Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Does Your (Local) Government Have a Fiscal Command Center?


"To make smart, proactive decisions, municipal leaders need a fiscal command center for data-creation, data analytics and data-driven decision making."


It goes without saying that the vast majority of local governments No. 1 priority is to establish a vibrant community by establishing and delivering great results to its citizens. This outcome is typically met by efficient resource utilization and delivering high-quality services that exceed citizen expectations.

Sounds simple, right? But how exactly do you connect available resources, costs, and outcomes associated with specific services to communicating value (results) to citizens? 

Does your local government specifically know, for example, the true cost of your curbside recycling program (including all fees, rates and charges)? With what data would you work with, if you were tasked with analyzing outsourcing (or in-sourcing) vehicle maintenance? What if your organization was approached with a proposal to consolidate inspections services with another jurisdiction - what program data would you have on hand to evaluate and execute the right decision?

Assuming detailed program-by-program level cost data actually exists within your organization, where would you find it? In the budget, on a separate spreadsheet in the Budget Director's or Mayor's office? And again assuming this data exists, what else could you do with it? 

Could you make ready comparisons to other public-sector, or private sector service providers (to evaluate the efficiency or the appropriate sourcing of your programs); could you bring departments into the process of understanding and communicating better what they do, and how much it costs, on a program level; could you see clearly how your workforce is associated with programs (do you have retirement eligible staff serving a particular program, and are you aware of how you'll address succession planning?, for example); and will it allow you to transition your approach (or the department's approach) from line-item budgeting to program budgeting?

Data-Focused Decisions


The truth is that very few governments are able to meet their No. 1 priority because they don't have the hard data required to make smart and transparent decisions throughout their organization.
Nor do they have the internal structure, a fiscal command center, where the critical data flows together and provides a visual platform for intelligent, transparent, data-focused decisions to be made.

To make smart, proactive decisions, municipal leaders need a fiscal command center for data-creation, data analytics and data-driven decision making. This command center presents an intuitive user-interface to identify the programs and services your organization provides, and translates your line-item budget into a program budget. The development of a program inventory and program costs is the foundational data-set to bring clarity and understanding, data-focused decision-making, in a time when it’s never been so crucial. And it’s never before been so easy to do…

Introducing CPBB’s Web-Based Program Inventory and Program Costing Tool! 

 


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If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.

 
Center for Priority Based Budgeting
2015 Annual Conference 
Denver, Colorado | August 4 - 6, 2015
Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel






Friday, May 15, 2015

Connecting Costs & Outcomes: Innovation and Resilience with GFOA!

 

"Connecting costs and outcomes associated with specific services is critical to communicating value to citizens."

 

"Program costing is at the forefront of GFOA's priorities right now!"



At the end of this month, May 31-June 3, leaders from the Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA’s) following of over 18,000 members will take part in GFOA’s Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

We at the Center for Priority Based Budgeting are humbled and proud to announce that we’ll be there too, presenting "Painless Program Costing" Sunday, May 31st. This will be CPBB’s 3rd time presenting at a GFOA annual conference, and we are so thrilled, perhaps this time more than any other time…

Why is this presentation so important?


As GFOA’s Shayne Kavanaugh enthusiastically relayed to us, “program costing is at the forefront of GFOA’s priorities right now” – and CPBB has been doing Program Inventory and Program Costing in nearly 100 organizations since 2009!

According to GFOA: “Program budgeting is an underlying assumption to many of GFOA's budgeting best practices, and being able to connect costs and outcomes associated with specific services is critical to communicating value to citizens. However, very few governments actually do this fundamental piece well for a number of reasons, including poor definition of programs and technical challenges in accounting for programs.”

Make no mistake, program costing is not easy! As so many leaders know, engaging in the exercise itself is often the result of controversial questions around “sourcing”, assessing fees and charges as they measure against the “true cost of doing business”, privatization, running government “like a business”, public-private partnerships, efficiency analysis and financial transparency.

And yet, therein lay the most exciting realization! Just as GFOA has identified: if you can measure Program Costs, you can answer these questions, and so many more!

We at the CPBB have seen it again and again – the way to diffuse politics, to temper emotionally-driven decision making in favor of data-focused decision making, can come about with great data. Program Costing is a center-piece to data-driven decision making, and we’re looking forward to May 31st as our opportunity to unveil (as GFOA described our presentation) “Painless Program Costing” with a web-based, user-friendly interface that translates your line-item budget into a program budget.

We at the CPBB have spent our careers delving into the kinds of controversial discussions that have, until now, polarized politicians – whether to outsource, to insource, to raise fees, to lower taxes, to privatize or partner or divest the organization of a service.

