Innovative Platform Modernizes the Budget Process for Local Governments and School Districts

by Chris Bullock

modern government budgetingClearGov launches new budgeting and forecasting solution to compliment transparency platform.

Maynard, MA (9/20/18) – ClearGov, a leader in municipal technology, announced today a new product that streamlines the budget-building process for local governments and school districts and allows them to more accurately and easily forecast expenses and funding. Designed in collaboration with existing ClearGov customers, the sophisticated, yet simple platform was built in response to the ever-evolving demands of the public sector to enhance antiquated systems and drive efficiencies.

ClearGov BudgetsTM allows municipal officials to quickly and easily create, share and review their budget via a web-based portal. Innovative collaboration tools give administrators the ability to easily communicate with department heads on budget requests; accept or deny requests; and manage and track feedback. The platform gives internal stakeholders more visibility into the entire budgeting process; saves time and effort; and mitigates the human error that can happen when trying to collaborate across multiple spreadsheets.

Additionally, ClearGov BudgetsTM includes a sophisticated forecasting tool that allows local municipalities to gain a clearer picture of future expenses and funding in order to make more informed budgetary decisions. The forecasting tool goes beyond traditional regression-based forecast analyses by utilizing a type of neural network used in deep learning systems, to automatically generate accurate forecasts based on current and historical internal budget models.

ClearGov BudgetsTM also features a digital audit trail that is automatically created and updated whenever changes are made to the budget; the ability to create and export reports for print or digital budget books; and a document repository that enables users to easily access any supporting documentation for individual budgetary line items.

“Our clients have consistently expressed how much time and frustration can be involved in their budgeting process,” said Chris Bullock, CEO at ClearGov. “We worked closely with our clients to develop a solution that is simple and easy to use, yet flexible enough to fit their process and powerful enough to meet and exceed the needs of all sizes of municipalities.”

ClearGov is a leader in government transparency and benchmarking solutions and works with hundreds of local governments and school districts in 20 states across the country. The Massachusetts based startup recently raised a round of seed capital and has consistently grown their customer base 350% year-over-year. The addition of BudgetsTM to ClearGov’s suite of innovative municipal solutions is the next step in ClearGov’s mission to build a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments.

“As a client-focused company, it is our responsibility to listen and take action when we uncover a real need,” said Sarah Webber, VP of Client Success at ClearGov. “Feedback from the BudgetsTM pilot group has been very positive and I couldn’t be more proud that ClearGov has found another way to truly help democracy work better.”

To explore ClearGov’s local government budgeting dashboard visit www.cleargov.com.

 

About ClearGov

ClearGov is building a community of transparent, data-driven, modern governments. ClearGov drives this mission by offering a suite of SaaS solutions for town, cities, schools and other municipal entities that includes transparency, benchmarking, budgeting and forecasting solutions. ClearGov’s award-winning platform is utilized by hundreds of communities across twenty different states.

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

ClearGov Launches Artificial Intelligence Platform to Compare Local Government Finances

by Chris Bullock

Machine Learning Automatically Standardizes Municipal Accounting to Enable Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking

Maynard, MA (5/8/18) – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, today announced an artificial intelligence platform to more accurately and automatically compare finances across municipalities.  The new technology helps local governments benchmark spending and funding across a state and national standardized chart of accounts developed by ClearGov.

“Municipalities and school districts will often look to compare finances against similar agencies as a way to identify opportunities to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars. Yet the task of benchmarking municipal finances is made difficult by the lack of a standardized accounting structure across municipalities,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.  “For example, one town may categorize an expenditure such as ‘Maintenance of Town Hall’ as a function of Public Works, whereas another town may categorize the same spending under Parks & Recreation.  Without a standardized accounting structure, comparing municipal finances is a challenging, if not futile exercise.”

In response to this problem, ClearGov has developed an artificial intelligence platform that can ingest government agencies’ raw accounting data and automatically translate it into a standardized chart of accounts.  The platform analyzes many elements of the accounting data, including accounting ID structures and line-item keywords, to accurately restructure the data.  By automatically placing similar accounting line items in like categories, the system produces truer “apples to apples” financial comparisons across municipalities.

Government clients of ClearGov’s Insights platform can utilize this standardized accounting structure in a series of custom benchmarking and analytical tools. For example, the platform can inform a town how its spending on “Snow & Ice Removal” compares to other towns with similar road miles in a given proximity.  The peer-to-peer comparisons are also utilized in a public-facing transparency profile to provide context that help bring a town’s financials to life for everyone in the community.

