SAP introduced SAP RealSpend, a mobile app providing visibility and access to up-to-the-minute budget and spending information.

The app, based on SAP HANA cloud platform, pulls data from core financial reporting systems so line managers can perform ad hoc spend analysis and other on-the-fly calculations for live business processing.

Developed at SAP Labs Berlin/Potsdam Germany using design thinking principles and input from finance professionals and SAP end users and managers, SAP RealSpend enables line managers to monitor and actively manage budgets and actual spend.

CITIZENS often complain that state lawmakers focus too much on minor issues appealing only to a minority while ignoring Oklahomas budget challenges. Those criticisms are not entirely fair, but lawmakers have done themselves no favors by conducting most budget work behind closed doors. The lack of transparency means many citizens and businesses are now being blindsided by apparently last-minute tax and spending plans.

We make this point every year, but greater transparency would aid informed debate, produce a better final legislative product and increase public confidence. When bills are hastily unveiled and rushed through during the sessions final days, mistakes are inevitably made. In a year of a $1.3 billion shortfall, some mistakes may have significant impact.

Few things highlight this problem better than last weeks abrupt release of a plan to provide teacher pay raises of up to $10,000. That plan called for raising the sales tax from 4.5 percent to 4.9 percent and applying it to a wide range of currently exempt services, including automotive repair, cable TV and e-book purchases.

The associated bills were apparently released by
mistake, which doesnt take away from the shock for many consumers and businesses. The estimated cost of that proposal is around $480 million.

Other tax increases have been unveiled in seemingly willy-nilly fashion. One proposal would have raised Oklahomas gas taxes 3 cents a gallon so long as fuel prices remained below $3 a gallon --an $84 million tax increase.

The Tulsa World reported, "Several members, particularly Democrats, complained that they didnt know the bill even existed" until it was receiving a committee vote. (The measure was defeated.)

Another bill, rejected by Senate lawmakers, would have quadrupled the excise tax rate on low-point beer. That was a potential $5 million tax increase.

One bill sought to change tax policy retroactively. Initially, Senate Bill 1577 would have eliminated a tax rebate for economically at-risk oil wells, including wells kept in production last year. That would increase taxes on energy producers by $132.9 million. (It has since been revised.)

Although there is strong resistance, lawmakers also are considering a $180 million cigarette tax increase, one of the few tax measures publicly discussed throughout the session.

Legislators want to eliminate a commonly used deduction, which would increase income taxes by a collective $97.3 million on more than 300,000
Oklahomans. They hope to cap credits for manufacturers, which would increase taxes for those businesses by $14 million. Theyve voted to restrict a tax credit for low-income workers; those affected will lose a collective $28.9 million annually.

House Bill 3217 would raise the current documentary stamp tax by 25 cents for every $500 of value. To avoid constitutional restrictions on tax increases, that bill changes the word "tax" to "fee." That seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The above list is hardly exhaustive, yet it still totals around $1 billion in tax increase proposals in a single year. And more are being considered.

Lawmakers say theyve been working diligently on budget issues for months. "I could not be more proud of the work that our members of the House have done on the budget this year," House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, recently told The Oklahomans editorial board. "Its incredibly serious, time-consuming work."

We believe him. But the lack of transparency in that process, combined with the apparent haste and slapdash manner now on display, can give Oklahomans
reason to think otherwise.

15 29 June 2016 (E051116) | Register for this course (page opens in new window)
Instructor: Maja Bosnic

Gender responsive budgeting is a tool to ensure that gender equality commitments are reflected and realised in public budgets. Since the 1990s, gender budgeting is increasingly used in developed and developing countries by different actors (ministries of finance, line ministries, NGOs, gender advocates and universities) to asses impact of government expenditures on citizens, women and men, and to transform budget programmes to target priority needs and close gender gaps. This e-learning course introduces participants to the concept, principles, tools and practical examples of gender responsive budgeting (GRB) and how to use it. Starting with basics of gender equality principles, through public budgets and budgetting the course discusses how best to combine gender knowledge with knowledge of public finance to achieve de-facto gender equality and effective use of budget funds. The course will also cover different examples and case studies to show variety of approaches in GRB around the world. Through case studies, it will also look at how practitioners can use GRB tools to analyse existing budget programs and provide recommendations for improvement of the programmes to better target the needs of all.

Participants will engage in several practical exercises to think critically about how they can use GRB effectively in different contexts.

It's sort of like a budgeting app for credit card rewards. You link all of your spending accounts (they use bank-level security and don't store your login credentials), and Birch analyzes your cards and your spending. It will tell you how much you earned in rewards for each purchase, and let you know if you could've earned more using one of your other cards. You can sort your transactions by rewards earned or card used, and like any budgeting app, it also breaks down your spending by category.