Deschutes County


Posted by Rachel Raymond

Topic(s): Success Stories, Budget Book

Read Time: minute(s)

Deschutes County Made Massive Efficiency Gains in Minimal Time with Only Moderate Guidance

Project: Budget Automation
Organization: Deschutes County
Population: 204,801 (2021)
Solutions: Workiva Wdesk & Wdata
Budget Book: 2022 Adopted Budget Book
Success Story: Deschutes County

With a single automation project, the Deschutes County, Oregon finance and budget department team reduced its budget book preparation time by 60-65% in year one and anticipate greater efficiency gains in the coming years. Like many public sector organizations, the county's finance department was plagued by inefficient business processes and inadequate tools, tempering their ability to commit sufficient time to higher-value tasks like long-term forecasting.  

The Search

Deschutes County enlisted the help of the experts at F.H. Black &  Company Incorporated. Working together, they reviewed the county's existing processes, identified areas for improvement, generated a list of requirements, and assessed the qualifying solutions. 

"We looked at quite a few solutions, probably 8 or 9 different platforms over 6 to 7 months... FHB answered all our questions and steered us in the right direction."
Daniel Emerson, Budget Manager at Deschutes County

The Right Solution - Workiva

After carefully assessing their requirements and stringently reviewing industry-leading solutions for the best fit, the county opted for Workiva. A combination of Wdesk and Wdata gave the county a robust cloud-based automation solution that enabled the seamless collaboration of all contributors to the book. The intuitive and familiar interface of Wdesk enables the team to instantly generate automated reports and create custom data sets and calculations in seconds. 

"We absolutely love Workiva!
Right now, there’s an over 50% probability that at some point in the next year, we will reach out and talk about an ACFR implementation. We'll recommend F.H. Black for that as well.”

FHB's Guided-Self Implementation

Having selected Workiva as their reporting automation solution, it was time for the county to implement, configure, and optimize the solution for their environment. Workiva's seemingly limitless potential and plethora of features meant that if the county wanted to optimally implement the solution to maximize automation and collaboration, they would benefit from expert help.  The question was, how much help?

As no two organizations, finance departments, or implementations are the same, FHB offers its clients many options.  Implementations are scoped, packaged, and priced based on the client's requirements, budget, and availability to contribute to the project. The county was offered a sliding scale of services.

On one side, you have a delegated implementation. This option would see the county delegate the implementation to the CPAs at FHB. They would have to provide a little information, but almost all of the work would be completed by the team at FHB. This is the most expensive option; it requires very little input from the county and is fast.

On the other side of the scale, there is the guided-self implementation. This is the least expensive option and designates most of the work to the team at the county. FHB provides initial infrastructure setup, training, guidance, and any additional custom development work requested.

implementation_optionsConfident in their ability and availability to self-implement the solution with guidance from FHB, the county opted for a guided-self implementation. Besides the cost, this option

has the added benefit of including the county's team in just about every step of the implementation process, resulting in the team having familiarity and knowledge of the solution that they otherwise would not. The county also knew that they could always approach FHB for additional services if they ran into a problem.


“I think that this project by the end of July would have already paid for itself”.

Next year and beyond

No matter how you measure it, the county's budget automation project was a huge success. As a result, the county can declare in no uncertain terms that it has massively improved the efficiency, reliability, repeatability, and accuracy of its budget preparation process, with far-reaching implications for the budget team, the department, the organization, and the community.

For more on this project, read the full story

For more on this topic(s), see: Success Stories, Budget Book

Originally Posted on 29 September, 2022

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