★ GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Winner ★
Find a comprehensive budgeting solution that was simple for departments to adopt, and move to an interactive, website-based budget book to replace their cumbersome PDF document.
Don Cawby joined the City of Shawnee as Finance Director in 2019. A power user of spreadsheets, Cawby understood their limitations and he had some concerns about the manual budget and budget book processes that the city used. The old budgeting process was done in Excel and Word with a lot of manual cutting and pasting. Every line item of the budget was linked to a detail sheet that department heads had to complete. Finance Department staff constantly checked and rechecked the master spreadsheet to ensure nothing was overwritten or overlooked, and that all formulas and links were working.
At that same time, the city changed financial systems and struggled with moving data and existing links breaking. They wanted a comprehensive budgeting solution that fostered collaboration, automated processes, and saved time for departments and the finance team.
From 2007 to 2020, the City of Shawnee won GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards. Their budget books were fantastic, following all of the GFOA’s best practices and requirements to create a thorough, award-winning presentation. But the PDF documents were almost 300-pages and no matter how in-depth and well-organized, it was still difficult for citizens to digest. The city wanted to move to a modern, interactive website-based budget book to improve civic engagement and comprehension.
The City of Shawnee was an early adopter of ClearGov in 2020. The low risk, high reward solution was just right for their size government. The city uses the Operational Budgeting, Digital Budget Book, and Transparency products. The city started by creating their first Digital Budget Book for 2021 and is now using Operational Budgeting to work on next year’s budget.
Going forward, Cawby plans to create a digital budget book to present the proposed budget before it is actually adopted by the Council. The City Manager feels that having the proposed budget in the interactive, engaging digital format will help tell our story and explain the process for setting priorities.
The digital budget book provides the interactive nature City leadership wanted to get to. Council, citizens, and other stakeholders can quickly find what they’re looking for, see the level of detail they want in graphical form, and better understand the budget data in ways they couldn’t before. The city is planning to roll out their Transparency center in 2021. Cawby is working on how data is exported from their financial system for the check register so that it can be visible and the city can be completely transparent with citizens.
While the city already had a web-based capital budgeting system, Cawby likes how the Capital Requests module in ClearGov allows the project pages to roll up to the Transparency center and Digital Budget Book. When it was decided to move exclusively to ClearGov, it only took a few days to move their existing data into the new system. Overall, ClearGov has been very well received by the finance team and departments. Even long-time employees nearing retirement are enthusiastic about the new software and say it’s much easier than how they used to do the budget.