In order to create a system which is easy to use yet has everything you need for your Agency, we have created a different way of storing data. This allows you to have Structure data, Fiscal Period data and Cost Plan data separated and editable in their own sections.
These three types of data are all treated differently in the Cost Allocation process and therefore the different ways you interact with the data should be reflected in the software.
The structure refers to the Funds, Departments, Divisions, and Programs that exist in your agency. These may change slightly from year to year but the majority of that data will remain stagnant over time. Therefore, you don’t want to have to reenter the same data year after year. In Allocate, the Structure Item Tables allow you to enter your structure data once and then incorporate that data into Cost Plans as you need them. If you do need to adjust the Structure of your Agency, simply edit the data in the Structure Item Tables and that data will populate into the Cost Plans where relevant.
In Cost Allocation, no matter if you are doing a 2 CFR, Full Cost, Citywide or an Interdepartmental plan, you need to specify some period of time for which you are going to collect the expenditures incurred by your Central Structure Items. Whatever that period of time you are collecting expenditures for is what you will define as your Fiscal Period. For example, many cities will use a standard fiscal year. In this case they will use a Fiscal Period of something like "2018-2019". Some Interdepartmental plans are run quarterly. In this case the Fiscal Period could be "Q3 2019". Allocate allows you to define any period of time that you would like when creating your Fiscal Period.
In Allocate, the Fiscal Period contains the Function, Expenditure, Labor Distribution, Incoming, Allocations, Direct Billed and Revenue Reconciliation data. Each Fiscal Period has it's own unique table independent of each other. This means that you can create as many Fiscal Periods as you would like in order to run scenarios and create 'what if?' cost plans.
Because you can enter your entire Agency structure, and you can have different data for different Fiscal Periods, the Cost Plan is where you are going to organize your data for the final report. In the Cost Plan, you can specify which fiscal periods and which Structure Items you want to include in the report.
For example, in the Structure Item Table you may have all of your Departments and Divisions, but you may only want to run an interdepartmental plan for the IT Department. You are not going to include all of the Departments in that Cost Plan. Using the Report Order tool in Allocate you can specify exactly which Structure Items you want to include and in what order they should appear on the final report. Next, you choose a Fiscal Period so that the report contains the correct expenditures and allocations.
The Cost Plan data also contains those items that appear on the report such as Report Title, Chief Financial Officer and Report Type (Full Cost or 2 CFR part 200).
Allocate was created with you in mind, and is made to be as flexible as you need it to be. By storing the data in this way, Allocate lets you create the exact Cost Allocation Plan that you want.