Capital Project Monitoring... Commentary on the GFOA Best Practices
Part 3: Plan and design systems to collect, store, and analyze project data and to report results
There is an old axiom; "Knowledge is Power". The optimal results to be realized by Capital Program Management (CPM) are going to be driven by the effective acquisition of knowledge and its subsequent utilization. Fundamental to achieving these desired results is the establishment of an information environment by which data and information can be acquired or collected, stored, synthesized and ultimately reported as a function of performance measurement and resultant action. This is what we believe is the thrust of point 3 of the GFOA Recommended Practice: Capital Project Monitoring and Reporting (2007) (CEDCP) October 19, 2007:
Plan and design systems to collect, store, and analyze project data and to report results.
Often, more than one system or technological solution is required to properly address all informational requirements. To simplify this process, responsible officials should:
- Decide which system will be the main system for storing capital project financial and operational data.
- When establishing a data system specifically for capital projects, take the following factors, (at minimum) into consideration:
- The appropriate technological solutions for project accounting, scheduling and reporting. Solutions may include spreadsheets, customized databases, ERP systems, or project management software.
- Positional roles, including access, input and editing privileges for system users who will be charged with compiling, analyzing and reporting financial and management information.
- The process for controlling and managing project changes.
- Accountability and data integrity within the financial management system.
- Data accuracy. This is particularly important when there are interfaces between separate information systems, such as geographic information systems, project management systems and financial systems. Careful consideration should be given to avoid duplicative data among these different systems.
- Triggers and protocols for identifying and addressing project cost overruns.
- Assure that appropriate system controls and security have been incorporated, consistent with the jurisdiction's technology standards.
- Strive for consistency and standardized language when compiling information from various sources.
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