State of West Virginia


Posted by Rachel Raymond

Topic(s): Success Stories, ACFR, Workiva

Read Time: minute(s)

West Virginia Team Automates
More Than 90% of Budget Book 

Project: Budget Book Automation
Organization: State of West Virginia
Population 1.78 million (2021)
Solution: Workiva Wdesk & Wdata

The Challenge

When we first spoke with the State of West Virginia (WV) budget office team, they were looking to automate their process for producing Volume II of their annual budget book. Heather Greenfield, Budget Analyst, explained that the team’s existing process was “all manual…you’re talking about the…domino effect…so, if you [made] one change, it [would] hit 12 different places across several different books—thousands of pages—and you’d have to remember where all of those [were].” 


How It Went

With their 2024 budget book recently completed, WV sat down with us to discuss the project’s implementation and outcomes.  

“Personally, I've never gone through an implementation where I was so heavily involved. Most [of the ones] I've gone through...had a tech team heading up [the project], so this was pretty ‘hands-on' for us, but it was good... I think it helped us learn what to do and troubleshoot a lot more so than if we hadn't been so hands-on,” said Misty Reese, the office’s Deputy Director. 

FHB Principal Consultant Jill Moats, CPA and her team set up custom queries, tables, and scripting to automate WV's narratives, eliminating the need to update each one manually and the associated risk. FHB also provided WV with the full documentation of their configuration, with step-by-step instructions for updating scripts, creating new groups, and more. This documentation will be particularly helpful when bringing new employees on board.

"There was very little that we had to do manually besides setting it up as a one-time thing...and we have a colossal amount of was pretty impressive," said Heather.

At one point during the implementation, the WV team ran into some technical difficulties. FHB’s tech support team did some troubleshooting and discovered that the issue was software-related—which is not unheard of, even among best-in-breed solutions like Workiva. FHB and Workiva worked together to facilitate a quick resolution. “It was helpful to have somebody to go to bat for's nice that F. H. Black has had all this experience with [Workiva] and could get it sorted,” said Heather.

An Expert Team

Throughout the project, the WV team was in Jill's capable hands. Her public-sector accounting expertise was immediately evident, said Heather. “Every state or project is going to be different, but I felt like—even for our most complicated tasks or procedures, different accounting techniques, or details [specific to us]—she was able to pick up on [those] pretty quickly.”


“Jill was awesome. Anytime we had a problem or question, she just dove  
into it and was relentless in figuring it out…I felt like she had our back.” 
–Heather Greenfield, Budget Analyst, WV State Budget Office 


 Misty agreed. “[Jill] was wonderful. Very smart. She was really good to work with,” she said.

The entire WV team was highly impressed with Jill’s responsiveness. “She would send us messages, even late at night,” Heather said.  “Yeah, at 1 a.m., we [were thinking], ‘why are you awake?’,” Misty added. “We even had a meeting on her day off, so she always made time for us…I never felt like she left us hanging,” said Heather. 

Having an expert guide the project was crucial to ensuring an optimal outcome for the WV team. Jill adapted project steps to meet the team’s needs in real time, harnessing functionality that they otherwise wouldn’t have known existed.  westvirginia_quote-2

Staying on Track

WV was also pleased with FHB’s project management approach. “[Their tool] worked really well. It was helpful to go in and see exactly what I had to do, and if I was behind deadline,” said Heather. “And then also having the links to…a Microsoft Teams meeting, or [file] or [video] links, all in one place. It kept the whole thing organized,” she said.


A Measurable Outcome

With the help of FHB, the WV team successfully automated more than 90 percent of their budget book document. 

For the first time, Heather and her team were able to beat the book's deadline by several hours. "You don't finish Volume II early. And it was done two hours early. It was crazy," she said.


What's Next

westvirginia_review “[In the past], sometimes we [didn’t] have time to even proof our books. There were so many changes and... we were doing all this manual work...we just sent them off because we're do so. Now, [we] don't have to worry about those little embarrassing errors. [We] can go through and read the books, [we] can do analysis if [we] want to,” said Heather.  

The WV team plans to make the most of its new setup. “The goal is to add other volumes...and that will save even more time…there are so many possibilities,” she said. 

For more on this topic(s), see: Success Stories, ACFR, Workiva

Originally Posted on 12 March, 2024

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