★ GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Winner ★
To modernize their existing Excel-based process, always have access to the most recently updated document versions, and have efficient and user-friendly software across the board for the small city’s resource-constrained departments.
The City of Campbell, CA needed to update their current system of using Excel spreadsheets to manage their government’s budget because their current processes were error-prone and tedious.
One of the team’s biggest struggles was version control, especially when managing their annual budget book. Various department heads working on a document at the same time lead to errors when information didn’t update in real-time. This led to confusion and frustration across departments, straining efficiency and collaboration.
Further, the system of communicating changes and updates was email-driven, and there was no way to verify the correct versions through email. With so many different email threads, it was easy to lose a conversation or choose the incorrect version from a given piece of correspondence.
The team was thrilled when they found a government budgeting software (competitor of ClearGov) that seemed to fit their needs. Unfortunately, the complex software was not a good fit for their local government budget management.
During a ClearGov demo, Will Fuentes, Finance Director of Campbell, CA was impressed with how easy it appeared to use the Digital Budget Book solution. After the team launched Digital Budget Book, Fuentes quickly realized what a massive change the software was making for the City of Campbell. Intrigued by the rest of the Budget Cycle Management Suite, the team quickly added the rest of ClearGov’s tools to the City’s arsenal.
Previously, the finance team created their operating budget in Excel to share with ClearGov’s team who would upload the data into Digital Budget Book. While this only took a few days, the team often didn’t have time to spare. Once the additional products were added, like Operational Budgeting, Personnel Budgeting, and Capital Budgeting, data automatically populated Digital Budget Book.
Campbell’s version control struggles were finally over. As a cloud-based software suite, the team could count on factual, real-time entry updates. Even though the Budget Cycle Management products are connected, Fuentes retains quality control in Digital Budget Book. Changes are entered into a queue to be approved or denied, and this significantly reduces errors for the team.
Implementing the Operational Budgeting module took around a month, but Fuentes maintains that the addition was worth the time and effort upfront. He’s certain that the program has changed the budgeting process for the better, both for him and the other department heads. Further, the quality of ClearGov’s customer service and their availability to answer questions quickly was helpful during and after implementation.
The convenience and efficiency brought by a suite of programs that communicate with one another has had a tremendous positive impact on the City of Campbell. In particular, Fuentes highlights some of the best benefits of the Digital Budget Book and Operational Budgeting duo as being able to pull descriptions, corrections, and expenses between the programs without any additional entries.
Though the team was in the middle of the COVID pandemic during implementation, the real-time nature of the suite allowed the team to truly work together, unlike solutions in Excel and Word. Fuentes says that the team works better together now, whether collaborating in the office or at a distance.
By skyrocketing efficiency, control, understanding, and collaboration, Fuentes and the team are glad they switched to ClearGov, and if given the choice, they would choose the Budget Cycle Management Suite again.