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Training Seminars

Note: Training seminars are listed alphabetically within category (i.e, accounting, budgeting, cash management, debt management, management & policy, pension & benefits, technology)

 

Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting

Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 40 
Time: 5 days (Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
View current  GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Accountants and auditors new to the public sector.

Program Overview
Accountants and auditors new to the public sector must immediately face the daunting challenge of familiarizing themselves with the highly specialized rules, guidelines, and practices applicable to state and local governments.  This intensive five-day workshop, intended for those who already possess at least a basic knowledge of private-sector accounting, combines lecture, discussion, and exercises to help newcomers make this difficult, but essential transition.

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete this seminar should be able to:
  • Explain why and how governmental accounting differs from business accounting;
  • Select the appropriate fund to use to account for a given function or activity;
  • Properly apply specialized public-sector account classifications and financial reporting terminology;
  • Distinguish the accrual treatment of transactions and events from the modified accrual treatment of those items;
  • Determine which legally separate units should be included within the financial reporting entity and how they should be presented there;
  • Perform basic journal entries at the fund level;
  • Identify the basic steps in converting fund data for inclusion in government-wide financial statements;
  • Make basic budgetary journal entries and determine when a budgetary comparison is required and at what level of detail;
  • Identify the components of each of the three basic sections of a comprehensive annual financial report;
  • Interpret the basic financial statements;
  • Explain certain unique public-sector accounting treatments;
  • Identify the essential elements of a comprehensive framework of internal control; and
  • Identify key differences between auditing in the public and private sectors (e.g., Single Audit and “Yellow Book” audits).

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $1,360     Nonmember:  $1,885      


 

Accounting for Pensions, Other Postemployment Benefits, and Termination Benefits
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) 
View current  GFOA training schedule
 
Who Will Benefit
Finance professionals involved with pension benefits or other postemployment benefits (OPEB) from either an employer or plan perspective.

Program
The seminar is designed to equip participants with a solid working knowledge of accounting and financial reporting for pensions, OPEB, and termination benefits. It incorporates the latest Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) pronouncements and reviews proposed changes. It also offers practical guidance on how to prepare a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for a public employee retirement system (PERS).

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete the seminar should be able to:
  • Distinguish pension benefits from OPEB;
  • Distinguish postemployment benefits from termination benefits;
  • Identify each of the different types of pension and OPEB arrangements;
  • Determine the appropriate accounting and financial reporting for employers for each;
  • Describe the basic elements of an actuarial valuation;
  • Identify the five major sections of a PERS CAFR and the contents of each; and
  • Determine the appropriate measure of cost for termination benefits.

Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Accounting and Financial Reporting for Capital Assets
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)
View current  GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Mid- to senior-level government finance officers, property accountants, and others responsible for developing or maintaining capital asset records.

Program
The seminar will furnish participants with the basic information needed to properly account for capital assets and report them in financial statements prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). It also deals with key issues of system design and maintenance, including periodic inventories.
 
Advance preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete this seminar should be able to:
  • Identify the basic information requirements for a capital asset management system;
  • Make appropriate journal entries for capital assets under both the economic resources and the current financial resources measurement focus;
  • Identify the major capital asset classes and the specific types of capital assets properly included in each;
  • Distinguish costs that should be capitalized from those that should not;
  • Determine the value at which capital assets should be reported;
  • Identify and calculate capital asset impairments;
  • Properly depreciate or amortize capital assets;
  • Prepare financial statements that conform to the display and disclosure requirements of GAAP for capital assets;
  • Identify the essential elements of system design for a capital asset management system, including specific policies related to capital assets; and
  • Identify the essential elements of a successful physical inventory.

Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Accounting and Financial Reporting for Enterprise Funds and Stand-Alone Business-Type Activities
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)
View current  GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Accountants and auditors whose professional responsibilities, either directly or indirectly, involve accounting and financial reporting for enterprise funds and stand-alone business-type activities.

Program
This seminar examines accounting and financial reporting for both enterprise funds and stand-alone business-type activities. Because such activities generally follow the same standards used in the private sector, the accounting section of the program focuses exclusively on transactions and accounting treatments that are unique to the public sector. The financial reporting portion of the program examines in detail the format and contents of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) of a stand-alone business-type activity.

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete this seminar should be able to:
  • Describe practical differences between private-sector businesses and public-sector business-type activities;
  • Identify transactions for which accounting and financial reporting standards differ between the private and public sectors;
  • Calculate capitalizable interest, including situations involving projects financed by tax-exempt debt and grants;
  • Calculate capital asset impairments;
  • Perform basic journal entries for a debt refinancing;
  • Determine the cost of pensions and other postemployment benefits (OPEB);
  • Classify cash flows;
  • Perform basic journal entries for tap fees, impact fees, and developer contributions;
  • Report interfund activity within a larger financial reporting entity;
  • Explain how regulatory accounting differs from regular accounting and when its use is appropriate in the public sector; and
  • Identify the basic sections of a CAFR for a business-type activity and the key components of each.

Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Advanced Financial Reporting for Governments
Group-live course
Prerequisite: Intermediate Governmental Accounting
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days (first day: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; second day: 8:00 am – 4:00 PM)
View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Accounting and financial reporting professionals who have prepared, or wish to be able to prepare, a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

Program
Participants will examine in detail the format and contents of a CAFR prepared in accordance with both generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the program requirements of the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program

[Note: This program is an expanded form of the GFOA’s one-day seminar on Preparing a CAFR.]

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete the seminar should be able to:
  • Identify the three basic sections of a CAFR and the essential components of each;
  • Differentiate basic financial statements, required supplementary information, and other supplementary information within a CAFR;
  • Identify the basic elements of a letter of transmittal;
  • Identify the appropriate elements to include in management’s discussion and analysis;
  • Format each of the basic financial statements;
  • Classify data in each of the basic financial statements;
  • Properly apply commonly misunderstood note disclosure requirements;
  • Format combining and individual fund statements; and
  • Prepare required statistical presentations.

Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Advanced Governmental Accounting
Group-live course
Prerequisite: Intermediate Governmental Accounting
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days (first day: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; second day: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm)
View current GFOA training schedule
 
Who Will Benefit
Accounting and financial reporting professionals with at least two years of experience, or who have attended the GFOA’s Intermediate Governmental Accounting seminar or an equivalent program.

Program
This seminar provides a detailed examination of selected governmental accounting topics.  Emphasis throughout is placed on the practical application of generally accepted accounting principles. 

