Part five 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.
The final budgeting challenge to be addressed is reporting. We now know all the primary budgeting challenges technology can help you overcome to ensure a streamlined, transparent and efficient budgeting process. We always find it incredulous, however, when we see jurisdictions try to produce even the simplest of reports only to be confronted with complex report writers or the need to send a report request to the IT department! Reporting should be easy, self-sufficient and on-demand or at any cadence . . . do not choose a software solution that does not provide this type of dynamic reporting.
Confirm that your technology solution gives you real-time, on-demand reports and dashboards that you can easily configure yourself and that include any of the information stored in the system by any department. All information within the software application must be accessible for inclusion on a report. The reports and formatting must meet the expansive demands for communities who need to report to a wide variety of stakeholders, including internal users, internal customers, regulatory committees, supervisory staff, auditors, and constituents. Double-check that reports can be sent to any person without the need of a user license or Crystal Reports, accessed throughout the system, saved as “favorites” and refreshed at any time with real-time information and data.
Technology can help solve many budgeting process woes, but you must be diligent in your solution selection process to ensure the system you choose addresses all five of the challenges we’ve discussed. Budgeting does not have to be the nightmare scenario you’ve been experiencing for years, nor does it have to be mired in manual processes, endless stacks of paper and multiple versions of spreadsheets that are so large they take forever to open on your computer!
Insist that your reports and dashboards provide instant, customizable, real-time information that you can produce yourself with no help from IT. Your system must be powerfully predictive in its ability to forecast revenue and keep your budget balanced. Take the new system on a test drive to also ensure it’s easy to use, in spite of its power, which will lead to high user adoption rates within your jurisdiction. The technology must be the catalyst for seamless interdepartmental collaborations that pave the way for greater transparency, fluid communication and happier, more confident citizens.
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