Spotlight: Questica enables government agencies to transform their budgeting process and better engage with citizens
Questica’s goal is to make public sector and non-profit finance better for everyone.
Company Name: Questica
Headquarters: Burlington, ON
Signature Product: Questica Budget
For over 20 years, Questica has been providing sector organizations access to complete budgeting, performance, transparency and citizen engagement solutions to better enable data-driven budgeting and decision making, while increasing data accuracy, saving time and improving stakeholder trust. It goes beyond having great solutions: it is about culture and personality, approach and expertise, and accountability to its customers.
1. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
Questica has been developing software products from its Burlington, Ontario office since its incorporation in 1998. In 2001, Questica was awarded a contract with the City of Burlington, Ontario to provide a capital forecasting and budgeting application tool. The knowledge and experience gained with the City of Burlington together with feedback received from other cities and public sector organization formed the foundation of what our suite of products are today.
2. What is your signature product and how does it work?
Questica’s core offering, Questica Budget, drives budget transformation by creating a single source of data truth. This allows public sector organizations to shift from data collection to focus on what is important, deeper analysis and data-driven decision-making. Questica Budget is an easy-to-use, comprehensive cloud-based solution for budget preparation and management which includes: forecasting and analysis, workflow, role-based security access, amendment tracking, performance measurement and reporting.
Questica Budget’s flexibility allows its customers to establish the update schedule that best meets their specific needs and business cycles. A few of the key product features that sets Questica Budget apart include its robust workforce planning, adjustable formula and scenario builders, change requests, and advanced analytics and reporting capabilities.
Questica Budget is a true commercial-off-the-shelf cloud solution that is highly configurable. budget management tool. Questica Budget is deployable to either an organization’s servers or the cloud (SaaS).
Questica Budget works with an organization’s existing enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP) including financial, payroll, human resources and other programs to ensure the right data is always available and current.
Questica Budget helps you develop, review, approve and report on your operating and capital budgets. With graphical dashboards and sophisticated workflow, you can create both bottom-up and top-down budgets with extensive multi-level review and approval processes.
Questica Budget features five core modules – Operating, Salary and Position Planning, Capital, Performance, and Financial Statements. Our Performance module enables organizations to Track an unlimited number of budget and non-budget performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your city, agency or state’s success. These modules can be bundled together or purchased individually.
3. Why do you believe your products are essential to the local government community?
Our products provide tailored work flows, report scheduling and automated distribution, dashboards, user-defined fields and configurable entry screens, advanced search capabilities for detailed analysis, change requests and interdepartmental allocations.
Questica introduced OpenBook, its integrated data visualization and transparency tool to create an opportunity for better accountability, and to build trust with an organization’s stakeholders by communicating the budget and finances with easy-to-understand visuals such as graphs and charts. OpenBook allows public sector organizations to showcase their financial and non-financial data with interactive charts, tables, and graphics with descriptive text, informational pop-ups. It allows everyone to dive in and discover information that is generally hidden in a spreadsheet. Users can easily find out what they want and need to know about the agency’s plans, projects and issues in their community with OpenBook’s searching and filtering options. Additionally, Questica’s OpenBook and Budget Suite integrate with leading budget simulation tools providing organizations regarding ways for deeper two-way stakeholder consultation and engagement.
Questica’s transparency solution includes its recently introduced OpenBook Project Explorer visualization for capital projects. This feature allows public sector agencies to present infrastructure projects on a map, including the budget, actual spend, funding sources, and accompanying documentation, images, video, etc., which enables stakeholders to learn more about the projects taking place within the community, without having to contact the organization directly.
This year Questica launched Questica Budget Book powered by CaseWare, a new Budget Book solution for government agencies in North America. Questica Budget Book powered by CaseWare allows government agencies to create, collaborate, edit, and approve and publish their annual Budget Books using an effective workflow, security and feedback loop, which minimizes the potential for errors and omissions that is inherent with the manual process of its version. Our solution offers governments an efficient and cost-effective way to create and publish a professional and GFOA awards compliant Budget Book.
4. What makes your company unique?
Questica’s 20-year focus on and commitment to exceptional customer service, the development and investment in solutions, plus its driven yet friendly corporate culture has resulted in long-standing relationships with its customers, high customer satisfaction rates, and continued growth of its customer base. The company continues to expand and evolve its current solutions both with new features and functions but it is also incorporating and adopting new technologies. Questica is nimble in adapting to the changing needs of its customers and the public sector. The company is poised to grow with its customers, and places an emphasis on its investment back into R&D which helps to foster the collaborative partnership it builds with its customers.
5. What do your customers like best about Questica and your products?
We believe it’s about our products and our people. For example, high system configurability means less time and money for customizations, both during implementation and ongoing. We also offer flexibility – an agency can choose between SaaS or purchase; on-premise or cloud-hosted. Our single tenant hosting means you choose if and when to upgrade. We are also committed to R&D, with a clear product focus, and over 30% of our staff being developers working on software enhancements. Questica Budget has been integrated with over 25 different financial systems including Microsoft Dynamics GP, Workday, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, JD Edwards and others.
Our Customer Success team is passionate about ensuring you get the most out of our software. When it comes to customer support services, our dedicated support, training and customer success teams are here to assist customers with all their needs. We provide full installation documentation with every release, as well as implementation assistance, technical support and online help. Plus, we have complete online and in-person training for administrators and general users, along with our online learning channel, Questica Help.
At Questica, we give you one place to go for software development, implementation and ongoing support services. We take full ownership over ensuring your success with our solutions. Our depth of experience and long-term tenure of our team allows us to begin every customer engagement with a consultative approach that leverages best practices.
Our partners are your partners. Questica is honored to have formed partnerships with a number of leading public sector software and service companies. By forming these partnerships, Questica is able to introduce new tools that complement our Budget suite. For example, Budget and OpenBook directly integrates with the budget simulation tool created by our partner, Balancing Act. By using these tools together, our customers can share their budget and allow stakeholders to dive deep into the budget numbers and to build trust through engagement and two-way feedback.
6. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder/local government community?
Questica’s focus is on improving the budgeting process for public sector organizations through the implementation of best practices that have been established over 20 years and hundreds of implementations.
Questica helps local governments across North America gain more time to work on higher value projects and deeper data analysis instead of administrative data collection. We have several case studies such as the City of Largo, or the City and County of Denver, which highlights how Questica saves public sector organizations both time and money, allowing teams to focus on more strategic projects.
7. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you or your company?
Over $63 billion in annually public sector budgets are managed through Questica solutions.
Our customers’ budget sizes managed with our solutions range from $5 million to over $4 billion.
Questica has customers in 46 states and 10 provinces and territories.
We have 80 staff working in our in Burlington, Ontario, Canada and Huntington Beach, California, US, and virtually throughout North America.
8. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
Questica is committed to continuing to developing and advancing our budgeting, performance, reporting, transparency, and engagement solutions for our public sector customers.
Founder and CEO of Questica, TJ Parass mentions that they are pleased that the company will become part of the GTY Technology Holdings early in 2019, and to partner with its fellow GTY peer companies to advance the digital transformation of public sector agencies to cloud-based solutions in order to accelerate the financial health and operational sustainability of these organizations.
While describing the vision and future of Questica, Chief Revenue Officer of Questica Craig Ross also states, “Questica will ensure that government, healthcare, education and non-profit organizations have the best technology, support and reporting tools to meet their everyday challenges.” He further clarifies that it is about delivering solutions to address funding changes, new legislation, stakeholder engagement, and a shifting workforce, while increasing accountability and producing greater organizational and community impact.