Today, Questica announced the launch Questica Budget Book powered by CaseWare, its new Budget Book solution for government agencies in North America. This new Budget Book tool brings together two experts in public finance technology — Questica a leader in public sector budgeting preparation and management, and CaseWare International, the leading provider of government financial reporting database driven solutions with over 400,000 users in over 130 countries.
For government agencies one important output of the annual budgeting process is the sharing of its plan with its citizens. The final document referred to as the Budget Book (or sometimes called the “financial plan”) is a large document often 200 or more pages. It includes not only the financial numbers, but the important rationale behind the agency’s planned spending and how it supports and serves the community. The Budget Book is generally shared either as a print document available at the agency or is posted as a downloadable document on the agency’s website.
Depending on the size of the organization, many government finance departments spend hundreds or even thousands of hours each year manually collecting multiple spreadsheets, word processing documents and other graphical elements (organizational charts, graphs and images) from across the agency to develop these Budget Books. Because of the time required to develop a Budget Book, many agencies have elected to only provide the financial numbers in a plain spreadsheet format without the vital narrative. This is a huge missed opportunity for an agency to engage and share its overall goals and objectives with their stakeholders.
“Having already made the investment to purchase and implement comprehensive budgeting software to manage their budgeting process, many of our customers told us they were looking for a better way to leverage the data and information that already exists in Questica Budget to publish their annual Budget Books,” says Craig Ross, Vice-President, Business Development at Questica. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Caseware to create a Budget Book solution that provides a direct integration from Questica Budget to their CaseWare Working Papers.”
Questica Budget Book powered by CaseWare allows government agencies to create, collaborate, edit, approve and publish their annual Budget Books using an effective workflow, security and feedback loop. This minimizes the potential for errors and omissions that is inherent with a manual process with its version control issues, tedious manual updates, minimal security/access options, and no access to historical changes for individuals involved in the process.
“One nice feature of Questica Budget Book is that it provides local governments with the key content requirements to develop books that are compliant with GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award,” states Jamie Black, President, F. H. Black & Company Incorporated, the sole authorized provider of implementation and training services for CaseWare’s government/education solutions in Canada and the author of the Questica Budget Book. “Now governments, including small- to- medium-sized agencies have an efficient and cost-effective way to create and publish a professional Budget Book that might have previously been unattainable from a cost and time management perspective.”