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The final schedule for sessions at the 2018 annual conference is listed below. All speakers and session outlines will be added to the site by 4/24. Slides and other handouts will be availble for download on 5/1.
In many ways, it feels like the future is now. Advancements in technology are occurring at a pace that makes time irrelevant. Local governments should learn how the next wave of technologies can impact their affairs. GFOA will assemble a panel of experts to offer a glimpse into the future and will cover trends and potential developments. From cloud technologies to the Internet-of-things to blockchain, the panel will discuss what is coming next and the potential impacts on governments and the field of public finance.
All governments face uncertainty. However, unexpected events can severely jeopardize an unprepared government's ability to provide services. Governments must plan for the impact of natural disasters and economic disturbances, both for the immediate aftermath and the long-term implications.
Initial funding has been secured, the design has been approved, and shovels have broken ground on the new project. Funds and resources must be managed over the weeks, months, or years of construction and stakeholders want to be informed of both progress and pitfalls along the way. Experts discuss methods for managing and tracking capital projects though completion.
One of the most profound changes introduced by the Uniform Guidance covering federal grants relates to the reporting on and monitoring requirements for subrecipients. This session will discuss these new requirements, provide strategies on how to meet them effectively, and implement appropriate documentation procedures. GFOA's best practices on grant management, establishing an effective grants policy, grant administration, and central grant oversight committees, along with other aspects of compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance will also be discussed.
The actuarial valuation report is the basic source for information about the funded status of pension and other post-employment benefit (OPEB) plans, especially now that funding information is no longer automatically provided in financial reports. Pension and OPEB decision makers need to carefully review and understand their actuarial valuation reports to make responsible and sustainable funding decisions. In this session, experts will explain the link between actuarial reports and plan funding, and plan costs, and how to make the best use of this crucial information.
Governments are looking more and more to technology to assist with revenue collections and operations of the treasury office. At the same time, citizens and customers are looking for modern conveniences in bill paying that requires using the same technologies. This session will provide case studies on successful examples and lessons learned from governments that have utilized various payment technologies while meeting the challenges of data security, privacy risks, and minimizing fraud.
Open to attendees age 40 and under, this interactive speed networking session is designed for attendees to meet and exchange ideas. Small groups will be given 15 minutes to share thoughts on an issue facing their government or a theme related to GFOA's conference before rotating onto a new group and topic. Bring your business cards!
Studies suggest that price transparency in health care could create an annual savings of more than $36 billion in medical costs – if patients and providers could get price information easily. However, that simply isn’t possible, and as consumers, governments are at a significant disadvantage in shopping for health care. Price information is not transparent, and making comparisons across options is not easy. Attend this session to understand the issues and to learn what steps governments can take to obtain the information they need in order to make more informed decisions about their health-care benefits.
Bureau of Environmental Services, City of Portland, OR
Capital assets are expensive -- not just to procure, but also to operate and maintain. This session will discuss infrastructure financing strategies across the entire life cycle of an asset, including debt, partnering with private firms, federal incentives, and more.
Managing Director, Higher Education and Not-for-Profit Practice
Grant Thornton, LLP
Many financial statement preparers dread the auditors showing up. Auditors may not look forward to engaging with certain clients. Learn how to have an effective audit – one that is meaningful, useful, and timely, affording satisfaction from all parties involved. An experienced government comptroller and an external audit partner will each present information from their own experience in terms of selecting and managing a transition between independent audit firms and strategies for minimizing the burden of a financial statement audit while maximizing the benefits a government can extract from the audit process.
Do you want to get more involved with GFOA? We are constantly looking for members who are willing to share their stories, develop their skills, and help advance public finance. Join us at this session, formatted as an "Activities Fair," to meet and network with other members as well as learn about what the association offers from award programs to research to membership to training and how you can take part in these activities.
Senior Director of Facility Strategy and Financing
The Mind Trust
As bond rating agencies update their rating criteria, governments should be aware of these changes and become acquainted with the factors the agencies look for when rating their government’s bonds. Panelists will discuss how to put your government’s best foot forward in rating presentations, ongoing rating surveillance, and when you should look to improve your entity’s ratings.
We may all just seem like "finance" staff to the uninitiated, but the languages/mindsets of accounting versus budgeting staff are often not so readily transferable. Accurately reporting on prior years' actuals and allocating funds for the future are both essential for the financial sustainability of any organization and can be cross-utilized to better inform and improve one another. This session will discuss how to bridge the gap between accounting and budgeting and how staff can collaborate to more effectively complete their individual functions and ultimately better serve their organization.