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete this seminar should understand the appropriate accounting and financial reporting for:
  • Investments;
  • Capital assets;
  • Debt;
  • Compensated absences;
  • Grants;
  • Risk financing;
  • Pensions, other postemployment benefits, and termination benefits;
  • Joint ventures and similar arrangements;
  • Conversion and consolidation of fund data for inclusion in government-wide financial statements;
  • Pollution remediation and landfill closure and postclosure care costs;
  • Rebatable arbitrage;
  • Service concession arrangements (public-private partnerships);
  • Sales and pledges of receivables and future revenues;
  • Nonexchange financial guarantees; and
  • Government combinations.

Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790 

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Equity Revisited: Practical Guidance on How to Report Fund Balance & Net Assets

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: A basic understanding of governmental accounting and financial reporting

Course level: Intermediate/Advanced

CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

One of the more challenging aspects of accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments is the proper classification of the various components of net assets and fund balance. Indeed, the misclassification or miscalculation of one or both of these items is among the most common financial reporting deficiencies found in practice today. This session uses a combination of lecture and exercises to examine in detail the rules for calculating and presenting the various components of net assets and fund balance, with special attention focused on common mistakes and widespread misunderstandings.

Recommended Reading:

  • What Everyone Needs to Know about the New Fund Balance


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160


 

Evaluating Internal Controls
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day (9:00 am - 5:00 pm)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Managers, internal auditors, and others with an interest in the proper design, maintenance, and evaluation of a comprehensive internal control framework in the public sector.

Program
Participants will examine, from a state and local government perspective, each of the essential components of a comprehensive framework of internal control, along with the accompanying principles and points of focus identified in the Council of Sponsoring Organizations’ (COSO) most recent version of Internal Control− Integrated Framework (2013). The public-sector manager’s role in fraud prevention and detection also will be discussed.

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives

  • Those who successfully complete this seminar should be able to:
  • Define “internal control” and explain how it relates to basic managerial objectives;
  • Identify the respective responsibilities of management, the governing body, external auditors, and internal auditors in regard to internal control;
  • Identify the five essential components of a comprehensive framework of internal control;
  • Identify the 17 principles associated with each of those five essential components;
  • Identify the key points of focus related to each principle;
  • Describe the inherent limitations of internal control;
  • Describe the relationship between internal control and enterprise risk management;
  • Describe the relationship between internal control and fraud; and
  • Describe how fraud can be identified and how identified fraud should be managed

 
Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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19th Annual Governmental GAAP Update

 Broadcast: November 6, 2014 (1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern) - Register Online
Rebroadcast: December 4, 2014 (1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern) - Register Online

 

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) will offer its 19th Annual Governmental GAAP Update on November 6, 2014, and again on December 4, 2014, using the latest live video and audio streaming technology. The seminar offers an incomparable opportunity to learn everything you need to know about the most recent developments in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments from the convenience of your own computer. Enjoy all the benefits of the highest quality continuing professional education without the time and expense of travel. Sign up with your colleagues and take advantage of special group rates.

This year’s Annual Governmental GAAP Update will provide comprehensive coverage of the most recent developments in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments, including:

  • Final guidance from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on measurement approaches (GASB Concepts Statement No. 6);
  • Changes to the GASB’s Comprehensive Implementation Guide;
  • New GASB implementation guidance on pensions for employers;
  • Proposed GASB concepts statement on fair value measurement and application (exposure draft);
  • Proposed GASB statement on fiduciary responsibilities (exposure draft);
  • Proposed GASB statements on other postemployment benefits – OPEB (exposure draft);
  • Proposed GASB statement on pensions outside the scope of latest GASB pension standards (exposure draft);
  • Proposed GASB statement on the hierarchy of generally accepted accounting principles (exposure draft);
  • Emerging GASB guidance on leases (forthcoming exposure draft);
  • Emerging GASB guidance on tax abatement disclosures (forthcoming exposure draft);
  • New Financial Accounting Foundation consultation process policy on GASB Scope of Authority;
  • GASB Technical Plan; and
  • Common reporting deficiencies.


Intended outcomes:

Participants in this year’s GAAP Update should obtain a practical understanding of:

  • How the measurement of assets and liabilities may change;
  • How to implement the GASB’s latest pension guidance for employers;
  • How governments in the future may be asked to determine in a given situation whether trust fund reporting is necessary;
  • How OPEB accounting will probably change fundamentally to conform to the latest pension guidance;
  • How the GAAP hierarchy for state and local governments will soon be amended;
  • How lease accounting is headed toward substantial change;
  • What disclosures may be required in connection with tax abatements;
  • Other issues the GASB is exploring; and
  • How to avoid common reporting deficiencies. 

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How to Account for Investments

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE Credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)

View current GFOA training schedule  

 

Who Will Benefit

Accounting or auditing professionals responsible for preparing or auditing the financial statements of a state or local government.

 

Program Overview

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued a number of standards that apply directly or indirectly to accounting and financial reporting for investments. This seminar examines the practical application of this guidance and related note disclosure. Topics examined include: timing of recognition of purchases and sales, valuation, purchased interest, pooled cash and investments, repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, securities lending arrangements, and derivatives.

 

Seminar Objectives

To provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of how to display and disclose investments in state and local government financial statements.

 

Registration Fees

Active/Associate GFOA member - $85    Nonmember - $160

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How to Get from Governmental Funds to Governmental Activities
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: Intermediate Governmental Accounting (or its equivalent)
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit

Accounting professionals responsible for preparing the financial statements of a state or local government.

 

Program Overview

One of the greatest challenges an accountant must face in preparing a set of basic financial statements for a state or local government is to convert and consolidate the data in the fund financial statements for incorporation into the government-wide financial statements. This interactive Internet training session combines lecture and exercises to help participants master each step of the process used to convert and consolidate fund data.

 

Seminar Objectives

To provide participants with the information they need to make the adjustments required to prepare government-wide financial statements.


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Intermediate Governmental Accounting  
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days (first day: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; second day: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm)
View current GFOA training schedule
  
Who Will Benefit
Mid-level finance officers, accountants, independent auditors, and other persons with a basic knowledge of private-sector accounting.

[Note: The material in this seminar is also part of the GFOA’s Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting.]

Program
This seminar is designed to provide participants with a solid working knowledge of the specialized accounting and financial reporting used for state and local governments.  Emphasis is placed throughout on differences between private- and public-sector theory and practice.
 
Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete the seminar should be able to:
  • Explain why and how governmental accounting differs from business accounting;
  • Select the appropriate fund to use to account for a given function or activity;
  • Properly apply specialized public-sector account classifications and financial reporting terminology;
  • Distinguish the accrual treatment of transactions and events from the modified accrual treatment of those items;
  • Determine which legally separate units should be included within the financial reporting entity and how they should be presented there;
  • Perform basic journal entries at the fund level;
  • Identify the basic steps in converting fund data for inclusion in government-wide financial statements;
  • Make basic budgetary journal entries and determine when a budgetary comparison is required and at what level of detail; and
  • Identify the components of each of the three basic sections of a comprehensive annual financial report.

