visualizing financial data allows every viewer to decipher patterns and focus on what truly matters. Instead of presenting your leadership team with several confusing spreadsheets, you can provide strategic insights and foresight so they can make critical decisions.
By using active planning and real-time dashboards provided by a local government budgeting software, your team can have a dynamic visualization into what is going on in your jurisdiction. In fact, organizations that use data visualization outperform organizations using legacy techniques and software when it comes to speed and accuracy of forecasting and planning.
If your ‘planning process’ involves emailing Excel spreadsheets back and forth, you’re all too familiar with the issues that come along with it like clerical errors, missing formulas, prolonged response times and wondering who changed that one thing on that one sheet. Planning and budgeting have long been considered finance-only responsibilities. With the right local government budgeting software, budgeting and planning can become a cross-departmental collaboration effort. When all key employees play a part and your constituents opinions are taken into account, the result is a well-painted financial picture of your entire jurisdiction.
“Who changed the data in column 14, row 35? I’m not sure what was originally there, or if the current or past entry is correct.”
“Is the sheet for Q4 up to date?”
“Which spreadsheet should I be looking at? Financial_Stats_021 or Financial_Stats_030?”
If these questions are all too familiar, I’ve probably given you SPTSD (Spreadsheet Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) You understand the pain of the impossible task of staying on top of spreadsheet changes and trying to track down the most recent versions. If only there was a way to see a full audit trail of changes and real-time data…*wink-wink*
Last but certainly not least, you’re performing manual search inquiries, checking all the process boxes, following protocol to get this plan done, but you’re left with nothing but a bunch of numbers in a PDF that provide no real insight. Legacy processes can lead to costly errors, leaving you to fix the spreadsheet mistake, sucking up time gathering data rather than analyzing it and providing valuable insights to decision-makers.
If any or all of these resonated with you, it might be time to make a change before 2020’s planning season rolls around.
Now that you’ve identified your pain points, you’re probably curious as to how much of difference modern financial planning technology and local government budgeting software can make in your municipality.
With the GovSense’s Planning and Budgeting modules, jurisdictions of all sizes can collaboratively plan and model, easily access real-time analytics, and streamline complex reporting.
With ONE software, all the problems stated above are solved instantly.
Those reports that took you three days to create in Excel, can be processed in hours. In fact, planning time is reduced by up to 90% with GovSense’s planning and budgeting modules. With all that free time, you can make better and more informed financial decisions using real-time analytics.
The importance of sound budgeting at the local government level can not be over emphasized. After all, the annual budget determines which projects and services will be funded to serve your communities and constituents. By using the advanced budgeting and planning software modules of GovSense, jurisdictions gain visibility across all departments to report on budget allocations and expenditures with confidence.