Core Operational Reports for Every Government
June 23, 2016 – Mike McCann
By the time you join the OpenGov Network, you’ve probably seen dozens of intriguing and novel solutions to a wide range of reporting needs. You also likely know you can do amazing things with data to gain new insights, create knowledge from raw data, share and collaborate with confidence, and much more.
However, in all the excitement, it is easy to overlook the basics. Starting with a strong set of comprehensive, stable, and updated reports establishes OpenGov as your organization’s operational reporting center. OpenGov Intelligence customers should consider setting up five reports and including detailed general ledger transactions as the backbone of their operational reporting solution.
This set of core reports provides a powerful solution to key pain-points in the government’s day-to-day workflow. The reports set the stage for deeper and wider use of the platform’s full capacity, and allow the government’s entire team to benefit from the having this data at its fingertips.
1. Annual and current year reports for the legislative body with specific saved views for agenda items supporting public meetings.
To support the City Council or County Board in public meetings, set up specific saved views to show individual items on each upcoming agenda. It takes just a few moments to use OpenGov’s filter to select the data needed to discuss each agenda item and save that view. Then, just add a unique description, something like “Agenda Item 4: Proposed construction equipment purchase.”
During the session, show the report on the big screen and click on each saved view when the item comes up, informing the discussion with the specific budget and amounts already spent against it. The next morning it takes just a moment to delete the full set of saved views and have a clean report to start work on the next meeting.
2. Monthly department head budget variance reports
Department Summaries set up as either a series of saved views or individual reports streamline access for executives and department heads who need to compare current year results against their budget each month. At their convenience, department heads can review their entire operation, drill into anomalies, and e-mail specific views as URL’s to team members with questions.
3. Budget Milestones Reports (BMR) monitor, share, and socialize progress in developing the next budget
BMR bridge the gap between reporting on current budget performance and building the next budget. These reports broaden participation in the budget process by providing read-only access to budget detail at key points (milestones) in the process such as department requests, budget committee review, and the executive’s recommendation to the legislative body.
Governmental budgets are complex and difficult to share beyond the finance or budget office, limiting collaboration and consensus building. It is transformational to have a city-wide in-process budget summary on one page, while allowing users to expand and explore historical data and the current proposed budget at every development stage.
4. Quarterly grant status reporting
Reports for Grant Management can use grant coding of the chart of accounts or saved views for each open grant. This visibility enables grant teams to monitor and course-correct their activities in real-time with the latest data. They can report results to management and funders on a more timely basis to secure faster cost reimbursements. Transaction detail, discussed below, is often critical to supporting grant reimbursements.
West Sacramento, CA’s Grant Status Report
5. Checkbook or Journal Entry (Transaction) reporting
With a simple, regularly updated grid format report, check or full journal entry details on the platform provide support to many staff members across the government:
- Department administrative assistants spend valuable time responding to vendor inquiries about pending or in-process payments. With the checkbook updated every day, they have a great tool at their fingertips to answer these questions in seconds without call-backs, input from the AP department, or other time-wasting procedures.
- Purchasers in decentralized governments often spend time researching vendors. Finding active vendors for specific types of purchases takes seconds with flexible checkbook sorting and selection options.
- Staff can easily select payments for audit sampling, view contract or grant payment history, and conduct many other routine inquiries in the checkbook.
Linkages between transaction detail and annual and current-year reports allow department analysts to respond to inquiries, dig into questionable account balances, and track down stray revenue postings directly. Working in the report on the platform, they can send their research’s results to the appropriate parties with specific URL’s for action.
For example, one common use-case is finding the other side of a transaction posted to an account. With all the details linked to the report, the analyst can search the entire data set for a specific journal entry number and find the answer in seconds.
Conclusion: Operational Reporting for the entire government with five core reports
With these five reports in place, any government’s team is more ready for the challenges and opportunities that greet them every day, on every phone call, and at every meeting.
Category: Product Advice