Recommended Reading
None

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Internal Control: New and Improved

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Basic
CPE Credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)

View current GFOA training schedule  

 

Who Will Benefit

Any public-sector financial manager.

 

Program Overview

Recently, the Council of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) issued a significantly amended and expanded version of its classic Internal Control—Integrated Framework. This latest guidance from COSO identifies 17 principles that apply to the five essential components of a comprehensive framework of internal control. These principles, in turn, are accompanied by almost 90 points of focus that offer guidance on their application. This interactive Internet training session combines lecture and exercises to help participants gain a practical understanding of the newly amended COSO guidance.

 

Seminar Objectives

To provide participants with a solid basic understanding of the five essential components of a comprehensive framework of internal control, as well as the principles and related points of focus that underlie them, and how all of these elements work together to provide reasonable assurance that internal control is effective.

 

Registration Fees

Active/Associate GFOA member - $85    Nonmember - $160

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Planning, Budgeting, and Managing Capital Assets
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
This course is for finance officers, budget officers, budget analysts, and others who participate in or lead their
organization’s capital budget process.

Program Overview
Capital assets include major government facilities, infrastructure, equipment, and networks that enable the delivery
of public-sector services. The performance and continued use of these capital assets is essential to the health, safety,
economic development, and quality of life of those receiving services. As capital projects age, or as services evolve
and require additional or different assets to continue operating effectively and efficiently, governments are often
required to invest large amounts of money into their capital program.


However, due to the intermittent nature of many large capital investments, these essential expenditures are often
deferred, making it increasingly difficult to sustain the asset in a condition necessary to provide expected service
levels. To address these challenges, governments need an effective capital plan, capital budget, and capital asset
management plan that is able to identify and communicate need, allocate resources, and monitor condition effectively.
This session will present best practices in capital planning, budgeting, and management highlighting GFOA’s best
practice statements.

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand the importance of a capital plan, capital budget, and capital asset management policy
  • Learn strategies for effectively communicating capital needs
  • Learn how to develop capital planning policies
  • Identify the importance of public participation in the capital planning and budgeting process
  • Learn how to work with various stakeholders to develop a capital budget
  • Identify appropriate funding sources for capital projects
  • Develop an effective capital asset management program
  • Understand how to integrate the capital and operating budget


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Preparing a CAFR
Group-live course
Prerequisite: Intermediate Governmental Accounting or equivalent
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day (9:00 am - 5:00 pm)
View current GFOA training schedule
  
Who Will Benefit
Accounting and financial reporting professionals who have prepared, or wish to be able to prepare, a comprehensive annual financial report for a state or local government. [Individuals interested exclusively in accounting and financial reporting for enterprise funds and stand-alone business type activities are advised to take that seminar instead.]

Program
Participants will examine the format and contents of a CAFR prepared in accordance with both generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the additional program requirements of the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program.

Note: This program is a condensed form of the GFOA’s two-day seminar on Advanced Financial Reporting.

Advance Preparation
None

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete the seminar should be able to:
  • Identify the three basic sections of a CAFR and the essential components of each;
  • Identify the basic elements of a letter of transmittal;
  • Identify the appropriate elements to include in management’s discussion and analysis;
  • Identify all of the basic financial statements and the essential elements of each;
  • Identify combining and individual fund statements and their essential elements;
  • Identify required supplementary information;
  • Correctly interpret certain key note disclosure requirements that are commonly misunderstood; and
  • Identify all required statistical presentations

Recommended Reading
None

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550 

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Understanding Governmental Accounting

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None       
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Anyone who has occasion to use state and local government financial statements, but is unfamiliar with the unique features of public-sector accounting and financial reporting.


Program Overview
State and local government financial reports provide a wealth of data useful for assessing a government’s finances. To profit from this information, however, users need at least a basic understanding of governmental accounting and financial reporting, which differ significantly from private-sector practice. This two-hour interactive Internet training program combines lecture and exercises to provide the necessary level of understanding in a straightforward and practical way.


Seminar Objectives
To familiarize participants with the unique features of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

 

Instructor
The instructor for this program will be Stephen J. Gauthier, director of GFOA’s Technical Services Center. Gauthier has authored numerous publications, including Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (GAAFR or “Blue Book”).

Recommended Reading
Chapters 1 – 4 from the completely rewritten Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (GAAFR or “Blue Book”) publication.

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Budgeting and Financial Planning

Advanced Budget Analysis: Policy Analysis, Cost Benefit and Program Review
Group-live course
Prerequisites:  Budget Academy
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 8
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
This session is designed for budget managers and analysts tasked with providing budget analysis, policy analysis, and program reviews for both operating and capital requests. It will provide practical guidance on how to use data analysis methods, forecasting, cost benefit analysis, fiscal impact analysis, and other analytic methods  to provide decision support. This is an advanced course that assumes users will have a basic understanding of the budget process.

Program
As fiscal stress and citizen expectations continue to increase, governments are under intense pressure to deliver quality services with fewer and fewer resources. Budget managers and analysts then tasked with “watching the budget” require special skills in data analysis, performance management, communication, and organizational understanding. This session will provide practical information on how to effectively analyze different proposals and compare short-term and long-term impacts on both costs and services.  In addition, speakers will discuss methods of monitoring ongoing proposals and budgets to perform continuous evaluations and allow governments to become more responsive,  effective, and efficient.  Key approaches that will be discussed include cost benefit analysis, return on investment, fiscal impact analysis, costing, and performance evaluations.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn how to work with departments to prepare quality budget requests that enable proper evaluation of options
  • Develop skills to evaluate how proposed services align with organizational priorities
  • Learn strategies for analyzing revenue and expenditures, including hard to quantify costs
  • Learn how to include anticipated benefits as part of the analysis
  • Identify which analytic approaches are most appropriate for different scenarios that budget analysis face as part of the budget or ongoing evaluation process.



Recommended Reading

  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 2)
  • Decision Tools for Budgetary Analysis (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 3)

 

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Advanced Performance Budgeting: In-Depth Tools and Methods Training
Group-live course
Prerequisites: Concepts in Performance Budgeting
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 16
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
This session is designed for budget managers and analysts who are already familiar with the basic concepts of performance measurement and performance budgeting who want to gain more skills and knowledge about various forms of performance budgeting and how to use associated tools and practices. It will provide in-depth coverage of topics introduced in the Concepts in Performance Budgeting course.

