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.
Does it seem like the accountants in your organization speak a foreign language? Come learn how to say "hello" and "I am not an accountant" in accountant-speak! At least you'll be able to ask directions to the water-fountain when you visit "governmental-accounting-land." This session will explain some of the fundamental differences between private sector and governmental accounting, provide an explanation of why those differences arose, communicate what you need to know to understand the basics of governmental accounting, and provide an overview of topics covered on the Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) exam related to accounting, auditing, and financial reporting.
GFOA recently released best practices on many facets related to a government’s investment program, stressing the importance of having robust and clear investment policies. This session will be split into two parts. In the first, speakers will discuss the essential components of an investment policy and the pros and cons for various strategies used by governments of all types and sizes. The second part will feature roundtable discussions where finance officers can trade lessons learned, ask questions of their peers, and compare investment strategies in use in your government.
The Treasury office is on the front line of government payables and receivables. As such, strong internal controls addressing a variety of operations is essential. Understanding key elements of treasury office internal control policies; how to manage controls at a variety of thresholds including payment desks, kiosks, and parks; and the importance of employee training and education will be discussed by government and industry leaders.
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.
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.
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.
Finance officers are often trained on how to generate a return on investment from financial assets, develop process improvements that generate greater efficiencies, and manage infrastructure that provides optimal service over its lifespan. However, many finance officers or managers have not received training in ways to maximize their staff--or "human capital." This session will explore strategies that managers can use to aid the professional development of employees working on a team or in a department.
To operate sustainably, governments have to maintain adequate levels of fund balance to effectively mitigate and manage current and future risks. In this session, attendees will learn how to establish a formal policy for a restricted and unrestricted fund balance and will review examples of effective financial policies. Speakers will discuss different strategies for determining the appropriate levels of fund balance, compare policies from various types of governments in different situations, and review GFOA's best practice statements. Attendees will walk away from this session with a collection of fund balance policy strategies to bring back to their organization.
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.
Capital planning presents unique challenges, from tracking the progress of projects to projecting the facilities that will be needed to meet future service needs. Geographic information systems (GIS) can help your government improve decision making by using spatial analysis on information streams. In this session learn how organizations use spatial data in different ways to maintain their capital assets, forecast future needs, and communicate information to the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Small governments face numerous hurdles in their debt management program including in-house subject expertise. This session will focus on effective strategies for issuing debt, hiring outside professionals, meeting disclosure requirements, and utilizing checklists and policies and procedures to best manage these responsibilities through the lens of a small government.
This session will highlight GFOA’s best practices related to debt issuance. Attendees will hear from their peers whose experiences demonstrate the importance of developing and implementing debt policy and procedures. GFOA’s best practices will be highlighted for participants to better understand the ins-and-outs of debt issuance and management, and assembling the financing team.
This session will look at the changing federal regulatory landscape and provide attendees with an understanding of the regulatory framework over outside advisors and what each can and cannot do for governments. Discussion related to issuing bonds, investing bond proceeds, general government investments, and swaps will be addressed by a panel of experts.
While perhaps not the most exciting aspect of the treasury function, it is one of the most important - receiving and depositing monies. New tools to help with check processing, card processing and even handling actual currency are emerging in the marketplace, and governments should be aware of these options to help with this essential duty.
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.
This session will cover why continuous improvement is essential for Canadian municipalities to survive and thrive. The City of Saint John will share the successes and lessons learned from its continuous improvement journey.
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.
A government's reporting and disclosure about its debt is one of the most scrutinized elements of its financial reporting. This session will review the current GASB guidance related to accounting and financial reporting for debt. Pronouncements reviewed will include GASB Statement No. 86, Certain Debt Extinguishment Issues, as well as the GASB Exposure Drafts on Accounting for Interest Costs During the Period of Construction and Certain Disclosures Related to Debt.