Part two on GovSense for Budgeting: Make every dollar count for your community’s essential and improvement services.
The importance of disciplined budgeting at the local government level cannot be over emphasized since the annual budget determines which projects and services will be funded to serve your communities and constituents. The budget essentially becomes the annual operating plan that each department uses to set priorities and execute approved projects. While there are a wide variety of approaches and methodologies used to produce budgets that fit the needs of each unique jurisdiction, we have identified five budgeting challenges for which utilizing technology will help all government organizations better allocate funds and manage expenditures with transparency and confidence.
Now, with one software system used across all departments in your jurisdiction, you can eliminate duplicate budget line items, simultaneously create departmental budgets, ensure full accountability and guarantee all necessary initiatives and projects are considered for funding. This one-system approach not only contributes to shortening your budgeting cycle, but also increases the accuracy of the annual budget you submit for review and approval. With fewer questions and corrections to make during the development stage, you allocate more time for the usual lengthy legislative approval stage . . . something over which you have little control.
When all departments work from the same information in the same software system, the budget produced represents “one version of the truth,” rather than a variety of stand-alone, disjointed budget proposals that do not represent departmental collaboration. The “rat’s nest” of data formats as a result of this siloed approach is enough to add weeks to the budgeting process due to the tedious nature of compiling inconsistent information and is prone to errors that sometimes aren’t discovered until it’s too late. Often this very situation causes a critical maintenance or improvement project to go unfunded and the various departments end up pointing fingers at each other trying to place blame.
Strong, continuous inter-departmental collaboration, fueled by one comprehensive software system, eliminates departments functioning like franchises and wasting valuable time working in constant reactive mode. An additional and all-important benefit to not forget is that by using the same system across all departments, you can plan faster, preemptively and make more informed decisions because all departments and stakeholders are working from the same overall jurisdictional budget produced from a single system. This is true whether you’ve adopted a centralized or de-centralized budgeting process. With the proper controls in place ensured by a unified, easy-to-use and flexible technology, all types of budgets can be accommodated.