Get your life back with streamlined cloud-based budgeting

April 11, 2018 – OpenGov

“My budget consisted of three spreadsheets with a total of 70 tabs. It was very difficult to keep it straight and not end up with an error,” reports Budget Director Connie Maxwell for Burnet, Texas. Sound familiar? Maxwell needed to find a better way than sending spreadsheets back and forth and wasting entire days on figuring out an error in a formula. She turned to cloud-based budgeting software.

While the city only has a 6,000-person population that consists mostly of retirees and “snowbirds” that come during the winter to enjoy the city’s mild weather and lakes, they manage a $28.5 million budget that includes operating an eighteen-hole, nationally-renowned golf course and Police, Fire, EMS, Parks, Streets, Utilities (the city purchases electricity but owns and maintain its own distribution system), and an airport.

Maxwell faced technological hurdles that hampered both budgeting and management reporting – preventing the city’s government from operating at its full potential. Burnet’s accounting system logged transactions, but could not run meaningful management reports. It could not output graphs, multi-year data, or information across funds. Maxwell had to dump data from her ERP into Excel, clean it up by manually copying, pasting, and applying formulas, then format charts and graphs. And for multi-year reports, she had to run multiple queries then merge the reports in Excel. This workflow prevented department managers and councilmembers from gaining rapid insights into expenditures against the budget.

Additionally, each department stored its own information in spreadsheets, manually updating graphs and reapplying formulas. When the City Manager and Budget Director needed to prepare a Council report or answer a question, they had to request information from each department – causing a delay of several hours or even days in getting an answer. If the council needed a cross-departmental answer, Maxwell had to manually merge multiple departments in Excel.

To solve these issues, Maxwell deployed OpenGov cloud-based budgeting software and was able to cut the time she spends on the budget’s clerical work in half. “Budget season has always been an ordeal – I worked late every night, plus through weekends. OpenGov has changed this entire process, giving me back my life and opening up enough time for me to focus on other priorities for the city,” she said. Gone are the days of digging around in spreadsheets and enduring lengthy proposal submission cycles. OpenGov has streamlined much of the clerical work involved in budgeting.

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Category: Customer Story