“We believe benchmarking our budget against other towns is important because it allows us to better understand and communicate our own spending in context, but this has been near impossible since every town categorizes their spending differently,” said John Frye, Financial Services Director of the Village of Pinehurst, NC.  “ClearGov’s standardized municipal financial database and budget comparison tools have afforded us a viable means to benchmark our finances against relevant communities”

ClearGov’s new artificial intelligence platform also dramatically reduces the time needed to onboard new clients’ data on to its transparency and benchmarking platform.  A process that was measured in days now takes minutes to analyze and categorize new clients’ data allowing clients to get up and running quickly.

To explore ClearGov’s local government transparency and benchmarking platform visit http://www.cleargov.com.

About ClearGov

ClearGov transforms city and town financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions and improve communication with citizens.

 

PRESS CONTACT:

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

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ClearGov Recognized Among New England’s Top Innovators

by Chris Bullock

We are excited to announce that ClearGov has been nominated for the 2018 New England Innovation Awards.  Established in 1986 by the New England Business Association, the Innovation Awards recognize those companies that have transformed their innovative ideas into a product or service that delivers proven value to customers.  The Program has recognized almost 200 companies from a wide variety of companies in fields such as technology, manufacturing, service, non-profit, and retail/distribution.

“ClearGov prides itself on providing innovative solutions that help local government agencies better leverage data to become more effective and efficient,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.  “So, we are especially honored to be chosen for consideration for this prestigious award.”

The New England Business Association has selected 200 local companies for consideration and will be announcing 20 finalists on mid-April.  The 20 Finalists will each have 3 minutes to present to the entire group of judges, our Partners, our Board members, and other invited guests.  The Gala Awards Presentation and Dinner will be held in early May where the winners will be announced at a formal dinner presentation.

 

ClearGov Introduces State and Local Government Rankings

by Chris Bullock

Easy to understand rankings provide context on demographic, tax, spending, and educational performance categories

State Government RankingsHopkinton, MA (10/2/17) – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, has expanded its platform to include financial performance rankings of over 36,000 municipalities.  The company has also introduced state government fiscal analyses, which benchmarks state budgets.

The newly introduced rankings are built upon the breadth and scope of the ClearGov Insights™ national database, the world’s most comprehensive collection of government finances.  

ClearGov now offers per capita rankings for hundreds of categories including taxes, total revenue and spending on education public safety and employee benefits among other categories. The rankings, which can be filtered by county and population, also provide insight into demographic categories such as population growth, median home value and household income. In select states,  ClearGov also offers testing performance, per pupil spending and teacher salary rankings on local school districts.

ClearGov’s new state budget analyses not only provide taxpayers with a straightforward view of where states derive funding and spend tax dollars, but also benchmarks every budget category against contiguous states.  

“Our goal has always been to transform complex data into actionable intelligence,” said Chris Bullock, CEO and Founder of ClearGov. “It is our hope that our new state and local government rankings and analyses provide yet another opportunity for research and sharing of best practices across governments.”

Over the past two years ClearGov has gathered financial detail on nearly every city, town and village across the United States to create the world’s most comprehensive municipal financial database. The ClearGov Insights™ database now includes over $2.5 trillion in government spending across hundreds of budget categories.  Hundreds of towns, cities, villages and school districts leverage the ClearGov Insights™ platform to operate more effectively and efficiently.

About ClearGov

ClearGov transforms civic and school district financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions and improve communication with citizens.

ClearGov Launches Branded Transparency Portals

by Chris Bullock

ClearGov announced today a new feature that allows clients to easily create a branded transparency portal.   Local governments now have the option to add a community photo and seal at the top, all while still utilizing ClearGov’s infographic dashboards for financial and demographic analyses.  The custom-branded portal is made available via a private sub-domain of the ClearGov site.

The Village of Pinehurst, NC, is the first ClearGov customer to take advantage of the new branded transparency portal feature.   Check it out via the link below!

View Pinehurst, NC transparency portal here

ClearGov Ranks 7 on ELGL’s Top 50 Companies Working With Local Governments

by Chris Bullock

ClearGov topped the list at number 7 for the Haverford Choice awards from ELGL’s top 50 companies working with local governments.

The ClearGov Insights™ platform allows local governments to easily communicate their budgets to residents, and compare that information against similar peer communities.

“We are really excited to be in the top 10, alongside some really impressive organizations for the Haverford Choice awards,” says Chris Bullock, founder and CEO of ClearGov. “We love what ELGL has been doing to connect and educate the industry, and feel honored to be a recipient of this award.”

