Fast-Growing Deschutes County Scales Budget Book Process with F.H. Black & Company Incorporated and Workiva
- Multiple sources and systems
- Time-consuming budget book creation process
- Numerous back-and-forth emails on narrative updates
- An estimated time savings of 60% to 65% for the budget book process
- Repeatable, reliable, scalable process
- Real-time narrative collaboration
Why They Chose Workiva
- Financial Reporting
With the most rapid population growth of any county in Oregon, Deschutes County has a lot of critical budget decisions to make. For budget manager Daniel Emerson, that means having the most up-to-date and accurate data to deliver a comprehensive budget book to stakeholders. On top of that, they need to produce the budget book quickly so Daniel’s team can spend more time on long-term forecasting and analysis.
With a budget book that averages over 300 pages and numerous departments involved, Daniel and his team turned to F.H. Black & Company Incorporated to find and implement a solution that would improve the overall process. He wanted a solution that could automate tasks, make collaboration more efficient, and expedite the process.
“We needed a solution that would help automate our budget book process every year, where collaborators could meet in one place and work on their narratives at the same time,” Daniel said.
With F.H. Black & Company Incorporated’s advisory expertise, Deschutes County implemented Workiva’s connected financial reporting solution.
Daniel was impressed with the skilled and knowledgeable team at F.H. Black & Company Incorporated, who “went above and beyond” to ensure his budget department would hit the ground running.
“We were able to finish the project and get it working perfectly, which is always what you want at the end of an implementation,” Daniel said. “We are very pleased with the implementation F.H. Black & Company Incorporated delivered and the solution Workiva provides—it’s exactly what we were looking for.”
The ROI of an efficient budget book process
Thinking through the entire budget book creation process, Daniel estimates they will see a 60–65% reduction in the time it takes to produce the book. “Going forward, this will likely save us a month to a month and a half of work per year,” Daniel said.
Daniel mentioned there’s a lot more the team wants to focus on versus worrying about getting the budget book out for the mid-sized county with a budget of $650 million. And Workiva is helping them do just that.
“Workiva is incredibly valuable to our county, especially as we’re looking into more long-term forecasting,” Daniel said. “We can produce the budget book much more efficiently with the automation, while having multiple collaborators work on it at the same time.”
Daniel said giving the county’s 15 or so department heads and business managers access to work on specific sections of the budget book has been another massive win with the Workiva platform.
With the advanced permissions feature, his team can provide contributors access to only their narrative sections without giving access to the entire budget book. Being able to work simultaneously on the narrative not only saves significant time, but it also eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails.
Internal project champion for the win
Given Daniel’s technical expertise and background in data science, he was eager to dive into the implementation process and learn how his team could best use the Workiva platform. Being a part of other successful software implementations and building his own software in the past, he was well suited to navigate the ins and outs of the project.
Daniel notes the importance of having an internal champion for this type of project—someone who is passionate, invested in the process, and wants to learn.
“For me, the project was during the budget off-season. I was very invested in learning the Workiva platform and making sure it was implemented correctly,” Daniel said.
And while it’s an extra time investment up front, Daniel said it’s crucial to take the time and create a process that uses one central data source and maximizes automation.
“I think something that helped me from a tech perspective is always keeping in mind that the processes you set up during implementation may take longer. But it’s worth it. Setting up the process to ensure it’s efficient and automated all the way through will help you be most successful in the long run,” Daniel said.
Data at your fingertips
When it comes to using the Workiva platform, Daniel put it simply: “We love Workiva.” Prior to the new budget book process, Daniel and his team would have to go into multiple systems and sheets. With everything centralized, the team can move much faster, increasing efficiency across the board.
“Everything is in a central area now. There’s no reason to go to all of these disparate sheets to pull together the budget,” Daniel said. “We now have all that information at our fingertips all the time.”
In addition, Daniel and his staff now have one source of truth they’re working from and can refresh the data every day. This increases their confidence in the data outputs and what they deliver to stakeholders.
“Using one source prevents errors. It’s much more organized. It’s repeatable,” Daniel said.
In the cloud and automated: Continuous improvement
Even with the benefits Deschutes County already sees with the Workiva platform, Daniel and his team have their sights set on making the budget book process even more efficient.
“As we finish up the budget book, my staff and I are already talking about additional ways we can use Workiva to automate even more next year,” Daniel said.
Discover how the Workiva platform can simplify and improve your budget book process. Request a demo at workiva.com/request-demo.