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Federal efficiency—automated budgets

Learn how federal agencies can improve government efficiency and do more for the mission by automating the entire budget lifecycle.

Overview

To do more for the mission, you must do better with the budget. The budget process is a time-consuming, resource-absorbing process that does not generally provide a federal agency deep transparency into what it needs and how federal funds should best be allocated. Automation brings increased transparency and control to the budgeting process, delivering agencies a connected, more cohesive picture of their budget requirements.

By automating the budget process, CFOs can lessen the need for manual entry, achieve standardization, reduce errors and rework, and establish clear linkages between budgets and financial execution.

Beyond that, an accurate budget can enable federal agencies to do more for the mission, demonstrating that their agency is a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars, making every effort to deliver public service for the future.

 

READ THIS SHORT PIECE THAT EXPLORES SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT FEDERAL CFOS FACE DURING THEIR BUDGET JOURNEYS, AND LEARN THE ANSWERS TO CHARTING THE COURSE TOWARD GREATER GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY. [PDF]

Background

Increasing costs, expanding regulatory and mission requirements and tighter purse strings are not new challenges for federal chief financial officers (CFOs) and their organizations. But there are new answers for delivering public service for the future by improving efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in federal budgeting.

Most cabinet-level organizations have sophisticated enterprise resource planning (ERP) financial systems to support financial execution and reporting, but they still struggle with manual, spreadsheet-driven budget processes. To ease the burden, CFOs can explore automated solutions that support the organization’s entire budget lifecycle. Best-of-breed tools that increase standardization, reduce manual entry (minimizing errors and rework) and improve transparency can equip an agency to do more for the mission during the budgeting process.

 

DOWNLOAD THE FULL PDF TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BUDGET AUTOMATION. [PDF]

Analysis

Standardization leads to a better budget because all information is in the same format and uses the same set of rules. In turn, federal organizations can make wiser allocation decisions because they have a cohesive, consistent picture of their enterprise-wide planning data.

Automated budget tools provide consistency. Rather than using terms planners may interpret differently to track budget items, the system would provide a detailed list of specific line items to choose from. Anyone reviewing the budget will have clarity of expenditures and can therefore better plan for the future.

When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts wanted to better integrate its fiscal planning and decision-making capabilities, they implemented a new budgeting and forecasting solution that focuses on position-based budgeting at the employee level. Now, approximately 350 state agency and Administration and Finance budgeting personnel across 156 state agencies use the solution, and are improving fiscal transparency and accountability everyday.1

 

DISCOVER OTHER EXAMPLES OF FEDERAL AGENCIES THAT ARE ACHIEVING RESULTS THROUGH STREAMLINED BUDGETING. [PDF]

1 Accenture; “Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Public Service Transformation;”

Recommendations

By putting an enterprise-wide tool in place, everyone within the organization goes to the same system to add input that is then automatically assimilated. Such process efficiencies free up financial managers to spend less time on tracking details, and more time on planning for ways to use the budget to do more for the mission.

With Massachusetts’ new budgeting system, the agency has a picture of the entire budget and plan across all fund types (operating, federal and trust) at multiple levels (Account, Agency, Secretariat and Commonwealth). Users are able to compare and reconcile approved plan/budget information with its actual spending on personnel so that adjustments to the spending plan and related budgeting decisions may be made at identified points during the fiscal year. An integrated budget allows an agency to disseminate funds with more clarity and certainty. CFOs will have access to enough history to look at a budget request and see if it is clear and has merit.

Take for instance one federal agency that distributes billions of dollars in funding to labs across the country. The agency was relying upon time-consuming manual processes to do so, and they also faced a lack of transparency, limited flexibility and high transaction costs. By implementing an integrated budget tool, the agency is gaining the ability to look deeper at business operations, and their related impact on financials, by tightly integrating financial and operational planning models. In the future, the agency expects to experience enhanced integration, standardization, budgeting efficiency, collaboration and budget process effectiveness.

 

READ MORE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE FULL PDF.

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