ELGL mentions their criteria for the award on their site: “The ELGL Evaluation Team used three criteria in selecting and ranking the top 50 companies: number of nominations received by each company (50%), comments submitted on each company (25%), and input from ELGL Evaluation Team (25%).”

Check out your local government’s transparency page here: www.cleargov.com.

ClearGov Announces World’s Most Comprehensive Municipal Finance Database

by Chris Bullock

local-government-financial-networkFinancial Transparency Network Now Spans Over 36,000 Municipalities Across All Fifty States

Hopkinton, MA (5/17/17) – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, has announced today that its network of municipal transparency profiles now covers all fifty states.  Over the past two years ClearGov has gathered financial detail on over 36,000 municipalities to create the world’s most comprehensive municipal financial database.  The ClearGov Insights™ database now includes over $2.4 trillion in government spending across hundreds of budget categories.

“Governments across the country have made tremendous efforts to make data more open and transparent,” claims Bryan Burdick, President and Co-Founder of ClearGov.  “ClearGov is now taking this open data the next mile by making it accessible to the masses and delivering actionable insights to local government leaders.”

The ClearGov team has painstakingly gathered data sets from hundreds of open data portals and FOIA requests and combined them via a unique national chart of accounts.  Through ClearGov’s benchmarking algorithm, visitors can easily compare cities and towns against similar communities and gather powerful insights into local spending.

Nearly one hundred communities across six states are already leveraging the ClearGov Insights™ Platform to provide enhanced transparency and financial accessibility to residents and internal stakeholders.  One such community, the Village of Rye Brook, NY, has found tremendous value through ClearGov’s platform.  “Our residents have a strong desire for transparency and our old way of doing things – flat budgets in PDFs and spreadsheets – just did not meet their needs,” claims Chris Bradbury, Rye Brook Village Administrator. “After a quick and easy implementation, we were able to present our budget numbers in a way that everyone can follow and appreciate, which really enhanced the value of our presentation to the public.”

Government leaders are also mining the ClearGov Insights™ database to make more informed and data-driven budgetary and policy decisions via intuitive benchmarking tools.  

“The breadth and scope of the ClearGov Insights™ national database opens up new opportunities for research and sharing of best practices across governments,” said Chris Bullock, CEO and Founder of ClearGov.  “We truly feel that this is a watershed moment not only for ClearGov, but also for the open data industry.”

To explore ClearGov’s local government network visit http://www.cleargov.com.

 

About ClearGov

ClearGov transforms city and town financial statements into accessible, easy-to-understand infographics to help citizens better understand how their tax dollars are being put to use.  Local governments use ClearGov’s SaaS solutions to reduce operational inefficiencies, make informed budgetary decisions and improve communication with citizens.

 

PRESS CONTACT:

 

Jena Skivington

585.507.5733

jskivington@cleargov.com

ClearGov Demystifies Finances of Massachusetts School Districts

by Chris Bullock

ClearGov School District AnalyticsClearGov today launched a comprehensive analytics solution for school districts. The new ClearGov Insights™ for Schools platform enables school districts to better communicate with their constituents through easy-to-understand, interactive infographics on student demographics, staffing headcount and salaries, student test performance, district financials and much more. The platform also empowers district administration with back-office tools to quickly compare district performance against similar districts to identify opportunities for efficiency and make more informed and data-driven budgetary and policy decisions.

“Building public support is critical in today’s society.  There is so much data on schools available to the public that it is overwhelming for the average parent and taxpayer.  Telling our district’s story in a clear and compelling manner can help proactively address the public’s increased appetite for information and get everyone on the same page,” said Michael Welch, Superintendent of Dedham Public Schools.   In addition to Dedham Public Schools, twenty school districts across Massachusetts, including Easton Public Schools, Framingham Public Schools, and Wayland Public schools are now leveraging the ClearGov for Schools platform for increased transparency.

Utilizing publicly available data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), ClearGov has created easy-to-understand transparency websites for over 300 school districts across Massachusetts, which are available to the public for free today.  Taxpayers can not only compare expenditures for districts year-to-year, but also have the ability to break the budget down into specific categories of spending to see exactly how their tax dollars have been used.

School Districts can choose to upgrade and enhance their publicly available transparency site with additional dashboards, including:

Detailed Funding & Expenditure Analyses: Allow visitors to “drill down” into funding and expenditure subcategory details.