 
Program
This  hands-on course  will combine lecture and audience participation to give participants experience using performance budgeting practices and tools.  It assumes that participants will have basic knowledge of performance measurement and budgeting. Trainers will walk participants through a variety of topics, including methods for integrating strategic planning and budgeting; effective approaches to public participation and developing citizen-based goals and strategies; best practices for coaching departments to improve their budget requests and making them performance-driven; and how to help executives and elected officials move from a line-item, cost-driven focus to a value-based, results focus in budget decision-making. Trainers will also cover approaches to administering a performance-based budget.


Seminar Objectives
Participants will receive information and have the opportunity to practice performance-based tool and methods related to:

  • Using public participation methods to create citizen-focused goals and measures
  • Aligning budget preparation with strategies and goals developed in the planning process
  • Working with departments to improve their use of outcome measures and develop performance-based budget requests
  • Program costing and cross-walking program costs to funds and line items.
  • Assisting executives and governing bodies to review budget proposals from a value and performance basis, incorporating performance measures in budget decision making.
  • Performance budgeting monitoring and reporting methods.


Recommended Reading

  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 2)
  • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 4)
  • Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 6)
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving, National Performance Management Advisory Commission, 2010, available at www.PMCommission.org or www.gfoa.org.

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Analyzing Budgets: The Nuts and Bolts of Budget Analysis

Group-live course

Prerequisites: Budget Analyst Training Academy       
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule      

Who Will Benefit

This session is designed for budget managers and analysts tasked with providing budget analysis. It will expand upon many of the topics covered in the Budget Analyst Training Academy to provide greater detail and develop more advanced skills related to how to properly analyze key information during budget preparation and budget administration.

 

Program

As fiscal stress and citizen expectations continue to increase, governments are under intense pressure to deliver quality services with fewer and fewer resources. Budget managers and analysts then tasked with “watching the budget” require special skills in data analysis, performance management, communication, and organizational understanding. This session will provide nuts and bolts information on how to effectively analyze and monitor budgets to ensure governments are being effective and efficient.

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn how to work with departments to prepare quality budget requests
  • Develop skills to evaluate how proposed services align with organizational priorities
  • Learn strategies for revenue and expenditure forecasting and planning
  • Identify methods for properly costing services
  • Learn how budget offices in other governments analyze budgets
  • Identify techniques for effective budget monitoring
  • Learn how to communicate effectively with stakeholders


Recommended Reading

  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 2)
  • Decision Tools for Budgetary Analysis (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 3)
  • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 4)
  • Organization and Design of an Effective Budget Function (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 5)
  • Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 6)

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

 

Best Practices in Budgeting: Skills and Knowledge Series

Group-live course and Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: Budget Analyst Training Academy (or equivalent experience)
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16 per Live Course; 2 per Internet Course

Times: TBA

View current GFOA training schedule
   
Who Will Benefit

The Best Practices in Budgeting series is geared towards finance officers, budget officers, budget analysts, and others interested in best practices and practical approaches to solving common budget problems. These intermediate seminars offer individuals already familiar with budget practices the opportunity to learn about leading practices in specific areas of public-sector budgeting. 

Program

The Best Practices in Budgeting series of seminars focuses on a different set of topics each time it is offered. While new topics are offered at each session in order to enable more advanced practitioners the opportunity to continue their learning, all leading practices presented are consistent with the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting’s (NACSLB) recommendations’ four key principles:
1)    Establish broad goals to guide government decision making
2)    Develop approaches to achieve goals
3)    Develop a budget with approaches to achieve goals
4)    Evaluate performance and make adjustments

Through a mix of lectures, case studies, and discussion, seminar leaders will highlight examples of leading practices from state and local governments. Participants will be encouraged to share examples of effective practices from their own experience.

Series Objectives
The series will cover the topics below. Course descriptions for each objective will be provided in the near future.

  • Performance Budgeting (Live Course)
  • Revenue Forecasting (Live Course)
  • Analyzing Budgets (Live Course)
  • Personnel Budgeting (Internet Course)
  • Capital Budgeting (Live Course)
  • Fiscal First Aid to Fiscal Health (Live Course)

Recommended Reading
  • GFOA Budgeting Series (Volumes 1 – 8)
    • Benchmarking and Measuring Debt Capacity (Volume 1)
    • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (Volume 2)
    • Decision Tools for Budgetary Analysis (Volume 3)
    • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (Volume 4)
    • Organization and Design of an Effective Budget Function (Volume 5)
    • Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (Volume 6)
    • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation (Volume 7)
    • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer (Volume 8)

Registration Fees

Live Courses: 
GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

Internet Courses:
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Best Practices in Budgeting and Fiscal Policy
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: Basic understanding of budgeting principles
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Financial professionals seeking to expand their expertise in budgeting and fiscal policy.


Program Overview
Over the last couple of decades, the GFOA has developed more than 35 best practices related to budgeting that cover: 1) fiscal policy; 2) linking the budget to organizational goals and performance; 3) the budget process and budgetary techniques; and 4) specific elements of the operating budget document. This interactive Internet training program focuses on the practical implementation of these best practices.


Seminar Objectives

  • To familiarize participants with the GFOA’s best practices on budgeting and their practical implementation.


Recommended Reading
Go to www.gfoa.org and click on the “Best Practices and Advisories” link to access the budgeting and fiscal policy best practices.

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Budget Analyst Training Academy
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 24
Time: 4 Days (1st and last are 1/2 days)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit: This course is designed for new and intermediate analysts or others new to government looking to gain important budgeting skills and improve their understanding of the public-sector budget process and budgeting best practices.

Program: This intensive three-and-a-half-day program is designed to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to understand, impact, and improve the public-sector budgeting process. Knowledge gained in the academy will improve participants’ analytical, problem-solving, and communication abilities, and help them lead their organizations in making better use of resources.

Seminar Objectives:

  • Understand the public-sector budget process, including budget preparation, budget adoption, and budget administration
  • Understand the role of key stakeholders in the budget process
  • Recognize the importance of overall alignment of the budget to focus resources on community needs
  • Develop skills for long-term financial planning
  • Learn how to develop and work with performance measures
  • Become familiar with the link between the budget and basic accounting principles
  • Understand key components of an effective budget process, including public participation, revenue forecasting,
  • prioritization, performance measures, and service levels
  • Understand how capital planning, position budgeting, and salary forecasting relate to the budget preparation process
  • Hear what technologies are available for budget preparation
  • Learn techniques for effective communication of budget and performance information
  • Become familiar with tools and techniques used by governments to improve efficiency and effectiveness of services


Recommended Reading:
GFOA Budgeting Series (includes the following 7 titles)

  • Benchmarking and Measuring Debt Capacity (Volume 1)
  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (Volume 2)
  • Decision Tools for Budgetary Analysis (Volume 3)
  • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (Volume 4)
  • Organization and Design of an Effective Budget Function (Volume 5)
  • Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (Volume 6)
  • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer (Volume 8)

Building a Better Budget Document (second edition)
Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning
The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook


Registration Fees
GFOA member: $735 Nonmember: $940

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Budget Preparation Series
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)
View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Budget analysts and others who want to gain budget preparation skills and improve their understanding of public-sector budget preparation processes and budgeting best practices.
 
