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.
Past President, Chair of Committee on America's Infrastructure
American Society of Civil Engineers
According to our CAFRs, infrastructure is our most valuable asset! Local governments can make investments to maximize the useful life and value of these assets. However, traditional capital planning and budgeting techniques often minimize the importance of infrastructure upkeep. At this session you will learn how to structure your planning and budgeting process to give asset preservation its due consideration. Speakers will provide specific asset upkeep strategies that have been employed successfully from leading governments.
Governments are being hit by an ever-increasing number of cyberattacks that range from targeting citizens’ private information to stealing funds. Without appropriate measures, including risk management, cyber insurance, and business continuity plans, government data are at risk. In this session, experts will explain how to defend against online fraudsters and detail creative and innovative solutions to cyber security, even if your government faces budget and staffing constraints.
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.
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.
How transparent is your government? GFOA has long advocated for transparency in financial reporting. For governments, this means reporting to a variety of various stakeholders each with unique needs and interests. In this session, speakers will provide their lessons learned and experiences in communicating financial information through a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), popular annual financial report (PAFR), website dashboard, social media, or other tool. Speakers will also discuss how to engage stakeholders, be proactive with communication efforts, and the benefits to your government of doing so.
Want to learn more about how to make that budget book resonate with your governing body and community? How about learning more on how to improve the budget process that drives all that goes into the book too? This session will focus on creating budget books that align with GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation Award criteria and a budget process that incorporates GFOA's best practice guidelines. Presenters will share examples of budget books that clearly communicate an organization's objectives and financial information and also share insights on how to make your budget process more effective.
Wellness plans have become accepted as a strategy for increasing engagement, reducing health-care costs, and improving overall employee health, but the results have been mixed. How well do wellness plans really work? This session will explain wellness plan ROI, the kinds of programs that work best for a given strategy, and lessons learned from other governments.
Payroll is often the largest single cost object for a government, and good payroll administration is essential for a government's efficient operations, legal compliance, and internal control. This session will discuss overall payroll practices through policies, technology, law, process, and internal controls issues faced by a government. Speakers will provide strategies that apply to both small and large governments and provide benefits from administrative and employee perspectives.
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.
Every local government strives to engage its employees, but it is often difficult to know what employee engagement truly means for both employees and the organization as a whole. In this session attendees will explore the many meanings of employee engagement and how to create useful engagement opportunities for employees. From helping employees become more productive to boosting office morale to emphasizing the mission of your organization, you will come away from this session with new tools to improve your employees' experiences. This session will also explore trends in office environments including flexible hours, work from home, shared work spaces, time off policies, and more.
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.
Emergency response and recovery efforts following a disaster are just the start. Federal assistance to local governments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies may literally be life-saving, but they come with strings attached and can be pulled back if governments do not comply with extensive compliance requirements. In this session an experienced auditor and a disaster-aid recipient government official will share their insights regarding meeting compliance requirements, documentation, and what to expect from independent and federal auditors during their testing of recovery grant expenditures.
A budget can be simply defined as the financial plan that works toward achieving an organization's goals. Unfortunately, few of us dedicate adequate time and effort to outline these goals. As a result, budget meetings and conversations can often veer towards noble, but unclear objectives or be spent discussing strategies for re-arranging costs with little focus on what will be achieved. In this session attendees will learn how to lay the foundation to engage leaders, elected officials, and the public to keep budget discussions focused on goals and can be used to set the overall direction for budget conversations.
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.
Popular technology research often overlooks smaller government situations and assumes that smaller organizations have large information technology departments at their disposal like their larger counterparts. This roundtable session is designed to fill the small government void that general research often neglects. Sit among your peers and share ideas on how large technology issues are resolved in small organizations. Speakers will focus on various systems used by the finance office, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), cashiering systems, budgeting systems, payroll systems, and more-- all with a focus on applications in small organizations.
GASB 84, Fiduciary Activities, becomes effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. Is your government ready? Experts in government accounting will explain key elements of GASB 84 as well as strategies for systematically reviewing and properly classifying activities currently reported as fiduciary and make suggestions on explaining required changes to budgets and financial reports to non-accountants.
One of a government's main fiscal concerns is achieving sustainable funding for its pension and OPEB plans. Failing to fund the plans properly leads to compromised long-term investment performance and, ultimately, higher required employer contributions. Attendees at this session will learn the essential strategic elements of properly funding a pension or OPEB plan, including funding and amortization methods, musts for employer contributions, and what actuarial information you'll need. Experts will also explain options for reducing volatility.
Today’s world presents not only technical challenges for today’s finance leader, it also presents ethical challenges. This session will provide timely insight on ethics and what it means to act with a high degree of integrity.
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.
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.
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.
Director of Finance, Innovation & Technology/City Treasurer
The City of Fredericton
If in five years your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system looks like the same system you first installed, you have failed to leverage your technology investment. This session will focus on the period just after the "go-live" and how to provide long-term support for your ERP system. Speakers will address how to resolve any unresolved items from your go-live punch-list and build the internal capacity to grow a system effectively. Attendees will learn what staff positions and skills you need to develop your system, how to best triage issues, and how to determine when enhancements are needed.Every local government strives to engage its employees, but it is often difficult to know what employee engagement truly means for both employees and the organization as a whole. In this session, attendees will explore the many meanings of employee engagement and how to create engagement opportunities for employees. From helping employees become more productive to boosting office morale to emphasizing the mission of your organization, you will come away from this session with new tools to improve your employees' experiences.
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.