Student Body Analysis: Offers insights into changing student demographics, including enrollment trends, high needs students, student diversity, and more.

Employee Analysis: Informs visitors on trends in staffing with a particular emphasis on educators.

Test Performance Analysis: Communicates complex test scores in an easy-to-understand format with powerful benchmarking metrics.

State Aid Analysis:  Provides a comprehensive view of state funding sources, including Chapter 70, Circuit Breaker and more.

“Education spending can comprise a large portion of municipal expenditures and there are many factors that drive school district budgeting. ClearGov for Schools helps school districts better communicate not only financial and test performance, but also the ever-changing dynamics they must consider when budgeting,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.

In addition to providing the public access to easy-to-understand financials, the platform also provides a set of benchmarking analytical tools to assist district and school administration and school committees in making more informed policy and budgetary decisions.

“Data analysis and benchmarking have become a critical, yet arduous component of our budgeting and planning process. ClearGov for Schools delivers time-saving analyses and powerful insights for our administration,” said Dr. Andrew Keough, Superintendent of Easton Public Schools.

ClearGov Insights™ for Schools is currently available in Massachusetts and will become available in additional states in the near future.

ClearGov Expands Government Fiscal Insights Platform with Open Checkbook

by Chris Bullock

Partners with Town of Brookline to Share Check-level Expenditure Detail

Wayland, MA (January 18, 2017)  – ClearGov, a leading municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, announced today that it has partnered with the Town of Brookline, MA, to introduce new functionality to its platform which empowers local governments to share check-level expenditure detail with residents. The new tool enables taxpayers and internal stakeholders to explore expenditures by specific transaction and see every check the town has issued to vendors.

“Our goal continues to be better transparency in government operations and improved access to how tax dollars are being spent” said Mel Kleckner, Town Adminstrator of the Town of Brookline.  He continued, “We’ve partnered with ClearGov to create a site that not only clearly illustrates how the town allocates funding, but also raises the bar on the level of financial detail available to the public from our prior system.”

ClearGov sources publicly available financial and performance data on municipalities to create easy-to-understand transparency websites for thousands of municipalities across the United States, which are made available to the public for free.  Municipalities can choose to upgrade and enhance their publicly available transparency site with more robust information and provide context through commentary on the figures.  Open Checkbook by ClearGov is now an optional module that enables visitors to drill down to the check-level detail on expenditures and identify all payments to individual vendors.

Brookline is at the forefront of a growing movement of towns in Massachusetts that have partnered with ClearGov to transform complex financial statements into clear and actionable fiscal insights.  The platform not only provides the public with access to easy-to-understand financials, but also delivers a centralized source of financial data and benchmarking analytics to municipal officials to help them make more informed policy and budgetary decisions.

“We are incredibly excited to support Brookline’s forward-thinking transparency efforts,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.  “Open Checkbook by ClearGov is a natural extension of our fiscal clarity and insights platform, which allows residents and internal stakeholders to better understand how tax dollars are being put to work.”

Visit Brookline’s ClearGov site:

http://www.cleargov.com/massachusetts/norfolk/town/brookline/2016

 

Press Contact:  

Chris Bullock

508-308-0440

 

About ClearGov

ClearGov helps local governments communicate and operate more effectively and efficiently through a unique fiscal clarity and insights platform.  Local governments leverage ClearGov to more clearly communicate their financial performance in an effort to build citizen support and participation through transparency. ClearGov also provides valuable municipal benchmarking intelligence to help government leaders quickly compare their finances against similar communities in an effort to make more informed and data-driven policy and budgetary decisions.

ClearGov Recognized as a Top Leader in GovTech Industry

by Chris Bullock

We are excited to announce that ClearGov has been recognized by GovTech magazine as one of the most innovative and influential companies focused on serving governments.  The GovTech 100 list highlights “a foundational group of companies (that) embodied the essence of the space and a good starting place to understand a market lacking in the attention it deserves.”

“We are humbled to be even associated with so many successful and innovative companies,” said Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov.  “GovTech companies not only represent a fast-growing market segment, but they are building solutions that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of how our tax dollars are put to use and, as such, improve the lives of millions of people.”

In it’s preface to the GovTech100 of 2017 list, GovTech highlights 2017 as a year of increased venture capital investment and solid exits that lend credence to the “forward momentum” of the gov tech marketplace.  Specifically the article highlights the “movement to open up government data” that will lead to tremendous value being unlocked by companies offering innovative approaches data analysis.

Click here to see the full list of GovTech 100 companies.