Program Overview
This web-based series of sessions is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to understand and improve public-sector budget preparation processes. Presenters will go through each major step of the budget preparation process, from identifying strategic priorities to communicating the budget to the public and other stakeholders. The series is based on the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting.

Projecting Revenues and Expenditure Demands – August 27, 2014
  • In an era of fundamental change in intergovernmental funding relationships and responsibilities, assumptions about revenues and expenditure that were helpful last year may no longer apply next year. This session will focus on new thinking about forecasting revenues and expenditures based on GFOA’s research and best practices.
Communicating the Budget to the Public, Officials, and the Media – October 29, 2014
  • While reports and budget documents are important ways to communicate budget information to officials and the public, in-person presentations also provide opportunities to explain budget recommendations, clarify concepts, explain to the public the benefits they’re receiving from budgeted services, and answer questions on the spot. Presenters at this session will discuss how to develop and deliver key messages clearly and how to use graphics to make financial information understandable, resulting in concise and memorable public presentations.
Preparing the Proposed Budget: Review and Analysis – December 17, 2014
  • This session will go through the nuts and bolts of budget preparation, emphasizing budget analysis and analytic tools for aligning budget funding with budget strategies, such as logic models and cost/benefit analysis. Instructors will also provide practical tips on reviewing budget requests and working with departments and the CEO to create the proposed budget.

Seminar Objectives Participants who attend all should benefit as follows:
  • Gain an understanding of the key steps in public-sector budget preparation and the importance of aligning budget spending with community-driven priorities.
  • Have the ability to identify and use effective approaches to public involvement early in the process.
  • Learn the basics of short-term revenue and expenditure forecasting.
  • Learn what essential budget policies are needed and criteria for formulating them.
  • Gain an understanding of essential analytic tools such as logic models and cost/benefit analysis.
  • Be able to formulate and communicate key budget messages.

Recommended Reading
  • GFOA Budgeting Series (includes the following 7 titles)
    • Benchmarking and Measuring Debt Capacity (Volume 1)
    • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (Volume 2)
    • Decision Tools for Budgetary Analysis (Volume 3)
    • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (Volume 4)
    • Organization and Design of an Effective Budget Function (Volume 5)
    • Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (Volume 6)
    • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer (Volume 8)
  • Building a Better Budget Document (second edition)
  • Financial Policies
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160
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Budgeting for Outcomes: Mastering the Tools
Group-live course
Prerequisites: Practitioner’s Guide to Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO)
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 8
Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Who Should Participate

This session is for budget and finance managers, City managers, elected officials, and others who want to master the tools and methodologies used in budgeting for outcomes.  It is an intermediate course that assumes that attendees have a basic understanding of results-driven budgeting and are considering or already implementing BFO.


Program

Budgeting for outcomes is a best-practice approach to budgeting that focuses on aligning spending with results and community preferences. It is more than a set of concepts, however. It provides tools that help governments to identify and understand the key drivers of citizen-based priorities.  It also offers tools for identifying programs and aligning them with high-level priorities and for ranking programs according to these priorities within available revenues.  


This class is taught by practitioners who have successfully mastered these tools. Instructors will assist attendees to understand how to select public input methodologies, analyze causal factors, use cause-effect mapping to identify strategies, develop program inventories, and use logic models to link programs to high-level priorities.  

 

Seminar Objectives:

  • Identify the tools that are most useful for successfully implementing budgeting for outcomes and when to use them.
  • Enable attendees to practice these tools and give them tips on getting others to use the tools.  
  • Provide advice on evaluating and improving BFO through enhanced use of the tools.

 

Recommended Reading

  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550


 
Building a Better Budget Document
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

Who Will Benefit
Individuals responsible for preparing a budget.
 
Program Overview
This interactive Internet training program explains each of the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program’s 27 criteria, using practical examples drawn from the more than 1,400 budget documents submitted to the program.

Seminar Objectives
  • To provide preparers of budget documents a comprehensive overview of the essential characteristics of an effective budget document.

Recommended Reading
  • Building a Better Budget Document (second edition)
    • In Building a Better Budget Document, the GFOA has assembled more than 250 sample pages from award-winning government budgets. Each chapter is carefully constructed to tell a story about how to present the government budget document in an outstanding manner.
  • Real-life examples highlight state-of-the-art budgetary presentation.
  • Contents reflect the structure of the 27 criteria used to evaluate budgets submitted to the GFOA Budget Awards Program.
  • Narrative text explains how each example meets the program criteria in an exemplary manner.
  • All types of governments are represented.
  • Includes examples that illustrate some of GFOA’s best practices in budgeting.

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160
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Capital Budgeting and Infrastructure Finance
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None   
Course level: Intermediate   
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)
View current GFOA training schedule           

Who Will Benefit
Managing an effective capital planning program is essential to the long-term financial health of an organization. This seminar is designed for individuals who are directly involved with preparing a jurisdiction’s capital improvement plan or capital budget. It will cover GFOA best practices in identifying and communicating capital needs, developing a long-term capital plan, prioritizing projects, and preparing and monitoring a capital budget.
 
Program
This session will focus on the finance or budget officer’s role in the overall capital planning and budgeting process. To meet the many challenges governments face in infrastructure and asset management, finance officers must have skills and knowledge necessary to coordinate the entire end-to-end capital planning process. This session will identify how to prepare an effective capital plan, including how to coordinate a jurisdiction’s process for identifying needs, determining appropriate service levels, and prioritizing projects. Also covered will be how to communicate effectively with operations staff, determining appropriate funding mechanisms, identifying opportunities for possible public-private partnerships, facilitating community outreach and participation, and linking capital plans with overall organizational goals, master plans, and community priorities. 
 
Seminar Objectives
  • Identify key responsibilities of the finance office for facilitating an effective capital improvement planning process
  • Learn how to take a proactive approach to identifying capital needs
  • Learn how to communicate with operations staff 
  • Analyze approaches to selecting, timing, rating, and prioritizing capital projects
  • Estimate and analyze capital projects
  • Design a capital financing strategy
  • Prepare a capital budget document that is consistent with long-term capital improvement plans
  • Evaluate and monitor capital project expenditures

Recommended Reading
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Economic Development
  • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 4)
  • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 8)

Registration Fees:
GFOA member: $580     Nonmember: $790

 

Concepts in Performance Budgeting

Group-live course
Prerequisite: Budget Analyst Training Academy
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule 


Program
As a result of increasing financial stress and public pressure for transparency and accountability along with the drive to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs, governments across the United States and Canada have moved to an outcome-based budget approach. This program will explain how outcome-based budgeting can be used as an effective tool to help improve both the process for preparing a budget as well as key decisions that ultimately impact the services that governments provide. Instructors will focus on each step in an outcome-based budget process, highlighting effective strategies of how each was implemented in local government. In addition, attendees will be provided worksheets and templates that assist in the preparation of outcome-based budgets.

