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Industry insights and technology trends for a modern, citizen-centric government powered by cloud

How the Cloud Simplifies Government Budget Planning

Bob Sabo
ERP/EPM Cloud Strategic Programs Director, Oracle Public Sector

Bob will be a featured speaker at the annual National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) conference Aug. 12-16 in Nashville, Tenn.

Let’s start with a quick quiz. What is the most widely used tool in public sector budgeting? If you guessed spreadsheets, you would be correct.  Despite innovations in planning and budgeting solutions, many government agencies are still using dated, in-house developed systems with spreadsheets as the interface.

Unless an organization is small, the spreadsheet model quickly becomes cumbersome and inefficient. Hundreds of spreadsheets must be consolidated, reviewed, circulated for approval, changed and updated. At the same time, those helpful macros must be maintained and synchronized across multiple spreadsheets. 

 Because agencies are required to follow a defined process for budget development, they must control, compare, forecast, and record comments before publishing a budget book. At the same time, agencies must juggle multiple versions, starting baselines, and initiating budget rollups from department to agency to the entire jurisdiction. 

One system, one budget book

But there’s a better way, and the cloud can help agencies get there.  Cloud-based budgeting and planning applications can offer not just improved efficiency but also better insight.  Typically, agencies are required to produce a line item budget that is presented by the executive and approved by the legislature. But how can they create and analyze that information during the development process?

A modern, cloud-based system is the answer. These configurable systems offer task lists, security features, workflow, version comparison, and detailed reporting with links back to source systems to retrieve HR and financial data.  For instance, agencies can integrate their HR/payroll application directly into the budgeting application, and forecast the impact of incremental pay raises and staffing changes. Project and capital budgets, often extending beyond a traditional fiscal year, can be linked and analyzed in tandem without keeping another set of spreadsheets.

In addition, the relative return on investment delivered by cloud applications is on the rise. A recent case study published by Nucleus Research reveals that the initial costs for on-premises enterprise resource planning (ERP) were 2.1 times higher than the Oracle cloud-based ERP system. And, after deployment, personnel costs for cloud ERP averaged 1.8 less than on-premises.

Move your budget planning to the cloud....today

 Today, many jurisdictions use performance information and strategic goals during the budgeting process to present a better picture based on outcomes. Besides the obvious advantage of addressing the legal and mechanical aspects of producing a budget book, the real value rests in the continuous analysis and forecasting features for revenue, expense and capital spending.  By linking into the same data source, all entities have the same version of the truth.  

Because budgeting and planning applications sit outside the core ERP and HR systems, they can be implemented in a cloud environment independent of these applications, which may be hosted in the cloud or on-premises.  A cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM) system is typically faster and often less costly to implement than traditional on-premise applications, and eliminates time-consuming hardware, network and database administration work.

In addition, government finance managers and legislators can address short-term issues and spot long-term trends through a system that will use the current budget information and consistently update the planning model with reports generated by mathematical algorithms and formulas.

Most government agencies are closer to a modern budgeting system than you might think. So start your research, survey the market and discover the benefits of a modern budgeting and planning application for your agency, powered in the cloud.

Learn how Oracle’s Planning & Budgeting in the Cloud helped the city of Raleigh, NC by viewing this on-demand webinar.

Oracle has been named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrants for Cloud Strategic and Financial CPM Solutions.

 

 

 

 

 

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