Governments accepting payment cards must be aware of and comply with industry standards to ensure a secure processing environment. This session will provide information that all finance officers need to know about PCI standards and how they should address potential risks facing their governments when processing electronic payments.
Local governments face disasters ranging from recurring storms to "once-in-a-generation" natural disasters. Disaster preparedness using tools provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), such as threat hazard identification and risk assessment methodology, can help reduce uncertainty. This session will cover different disaster preparedness strategies, including disaster identification and risk analysis methods, intergovernmental disaster response networks, and financial management strategies. It will also provide cases of how local governments coordinated and planned their disaster response from start to finish with a focus on special considerations for the finance office.
General Manager of Financial Services Group/Director of Finance
City of Vancouver
The exercise of budgeting is ongoing and far-reaching. It impacts every aspect of an organization's operations on a daily, if not hourly basis. Budget monitoring and performance management are key tools to regularly examine an organization's operations to identify any potential shortcomings and to find ways to make early course corrections. This session will include examples and dialogue from several organizations on their monitoring and performance measurement practices and how these relate to GFOA's new and recently updated best practices on these two essential topics.
Senior Director and Sector Lead – U.S. Public Finance
This session will highlight the recent tax reform debate and its effect on governments' ability to collect revenues and issue debt. Discussion of legislative proposals that could impact infrastructure finance and online sales tax collection will be discussed. Speakers will also highlight discussions in Washington DC surrounding public pensions, rating agency requirements, and other proposals that impact your government’s comprehensive fiscal structure.
Senior Vice President and the National Health Practice Leader
Health-care benefits account for a huge percentage of a government’s expenses, so failing to manage them effectively is not an option. This session will explain some of the keys to containing costs long term, including price transparency, virtual care, and population health management.
Ever wonder what might be your next career move? Are you considering a move out of the public-sector or a shift away from the finance office? There are pros and cons to different roles finance officers can take.
2018 will be the first year for many government employers implement the new other post-employment benefit (OPEB) reporting standards This session will include how to address the implementation challenges of OPEB. GASB's Director of Research and Technical Activities will discuss employers' accounting for postemployment benefits other than pensions, focusing on extensive implementation guidance recently issued by GASB to help governments prepare to implement GASB 75.
Do you want to improve your treasury functions? Are you interested to learn about what differentiates leading governments and finance officers in their treasury responsibilities? This session is designed to provide an overview of treasury management best practices for the non-specialist. Speakers will identify key practices related to treasury management and provide information and strategies for developing your own appropriate polices and procedures in the areas of investing, cash management, reporting, internal controls, and how to select and use outside professionals.
Governments are not immune to economic and business cycles and are often impacted in both the near and longer term with lagging revenues after recovery from a downturn. With the current, continued economic boom, this session will talk about trends in the economy and what governments can do now to help protect themselves from the inevitable economic downturn. Learn more from experts on how you can best analyze the current environment and potential impacts to your organization and how to develop strategies to help ensure financial sustainability for your organization to continue serving the needs of your constituents.
GASB 87 on leases will become effective for periods beginning after December 15, 2019, but if you're thinking this can be placed on the back burner for a while, think again. The new lease accounting is going to require quite a lot of advanced preparation. Speakers will explain the need for governments to do a comprehensive search of contracts, including many that may not even have previously been thought of as leases. The course will cover accounting for contracts that combine use of assets with services, and identify the key contract provisions that will need to be analyzed in order to properly assess each lease's term and the appropriate effective interest rate to distinguish asset value from financing costs. A review of available and developing technology to manage and account for leases will also be included.
Selecting a plan provider/record-keeper and letting them handle everything puts your government at risk! This session will highlight opportunities and best practices in defined contribution / deferred compensation plans, particularly focusing on fiduciary duties imposed by federal and state laws and regulations. Speakers will also discuss provider selection, fees, oversight and governance, investment choices, and participant education.
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as investors, continue to stress the importance of good disclosure practices. This session will review GFOA’s best practices related to disclosure, provide insights about how to improve your entity’s disclosure and investor outreach programs, as well as increase your awareness about what may be on the horizon regarding regulatory action and issuer disclosure practices.