Diamond Bar, California, Enhances Budget Process with OpenGov’s End-to-End Budgeting Solution
POPULATION: 57,000 | AGENCY TYPE: City | ANNUAL BUDGET: $29 Million
Diamond Bar’s team adopted OpenGov Budget Builder to make the budgeting process more collaborative and streamlined among department heads. (Image: iStock)
Smooth Implementation and Training Process
Diamond Bar’s staff said they could not have been happier with OpenGov’s implementation process. “The OpenGov team – they are amazing,” Honeywell said. “They did a fabulous job – within 18 hours ––getting us setup with every single account code we could have possibly needed.” Allen added,“The responsiveness was incredible. They always had an answer for us and were always open to recommendations and suggestions. I was just blown away by their level of professionalism and knowledge of the system.”
The training for department heads and others involved in inputting data was also well-received. “Department heads seemed to really enjoy their involvement with OpenGov,” Allen said. “Once we figured out the best way to structure our proposals, it was really easy to go into the system and build them out the way we wanted to.
Greater Internal Efficiency and Collaboration
Before OpenGov’s implementation, Honeywell and her staff relied exclusively on Excel spreadsheets to develop Diamond Bar’s budget. “This created its own set of problems with complicated formulas and people not being able to get into a workbook if someone else left a file open,” Honeywell noted.
While Diamond Bar had created a shared drive where staff could access the various budget documents, the spreadsheets did not allow for members of the same department to work in a file simultaneously. “Each section – Administrative Services, Public Works, Recreation, etcetera – would have its own file, but different members of the same department wouldn’t be able to jump in and work in the document at the same time,” Allen said. That posed significant problems with the larger departments such as Public Works and Recreation, which had multiple staff members engaged in budget preparation.
OpenGov facilitated collaboration and streamlined the process, as staff could work within the budget anytime they needed to without the constraints of file sharing or static spreadsheets with no version control. “We were definitely able to work more collaboratively using OpenGov,” Honeywell said.
Published Stunning Budget Document in OpenGov
Before adopting OpenGov’s budgeting solution, Diamond Bar’s budget book was more about the process than the product. “The budget book became just about getting the numbers in, then spending time checking the formulas and making sure everything was tying. It was very numbers-oriented and not about the document at all,” Honeywell said. She added, “It was so ugly before, and there was nothing I could do because I was spending so much time making sure everything flowed correctly and was tied.”
Consequently, the team sought to streamline the process of producing the annual budget document. They adopted OpenGov’s collaborative budget document creator, OpenGov Budget Book powered by Wdesk™. “Within the Wdesk platform, the ability for the Finance Director and I to communicate with each other was such an easy way to keep track of any questions we had, and communicate with one another basically in live time,” Allen added. “The breakdown of the document outline as far as organization is so much better than scrolling through a Word document or publisher file. You have an outline on the left-hand side, and you click and get exactly where you need to be without scrolling through pages. That platform was just amazing.”
With the budget book final product looking as good as the fiscal sustainability within, Allen anticipates bidding for awards and receiving renewed external interest.
Immediately upon its release, the final product earned the team internal praise. “Even my City Manager, who was initially worried about the process and the product, came back and said, ‘I love it; it’s perfect. It has everything in the same place and is very comprehensive,’” Honeywell said.
Not only is the team proud of the final document, but it is also easy for non-financial staff and the public to review and understand. “We wanted it to be so you don’t have to be a finance major or CPA to look at it,” said Allen.