Moving budgets off the spreadsheet and into the cloud

2020 Government Innovation Awards

Cloud-based apportionments management

The budget apportionment process is a tedious but essential part of agency operations and one that often entails dueling spreadsheets and reams of paper records. The Budget Line of Business — a budget-process innovation team based at the Education Department — is working to modernize apportionment via a cloud-based shared service.

Budget Line of Business Apportionment Manager

Department of Education

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The Apportionment Manager makes it easier to stay on the right side of the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits federal employees from exceeding the budgeted amount for any activity, by ensuring that funds are properly apportioned by time period, function and program. It allows agencies to interface directly with the Office of Management and Budget’s apportionment system while maintaining their internal controls and workflow capabilities. In fact, one agency reported that it cut apportionment processing time in half.

The system is designed to move documents electronically from an agency to the Education Department’s Budget Office and finally to OMB for review and sign-off. That approach creates a digital audit trail and allows stakeholders to track apportionments through the entire process — from initial review to final approval. The central system of record replaces countless email attachments and paper files and significantly reduces the amount of effort involved in workflow validations.

Thanks to electronic signatures, a web-based interface and carefully tailored workflows, the Apportionment Manager enables every step of the process to happen remotely. That proved especially valuable during the pandemic this year but will be important in a wide range of post-COVID situations as well.

The first iteration of the Apportionment Manager debuted in 2016, but 2020 was a tipping point for the effort. The revamped system has been deployed to seven agencies governed by the Chief Financial Officers Act, and development is underway for an eighth.

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