Strategic Capital Planning: Aligned Projects from Concept to Results

Strategic capital planning: One of the most important cross-functional activities that you as a government finance leader undertake on behalf of your community, but also one of the most challenging.

You’ve watched expectations around future-focused capital planning and reporting become more complex with each passing year, accelerated by federal stimulus dollars (ARPA and Infrastructure) that require more purposeful planning and documentation and deeper downstream reporting.

Everyone’s seen the headlines and now they expect their governments to deliver. But let’s face it: Even in the best of times, capital planning often lacks a formal, ongoing tie between the plan, current status, and how dollars are spent to further strategic priorities.

Are you set up to allocate, spend, and analyze how capital improvement projects impact your community?

Can you track projects based on strategic priorities? Can you communicate with your residents about projects in a clear and concise way the public will understand?

​​If the answers to these questions aren’t crystal clear, not to worry. We break the biggest must-haves for strategic capital planning into five major elements. After reading, download our ebook, The Strategic Planning Guide for Local Government, for even more tips on strategic capital planning.

Element 1: Plan – Transparently determine the use of funds

Arguably the most important element, initial planning, sets the stage for proactive, inclusive public engagement and prioritizing community values and long-term strategic priorities. This is your opportunity to determine what would have the biggest impact on your community. Be sure to solicit and capture input on how both your community and internal teams wish to spend the funding.

Element 2: Measure – Proactively measure performance.

To determine impact and highlight results, as well as prepare for federal reporting guidelines, adopt shared standards and processes for measuring performance out of the gate. Start by aligning your Chart of Accounts with the capital planning project to surface the data needed to drive the performance metrics that best reflect the project’s impact.

Element 3: Collaborate –  From budget to execution, use input across teams.

When you think of collaboration, we have three words: transparency, efficiency, and strategy. These big three need to work hand in hand across all of your departments to ensure a better process. 

Element 4: Procure – Make your procurement and contract management process more strategic.

Call your procurement team. It’s time to execute. From RFP creation to contract management, there are many opportunities to streamline the entire procurement process to make it easier to keep capital projects on-time and under budget. Work smarter with efficient and timely bidding, leading to a more strategic purchasing plan.

Element 5: Report – Improve your reporting for compliance and transparency.

From start to finish, it’s important to effectively report and communicate progress to both the community and policy makers. Throughout the entire capital project, everyone will be expecting regular updates. At completion, internal stakeholders and your community want results. Make your life easier by ensuring data is easily accessible from the beginning.

For even more on each of these five elements, download our ebook, The Strategic Planning Guide for Local Government, here. 

Category: Capital Projects

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