ERIC Number: ED429714
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Developing Cost Accounting and Decision Support Software for Comprehensive Community-Based Support Systems: An Analysis of Needs, Interest, and Readiness in the Field.
Harrington, Robert; Jenkins, Peter; Marzke, Carolyn; Cohen, Carol
Prominent among the new models of social service delivery are organizations providing comprehensive, community-based supports and services (CCBSS) to children and their families. A needs analysis explored CCBSS sites' interest in and readiness to use a software tool designed to help them make more effective internal resource allocation decisions and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of comprehensive approaches to providing services to children and families. Based on data obtained from eight CCBSS sites in California, the analysis assessed three critical factors: (1) incentives for using such a system; (2) data inputs; and (3) information processing and staff capacity. The findings indicated that CCBSS sites perceived the need for and were interested in strengthening their cost accounting and decision support analysis capabilities. They anticipated growing demand for providing comprehensive, detailed outcome and service information as managed care and results-based budgeting become more prevalent. Computer information systems were found to be focused primarily on required accounting and billing functions. Information technology staff capacity was lean, not readily accessible to multi-agency sites, and likely not adequate for additional information processing tasks. Data from revenues, costs, services, and outcomes are necessary to perform the full range of analyses envisioned for the software. The analysis concluded that successful implementation of a cost account/decision support software system in the CCBSS environment will require building on existing incentives and capacity in the field and making new investments in information technology, data development, and staff capacity. (Author/KB)
Descriptors: Accounting, Community Programs, Computer Software, Computer Software Development, Cost Effectiveness, Delivery Systems, Efficiency, Information Management, Integrated Services, Needs Assessment, Resource Allocation, Social Services
Finance Project, 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005; Tel: 202-628-4200; Fax: 202-628-4205 ($7.50).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Metis Associates, Inc., New York, NY.; Policy Studies Associates, Inc., Washington, DC.; Finance Project, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: California