Transparency Tools Others Have Used
Local and state governments have used some of the technology tools listed below to provide transparency online.* If you have a tool that you would recommend, let us know.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
Many local government entities have provided budget information and other financial resources in PDF (portable document format), which allows the public to easily download and view the information over the Web. PDFs can be generated with Adobe software and PDF readers are available for free on the Web.
Spreadsheet software can be used to post financial information to the Web in spreadsheet format. This also allows users to download the information and sort it by difference criteria also many spreadsheet applications can generate graphs and charts with relatively minimal technical expertise required.
Database-Driven Web Pages
If programming staff or resources are available, Web searches can be created by leveraging existing databases and creating dynamic Web pages that can query information stored in a database and display results online.
Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) Reporting Systems
Usually the most user-friendly option, although costly, is one of the multiple commercial off-the shelf reporting systems available. These systems are also referred to as Business Intelligence (BI) products. These products allow more detailed searching ability and often allow data exports for easier data research. Some off-the-shelf accounting products (e.g., MIP Fund Accounting and Dynamic Great Plains) provide this level of reporting as part of the product.
*The tools listed on this page are for informational purposes only and should not be considered as endorsements by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.