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580 Nonmember $790

 

Essential Policies for Budgeting and Financial Management
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule   

Who Will Benefit

This course is designed for public officials who want to better manage their operations by clearly defining the strategic intent for financial management and defining boundaries for financial decision making by elected and appointed officials.

Program

Having formally adopted financial and budgetary policies is and has been for many years a recognized best practice in the field of government finance. This session is based on GFOA’s upcoming publication Financial Policies: Design and Implementation, second edition, and provides examples of financial policies and strategies for governments looking to develop or improve existing policies that guide decision making, promote best practices, and contribute to a well-managed government. An overview of how to incorporate best practices into your policies and procedures will also be provided.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn about essential policies that every government should have
  • Identify how to communicate the value of good policies to elected officials and others in the organization
  • Learn strategies for developing sound financial and budget policies
  • Review best practice examples from different types and sizes of governments

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160
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Effective Budget Presentation

Group-live course
Prerequisites: None

Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

View current GFOA training schedule  

  

Who Will Benefit

This seminar is designed for budget and finance staff involved in preparing state and local governmental budget documents. Those involved in communicating budgetary data to citizens also will profit from the seminar, as should individuals from legislative, rating-agency, or interest-group backgrounds.

 

Program

The one-day seminar will provide participants with the opportunity to acquire hands-on, practical advice on how to improve the effectiveness of state or local government's budget document. Special emphasis will be placed on how to make the most of technology to present data graphically. The program is structured around the criteria used to judge the quality of budget documents submitted to the GFOA's Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program. Numerous examples are drawn from the GFOA's book-length publication Preparing High Quality Budget Documents, which is furnished on site to all participants as part of their course materials.

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Provide the practical information needed to improve the quality of a government's budget document

 

Recommended Reading

Recommended Budget Practices CD-ROM

Note:  Attendees should bring a copy of their budget document with them to the seminar.

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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GFOA Best Practice: Incorporating a Capital Project Budget in the Budget Process (2007) Program Review and Service-Level Alternatives for Budgeting
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None 
Course level: Intermediate  
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Finance directors, budget directors, senior finance, budget staff or program managers who are responsible for budgeting, delivering, or reviewing/analyzing the performance and cost effectiveness of programs and services.

Program
This intermediate-level course provides methodologies, concepts, tools, and best practice approaches to assessing the current set of services and service levels that are provided by your organization. Instructors will explain strategies for making sure that services and service levels are appropriate and delivered effectively and efficiently. Attendees will gain information on how to gather useful public feedback, apply business process improvement techniques, develop service-level agreements, identify performance measures, and develop a structure that promotes accountability for achieving goals. In addition, instructors will explain how to integrate this work with other key processes such as strategic planning and budgeting. This course will also present case studies and provide examples of leading organizations in this area.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn how to assess and inventory existing services
  • Identify methods for establishing appropriate service levels
  • Understand how to calculate costs for services and evaluate cost effectiveness
  • Identify opportunities for improving existing services
  • Learn how service levels and determining correct service levels is an important aspect of strategic planning and budgeting


Recommended Reading

  • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 7)
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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How to Present the Capital Budget in the Operating Budget Document

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Intermediate/Advanced
CPE Credits: 1
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (ET)       

View current GFOA training schedule 

 

Who will benefit? 
Individuals responsible for preparing the operating budget document.

Program
Once a government has adopted a capital budget or multi-year capital plan, it needs to determine how best to incorporate relevant information into its operating budget document. This live, interactive Internet training session combines lecture and examples to explore practical ways to achieve this objective. Specific topics to be covered include:

  • Where to place capital-related information in the operating budget document;
  • How to define capital expenditures;
  • How to present financing sources and uses;
  • How to manage the process (e.g., calendar, prioritization, funding);
  • How to distinguish recurring from non-recurring items; and
  • What information to provide for individual projects (e.g., description, operating impact, timetable, pictures or maps, and links to other plans).


Instructor
John Fishbein, Senior Manager, Technical Services Center, Government Finance Officers Association, Chicago, Illinois

Recommended Reading

  • Preparing High Quality Budget Documents


Registration Fees
Active/Associate GFOA member - $35    Nonmember - $50

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How to Use Charts and Tables to Enhance a Budget Document
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: Basic understanding of budgeting practices
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Individuals responsible for preparing a budget document.


Program Overview
This interactive Internet training program offers a wealth of examples that illustrate how charts and tables can be used effectively to enhance the budget document. It also examines the specific content of various charts and tables, as well as their appropriate placement within a budget document.


Seminar Objectives

  • To equip participants to make more effective use of charts and tables in a budget document.


Recommended Reading

  • Building a Better Budget Document (second edition)
    • In Building a Better Budget Document, the GFOA has assembled more than 250 sample pages from award-winning government budgets. Each chapter is carefully constructed to tell a story about how to present the government budget document in an outstanding manner.
  • Real-life examples highlight state-of-the-art budgetary presentation.
  • Contents reflect the structure of the 27 criteria used to evaluate budgets submitted to the GFOA Budget Awards Program.
  • Narrative text explains how each example meets the program criteria in an exemplary manner.
  • All types of governments are represented.
  • Includes examples that illustrate some of GFOA’s best practices in budgeting.


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Learning from the Evidence: Evaluation and Making Adjustments to the Budget

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE Credits: 1
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)       

View current GFOA training schedule 

 

Who Will Benefit
This seminar is designed for budget and finance officers looking to incorporate learning and improvement into budget planning and ongoing budget monitoring.

Program Overview
Even though strategic plans are created once every few years, and budgets are developed annually, incorporating performance management and evidenced-based decision making into the budget process creates the opportunity for managers to learn and react throughout the year to improve services and deliver better results. This session will explain how governments have been able to use performance budgeting to effectively target funds to programs and services that deliver the best results.

Seminar Objectives
  • Develop an effective process for incorporating performance data in departmental budget requests
  • Enable participants to improve short- and long-term management decisions and results.
  • Understand the power of linking planning, budgeting, and day-to-day decision making for improving performance
  • Create an effective structure that allows for continuous focus on improvement
  • Learn how to use performance management in the budget process to improve year-round management and contribute to the jurisdiction’s long-term success.

