Conference Sessions

A tentative schedule for sessions at the 2018 annual conference is listed below. Speakers for all sessions will be announced in February 2018.

Note: As GFOA continues to refine the program, additional sessions may be added.

14 Sessions

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 10:30am to 12:10pm

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.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 8:30am to 10:10am

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.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 8:30am to 10:10am

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 3:35pm to 4:50pm

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:15pm

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 10:20am to 12:00pm
Assistant Director of Finance
City of Little Rock
Director of Research and Technical Activities
Governmental Accounting Standards Board

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.

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm

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.

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm

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.

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 2:40pm to 3:35pm

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.

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm

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.

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 10:30am to 12:10pm

This session, long a staple at the annual conference, will be joined this year by the GASB Chairman. Speakers will provide a comprehensive overview of the key developments in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting that affect state and local governments. Topics covered will include recently promulgated standards, upcoming implementations and related practice issues, as well as developments related to current GASB projects likely to affect issuers and auditors in the near future.

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is in the midst of research involving whether the framework for going concern needs to be updated in light of many governments experiencing financial difficulty or oversight, but without the legal ability (or desire) to declare bankruptcy. In addition, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has released new auditing standards (SAS-132) updating the attestation and auditing of going concern. Learn about these new projects from the experts.

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

With the implementation of GASB's pension and other postemployment benefit (OPEB) standards, some of the largest numbers and most detailed disclosures in a government's financial statements are calculated by actuaries. Yet, accountants and auditors must understand and work with these numbers - and the professionals who calculate them. In this session you will hear from actuaries and accountants about their respective roles and how to most effectively manage inter-dependency to facilitate timely and reliable pension and OPEB reporting.

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm

Accounting for Investments is a complex and evolving area of government accounting. GASB has issued at least 15 statements that govern some aspect of accounting and financial reporting for investments. This session will cover the current accounting and financial reporting requirements for investments, including the definition of an investment, valuation of a variety of types of investments, external investment pools, investment derivatives, securities lending and repurchase agreements, as well as a preview of forthcoming guidance from GASB on majority equity interest holdings.