We’ve been attracted to these contentious debates NOT because we’re crazy, but because the answers to these questions are so important to get RIGHT! Or, to put it another way, CPBB’s founders designed tools specifically to resolve these kinds of debates, because throughout our careers, like so many of you, we experienced the emotional struggles and misunderstandings that accompany data-less debate!

“Painless program costing” presents an intuitive user-interface to identify the programs and services your organization provides, and translate your line-item budget into a program budget. The development of a program inventory and program costs is the foundational data-set to bring clarity and understanding, data-focused decision-making in a time when it’s never been so crucial. And it’s never before been so easy to do…

Introducing CPBB’s web-based Program Inventory and Program Costing Tool!



We created this innovative new web tool because our partner organizations wanted an easy to use, web-based tool that would easily connect to your financial system and give you:
  • a tool that allows you to evaluate the fees, rates and charges that you have on a program-by-program basis,
  • a tool that allows you to make ready comparisons to other public-sector, or private sector service providers, to the extent that you want to evaluate the efficiency or the appropriate sourcing of your programs,
  • a tool that brings departments into the process of understanding and communicating better what they do, and how much it costs, on a program level,
  • a tool that can allow you to see clearly how your workforce is associated with programs (do you have retirement eligible staff serving a particular program, and are you aware of how you'll address succession planning?, for example),
  • and ultimately a tool that helps transition your approach (or the department's approach) from line-item budgeting to program budgeting
The GFOA Best Practice for "Measuring the the Full Cost of Government Service" was created over a decade ago... At a time when this data-driven practice, this "evolution" from line-item budgeting is so valuable, so vital to our community's success, we wanted a Tool to make this far easier. We wanted to make it accessible. We wanted it in everybody's hands!

Program Inventory and Costing made easy - by CPBB!

Find out MORE and contact US about our web-based Program Inventory and Program Costing Tool!

Learn more at CPBB's Know the cost of your #localgov services! CPBB presenting at the GFOA conference! 

Center for Priority Based Budgeting
2015 Annual Conference 
Denver, Colorado | August 4 - 6, 2015
Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting to the Program Level Understanding of "What You Do" - CPBB Program Inventory & Costing.... Made Easy!


"Connecting costs and outcomes associated with specific services is critical to communicating value to citizens!"

  
Program budgeting is an underlying assumption to many of GFOA's budgeting best practices and being able to connect costs and outcomes associated with specific services is critical to communicating value to citizens.

However, very few governments actually do this fundamental piece well for a number of reasons, including poor definition of programs and technical challenges in accounting for programs.

Why?

Well, for one, we’ve never had a tool to make it easy…

At the CPBB, we created an approach to developing Program Inventory and Program Costs when we were in local government - because nothing existed to meet our needs. It was self-serving! What we found, was that it was the gateway dataset to Priority Based Budgeting!

Getting to a program level understanding of "what you do," and a transparent and accurate understanding of "how much it costs" to provide those programs is a critical ingredient for understanding what options you have as an organization to change what you're currently doing. 




The only way to get to the answer of questions like "can we do this program more efficiently," or "are we the best source to provide this service," or "are we recovering the costs for providing this service, both direct and indirect costs"  requires a complete understanding of what the program is, and how much it costs.

The key is a user-friendly, web-based Program Inventory & Program Costing user-interface. It links directly with your line-item budget, flows through your payroll data, and generates easy to update Program Costs. Your worksheets are protected and stored on the cloud, providing web accessibility to your organization!

video

We created this innovative new web tool because our partner organizations wanted an easy to use, web-based tool that would easily connect to your financial system to update the data, and give you:
  • a tool that allows you to evaluate the fees, rates and charges that you have on a program-by-program basis,
  • a tool that allows you to make ready comparisons to other public-sector, or private sector service providers, to the extent that you want to evaluate the efficiency or the appropriate sourcing of your programs,
  • a tool that brings departments into the process of understanding and communicating better what they do, and how much it costs, on a program level,
  • a tool that can allow you to see clearly how your workforce is associated with programs (do you have retirement eligible staff serving a particular program, and are you aware of how you'll address succession planning?, for example),
  • and ultimately a tool that helps transition your approach (or the department's approach) from line-item budgeting to program budgeting


The GFOA Best Practice for "Measuring the the Full Cost of Government Service" was created over a decade ago... At a time when this data-driven practice, this "evolution" from line-item budgeting is so valuable, so vital to our community's success, we wanted a Tool to make this far easier. We wanted to make it accessible. We wanted it in everybody's hands!

Program Inventory and Costing made easy - by CPBB!

Find out MORE and contact US about our web-based Program Inventory and Program Costing Tool!

Learn more at CPBB's Know the cost of your #localgov services! CPBB presenting at the GFOA conference!

Center for Priority Based Budgeting
2015 Annual Conference 
Denver, Colorado | August 4 - 6, 2015
Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel