Case Study: City of Edmonton, Alberta
The City of Edmonton (“Edmonton”) is the capital city of the province of Alberta, a vibrant urban centre that is located on the North Saskatchewan River and which serves as a gateway to Canada’s north. With a population of over one million citizens, Edmonton is a one of the youngest and fastest-growing cities in Canada.
Annual Operating Budget
$3 billion operating budget
Questica Budget’s Operating, Capital, and Salaries modules
The City of Edmonton transformed their budgeting process with Questica Budget by enabling specific capabilities:
- Secure and easy-to-use system for collaborative budgeting
- Comprehensive view of budget data for analysis and reporting
- Ability to assess the impact of COVID-19 and adjust budgets accordingly
The City of Edmonton’s previous budgeting system consisted of using Excel spreadsheets for their operating budget and a customized database designed for their capital budget. However, both systems were inflexible, as it was impossible for the City to create reports or see all of their budget information. Business units had different systems of record-keeping and often submitted information in inconsistent formats. Even when Edmonton tried to consolidate information in their SAP finance system, they couldn’t analyze or manipulate the data, and would still have to create reports manually in spreadsheets.
The City of Edmonton integrated Questica Budget with both SAP and PeopleSoft to create a seamless flow of data between systems. The City has hundreds of users participating in the budgeting process for different purposes; some are entering department budgets, others are retrieving reports or searching for information. Whatever their need, the City has a secure central location for their budget data which enables users to add information or access real-time data at any time. Having a collaborative environment makes it easy for finance to connect with business units and develop the budget in a timely fashion.
Using spreadsheets and an antiquated budgeting system for their previous budgeting process made it difficult for Edmonton to consolidate information from different business units and see all of their budget data. Another pain point was the inability to create reports for analysis and sharing. By switching to a budgeting solution, the City has a comprehensive view of their budgets and can produce numerous types of reports. Being able to work with their budget data also means that Edmonton can gain important insights. For instance, when the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) went down by 1% and would affect the City’s 15,000 FTEs, the City was able to calculate the difference using modifiers in Questica Budget to determine how they could save approximately $7 million. This calculation only took a few hours and it would have been inconceivable to get this information from their previous budgeting system.
In early 2020, the City of Edmonton, like other local governments around the world, had to contend with the impact of COVID-19. It was a challenge to shift suddenly to remote work and, at the same time, quickly adjust budgets to fund emergency resources. Using a cloud-based budgeting solution meant the impact of the pandemic was minimized for Edmonton and the City was able to conduct a corporate-wide analysis of their finances. With all of their budget data in one place, including details about how much revenue had been expected, they could analyze and plan for different scenarios. In addition, the finance team was able to create new reports that showed comparisons of the original budget against budgets adjusted for COVID-19. This enabled the budget office to share revised budgets with Council and devise new processes for business units to submit changes to revenues and expenses.
The City of Edmonton has been using Questica Budget for over seven years to manage their operating, salaries and capital budgets. The City appreciates using a powerful budgeting solution that allows for efficient budget preparation and the flexibility to adjust to new requirements, like the ability to create tables within Questica Budget for capital projects. With hundreds of users accessing the solution to do everything from view budgets, enter data, to generate reports, Questica Budget engages everyone in the budgeting process and enables collaboration. The pain of not being able to view and analyze data or create reports, has been solved by Questica Budget’s ability to house data in one centralized location, and provide powerful features and functionality for administering budgets.
“Needless to say, no one was prepared for COVID-19, so it’s been hectic to come up with a new process to capture information and create new reports to display information. But I believe Questica Budget has helped us a lot with that.”
— Camilo Ramirez, CMA, Budget Officer, City of Edmonton