Recommended Reading
  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
    • GFOA’s latest publication on performance management presents findings from over two years of research into identifying trends and leading practices among public-sector practitioners across the United States and Canada. The book explains essential components of a performance management system including budgeting, public participation, evaluation, management, and technology and provides strategies to help governments use performance management as a tool to be more accountable, make better decisions, and ultimately improve services. Also included in the book is a listing of public-sector performance management efforts.
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
    • Faced with downward pressures on tax revenues, increasing expenditures, shifting demographics, as well as a host of other complex challenges, local governments need a new approach to planning. Readers of Financing the Future will discover key features of a successful long-term financial plan; phases pivotal to plan implementation; and how to involve elected officials, staff, and citizens to create a plan that gets results that are valuable to their community. With this publication, you will learn how to achieve and maintain long-term financial sustainability.
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Governments

 

Long Range Financial Planning Series: Overview

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for state and local government finance directors, budget directors, budget staff, and chief executive/administrative officers and other staff responsible for long-range planning.


Program Overview
This seminar describes the process of analyzing the financial and economic environment of a local government as part of the process of long-term financial planning. In order to produce a quality forecast and good financial strategies, planners must understand the forces acting on the organization. An analysis of the financial and economic environment
examines the social, technological, economic, ecological, and political forces that are sources of uncertainty or that may give rise to threats or opportunities. Participants will learn how to gather, analyze, and present information on these forces in a way that places the organization on a firm foundation to conduct long-term financial planning.


Seminar Objectives
Attendees will learn:

  • The five fundamental forces that you must investigate in order to understand the financial and economic environment.
  • Techniques to interview key stakeholders and the important questions to ask.
  • Key sources of publicly available data that can help you with the analysis.
  • Methods for presenting data that are interesting and informative. 

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160


 

Managing the Budget Process
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None           
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 8
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule
       
Who Will Benefit:

This course is for finance officers, budget officers, analysts, and other leaders in the organization who are responsible for overseeing and/or coordinating the budget process. 

 

Program:

Participants will be provided with the tools and techniques to coordinate and manage the operating and capital budget process. Participants will analyze the key elements of the budget development process, such as: obtaining public input, forecasting revenue, coordinating departmental budget submissions, and communicating key budget messages to the governing body and public. Participants will learn ways to more effectively communicate with internal and external stakeholders to develop and present the budget in a way that allows the organization to best convey its goals, objectives, and mission.  

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and duties of budget process staff inside and outside of the central budget office
  • Learn the key responsibilities for coordinating staff from across the organization
  • Understand how leading-edge governments are incorporating key elements of strategic thinking into the budget process
  • Learn the importance of communication and identify strategies to effectively communicate with all stakeholders
  • Learn how to work with the media
  • Understand the importance of performance management, evaluation, and analysis to link priorities and key outcomes to the budget
  • Discuss the role of the public during the budget process and how to get the most value from public input
  • Understand the role of technology in preparing the budget
  • Learn how to initiate and implement changes using change management


Recommended Reading

  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • GFOA Budgeting Series (Volumes 1 – 8)
    • Benchmarking and Measuring Debt Capacity (Volume 1)
    • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (Volume 2)
    • Decision Tools for Budgetary Analysis (Volume 3)
    • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (Volume 4)
    • Organization and Design of an Effective Budget Function (Volume 5)
    • Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (Volume 6)
    • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation (Volume 7)
    • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer (Volume 8)

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

 

Performance Budgeting
Group-live course

Prerequisites: Budget Academy       
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule           

Who Will Benefit:

This session is designed for finance officers, budget managers, and analysts looking to align their budget process with GFOA’s best practice statements on budgeting to get more involved with outcome-based budgeting. The session will identify key skills necessary to work in and manage an outcome-based or performance-oriented budget process.

 

Program:

As a result of increasing financial stress and public pressure for transparency and accountability along with the drive to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs, governments across the United States and Canada have moved to an outcome-based budget approach. This program will explain how outcome-based budgeting can be used as an effective tool to help improve both the process for preparing a budget as well as key decisions that ultimately impact the services that governments provide. Instructors will focus on each step in an outcome-based budget process, highlighting effective strategies of how each was implemented in local government. In addition, attendees will be provided worksheets and templates that assist in the preparation of outcome-based budgets.

 

Seminar Objectives

 

Participants will learn both practical skills necessary to prepare and manage an outcome-based budget along with effective strategies for implementing an outcome-based budget in their community. Specific skills and strategies include:

  • Identify the major steps in an outcome-based budget process
  • Learn about key activities governments can take on to prepare for an outcome-based budget process
  • Develop skills for identifying goals and performance measures, defining programs, setting service levels
  • Gain experience in preparing an outcome-based budget through case study examples and exercises
  • Understand common challenges faced by governments implementing an outcome-based budget and identify ways of overcoming them

 
Recommended Reading


Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

 

Practitioner’s Guide to Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO)
Group-live course
Prerequisites: What is BFO?
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 8
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
This course is designed for budget managers, analysts, and other finance staff members who are responsible for managing their organization’s budget process and others looking to participate in a budgeting for outcomes process. Attendees will receive practical tips from experts who have successfully implemented budgeting for outcomes.

Program
This course will provide practical advice for overcoming common challenges in implementing budgeting for outcomes. From structuring the process, to selecting staff for results teams, to having departments submit quality offers/proposals, to working with elected officials and the public instructors will share their success stories, strategies, and secrets for succeeding at implementing BFO.

Specific topics that will be covered include:
  • How to incorporate public participation
  • How to involve key stakeholders in the process
  • How to work with departments to get good offers aligned with the public’s priorities
  • How to incorporate performance measures into BFO
  • How to present the budget
  • How to customize the BFO process to fit your organization’s culture and resources

Seminar Objectives
  • Understand each step in successfully implementing budgeting for outcomes
  • Learn how to build effective results teams
  • Take away strategies for overcoming challenges in implementing BFO

Recommended Reading
  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Preparing a Long-Term Capital Plan and Budget
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (both days)
View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
This seminar is designed for individuals who are directly involved with preparing a jurisdiction’s capital improvement plan or capital budget. It will cover GFOA best practices in identifying and communicating capital needs, developing a long-term capital plan, prioritizing projects, and preparing and monitoring a capital budget.
 
Program
Managing an effective capital planning program is essential to the long-term financial health of any organization. This session will focus on the finance or budget officer’s role in the overall capital planning and budgeting process. Governments face many challenges in infrastructure and asset management, and meeting those challenges requires finance officers to coordinate capital planning with other actors inside and outside the organization. This session will provide attendees with the skills and information they need for preparing an effective capital plan, including how to identify needs, determine appropriate service levels, and prioritize projects. Also covered will be strategies for effectively communicating with engineering and operations staff, determining appropriate funding mechanisms, identifying public-private partnership opportunities, facilitating community outreach and participation, and linking capital plans with overall organizational goals, master plans, and community priorities.
 
