Application Modernization

County Government Office

A large county government requested assistance in the development of a budgeting application to replace their existing budget tool, which had been created by the county staff using a Microsoft Access database. That budget tool consisted of input screens, queries, and reports. The County’s budget cycle encompassed four individual processes and the organization and account structure was tied to the County’s financial accounting system.
County Budget Application

Business Challenge

The Department of Information Technology for the County had an initiative to migrate all mission critical applications out of Microsoft Access. With this new requirement, the County requested Ascendra’s assistance to replace their staff-created, Microsoft Access budget tool, using an approved technology. The original budget tool had been designed to mimic the County’s legacy mainframe budgeting system which was retired due to high operations and maintenance costs as well as its rigid structure. The County’s budget cycle encompassed four individual processes. The Access database contained data tables, queries, input forms and reports. Budget master data was harmonized with the County’s financial accounting system within the Access application.

Their existing Budget tool was cumbersome and inefficient and characterized by the following:

  • A series of disconnected flat tables
  • Hardcoded and inflexible budget processes
  • Manual and time-consuming synchronization of budget master data and financial data
  • Manual data processing activities that stretched over several days
  • Lack of security module for access or privileges
  • Limited scalability of users or data
  • Prone to issues with database corruption
  • Lack of formalized data import functionality
  • Reporting through multiple Access databases,
  • Access Reports, or data dumps


The County chose Ascendra to design, develop and deploy a custom budget solution that would closely follow their existing budget cycle and processes, that was aligned with IT’s processes and requirements.


Based on the County’s requirements and existing information technology infrastructure, Ascendra recommended a custom .NET budget solution connected to a Microsoft SQL Server database. Ascendra’s solution contains the following features:
  • Configurable Budget Processes
  • Flexible Data Format
  • Scalable Data Structure
  • Centralized Data Security
  • Employee Salary and Budgeted Positions Module
  • Multiple Data Input Modes
  • Centralized Budget Input Forms
  • Distributed Departmental Input Forms with Workflow Approvals
  • Automated Excel Import Process
  • Configurable Batch Processing Engine
  • Standard Reporting through SQLServer Reporting Services
  • Custom and Ad Hoc Reporting using Microsoft BI


By implementing Ascendra’s custom budget solution, the County has made significant strides in streamlining and automating their budget processes. The tools are now in place to effectively budget, report, monitor and analyze the County’s budget data at all levels of the organization. Immediate benefits derived have been:
  • Budget processes are completed in a matter of minutes that took several workdays to run and validate in the previous system.
  • Master Account and Organizational data is automatically synchronized with the County’s financial data warehouse.
  • The budget system is connected to Active Directory to provide secure access control.
  • Database and application backup routines are handled using scheduled processes by the IT Department.
  • Appropriate users can access budget data through a series of flexible and scalable reporting views.
  • The Budget Department was able to quickly add an additional Budget Cycle to help the county budget in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Services & Technologies Utilized

Ascendra provided the following consulting services for the County Budget Solutions:
  • Project Management
  • Budget Process Engineering
  • Database Architecture Design and Deployment
  • .NET Design and Development
  • Reports Design and Development


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Ascendra, Inc.
3900 Jermantown Road, Suite 160
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 571-375-2461 | Fax: 703-991-2495