Yuma County, AZ
★ GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Winner ★
Modernize, streamline, automate, and improve the manual process of putting together the county’s annual budget book while maintaining GFOA best practices.
Like many local governments, Yuma County, Arizona historically struggled with the manual process of creating their annual budget and budget book. While they had budget planning software that should have made things easier, it wasn’t configured correctly and was a hassle to use. They still used manual workarounds with Excel and Word to create their budget book. With multiple versions of the same spreadsheet needed to calculate different schedules, combined with back and forth emails, and the copy/paste/consolidation of tasks, it was a manual, tedious, and error-prone process that Yuma County Budget Director, Tony Struck, was ready to kick to the curb.
Additionally, the county’s 450+ page PDF budget book had always been published on their website, and citizens were encouraged to view the online version to learn about the county’s financial health. But this still wasn’t ideal for modern smartphone users, and scrolling through a 450+ page PDF on any electronic device can quickly become frustrating. For board members and citizens that wanted a hard copy, the county would supply one, but the time and money wasted on printing a budget book was another sore spot the county wanted to eliminate.
Struck’s goal in searching for a new budgeting solution was to get away from “the way we’ve always done it,” and fulfill the government’s commitment to process improvement, transparency, and community engagement.
After evaluating other providers, they chose ClearGov’s Digital Budget Book solution. Struck appreciates that it presents the budget data in an organized, interactive, and easy to understand format that provides all the information citizens need to quickly find what they’re searching for.
The easy to use, modern solution alleviates a lot of stress and allows the office of management and budget team to be true partners with department and agency heads throughout the entire budgeting process. Struck was impressed that once their initial budget book was complete, future budget numbers would be easy to add, saving a significant amount of time. Additionally, reducing the back-and-forth with department heads and the manual process of creating the budget book would allow the county to start their budgeting process much sooner in future years and allocate time to more productive tasks.
The county uploaded 10 years of budget data for historical graphs to add context, and is looking forward to using ClearGov’s Capital Budgeting solution to help citizens better understand how financial decisions are made.
While there was a natural learning curve, Struck says the ClearGov team was very easy to work with, responsive, collaborative, and receptive to feedback, while always helping the county understand the full capabilities of the software. “This was our opportunity to improve and modernize our process and look at things differently. It was an opportunity to get away from old habits, incorporate best practices, and put the budget book together in a way that truly makes sense for the public,” said Struck.