Seminar Objectives

  • Identify the finance office’s key responsibilities in an effective capital improvement planning process
  • Learn how to identify capital needs
  • Learn how to communicate with operations staff
  • Analyze approaches to selecting, timing, rating, and prioritizing capital projects
  • Estimate and analyze capital projects
  • Design a capital financing strategy
  • Prepare a capital budget document that is consistent with long-term capital improvement plans
  • Evaluate and monitor capital project expenditures


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Economic Development
  • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 4)
  • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 8)

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790 

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Program Review and Service-Level Alternatives for Budgeting
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None  
Course level: Intermediate   
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm 

View current GFOA training schedule  

Who Will Benefit
Finance directors, budget directors, senior finance and budget staff who are responsible for financial management performance.

 

Program
This intermediate-level course provides methodologies, concepts, tools, and best practice approaches to assessing your financial management performance and functions. Instructors will explain proven practices for enhancing business processes, maximizing existing technology, and strengthening staff, focusing on opportunities to transform your organization in key areas such as transaction processing, decision-support, internal control, and reporting. Attendees will gain information on how to assess, organize, and optimize the organization. This course will present case studies of successful initiatives and provide strategies and tools for conducting an assessment and creating a roadmap for high performance in your organization. Trainers will also discuss what resources are needed for the assessment, the time required, and how to enlist employees to help with the effort. 

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn how to conduct an assessment of your own financial management competencies and functions
  • Learn what benefits can be achieved by assessing your financial management functions
  • Identify opportunities to improve and optimize the finance function
  • Understand best practice approaches to assessing public-sector financial management performance
  • Recognize proper organizational alignment
  • Learn how to review and improve your approach to financial management
  • Identify tools and methodologies used for financial assessments

 

Recommended Reading

  • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 7)
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government


Registration Fees
GFOA member: $370     Nonmember: $550

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Revenue Forecasting and Analysis
Group-live Course
Prerequisites: Budget Analyst Training Academy; Students should have a working knowledge of basic Microsoft Excel techniques.
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE Credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Pacific) (both days)  

View current GFOA training schedule 

Who Will Benefit
This session is designed for budget analysts and other finance staff who are involved in preparing revenue forecasts. Special focus will be on forecasting during challenging fiscal times.

Program
This seminar discusses the process of revenue forecasting as well as practical analytical methods. Instructors will demonstrate how to use Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software as a tool for revenue forecasting and analysis through class exercises that address preparing data, qualitative and quantitative analysis methods, and basic statistics. Recommended practices of GFOA and the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting (NACSLB) are incorporated into this seminar. To facilitate the objectives discussed in this course, participants will apply forecasting techniques on their own laptop computers in individual and group exercises.

Seminar Objectives

  • Those who successfully complete this seminar should be able to:
  • Define best practices in revenue forecasting
  • Forecast revenues using qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Prepare data for quantitative analysis (deflating, differencing, smoothing, normalizing)
  • Define fundamentals of regression analysis and being a “smart consumer” of regression output
  • Identify historic revenue patternsIdentify influence factors that affect revenue patterns
  • Choose and apply the appropriate forecasting method
  • Determine the accuracy of the forecast
  • Perform monitoring of actual revenues relative to the forecast
  • Determine appropriate forecast revisions at regular intervals


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide to Revenue Forecasting
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 2)


Registration:

$580 Active/Associate Member; $790 Nonmember

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What is Budgeting for Outcomes?
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time:  2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit

This internet course is designed for finance and budget staff, along with staff from other departments interested in learning the basics of budgeting for outcomes (BFO). Budgeting for outcomes is an approach to budgeting that focuses on a transparent decision-making process to address community needs and deliver results.

Program

Budgeting for outcomes is a proven approach to addressing budget challenges. This session will discuss how budgeting for outcomes is different than traditional budgeting and highlight examples from governments that have used budgeting for outcomes to cut costs and improve results. Speakers will go through each step of the budgeting for outcomes process and explain the key elements that make it work.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn the difference between budgeting for outcomes and traditional budgeting
  • Understand the key steps in a budgeting for outcomes process
  • Identify key strategies for moving to implementing budgeting for outcomes

Recommended Reading
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

Cash Management and Investing

Advanced Public Investing

Group-live course
Prerequisites: Investing Public Funds
Course level: Advanced   
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule      

Who Will Benefit
State and local government treasurers, investment officers, and other finance officers and their staff who are involved with the investment of public funds and investment oversight.

Program
Advanced Public Investing will provide participants a solid understanding of complex investment concepts that pertain to risk, return, portfolio strategies, and security analysis. This is an advanced course and participants will be expected to have a solid foundation in fixed-income securities and their various characteristics, investment economics, and passive and active investment strategies. It is strongly recommended that participants attend the GFOA Investing Public Funds seminar before attending this Advanced Public Investing seminar.

Topics Covered

  • Risk concepts and metrics
  • Measures of return
  • Benchmarking portfolio performance
  • Active portfolio management strategies
  • Electronic tools for portfolio management
  • Best Practices on:
    • Creating an Investment Policy
    • Diversification of Investments in a Portfolio
    • Establishing a Policy for Repurchase Agreements
    • Adopting Policies for the Frequency of Purchased Securities Valuation in Repurchase Agreements
    • Government Relationships with Securities Dealers
    • Investment of Bond Proceeds
    • Managing Market Risk in Investment Portfolios
    • Mark-to-Market Reporting Practices for State and Local Government Investment Portfolios
    • Selection and Ongoing Review of Investment Advisers for Non-Pension Fund Investment Portfolios
  • Advisories on:
    • Establishing a Policy for Reverse Repurchase Agreements
    • Securities Lending Programs for Non-Pension Fund Portfolios
    • Use of Derivatives by State and Local Governments for Cash Operating and Reserve Portfolios
    • Using Commercial Paper in Non-Pension Fund Investment Portfolios
    • Use of Derivatives and Structured Investments by State and Local Governments for Non-Pension Fund Investment Portfolios


Seminar Objectives

 

Those who successfully complete the seminar should be able to:

  • Identify and use important risk concepts and metrics
  • Calculate measures of return
  • Use portfolio benchmarks to make and evaluate investment decisions
  • Determine which active portfolio strategy is appropriate in various interest rate scenarios
  • Perform options-adjusted spread analysis
  • Use electronic tools for portfolio management
  • Apply principles learned in the course in a simulation exercise that constructs a portfolio based on given market information

Recommended Reading
  • Investing Public Funds (second edition)
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Investing (second edition)
  • GFOA’s best practices and advisories on Treasury and Investment Management (www.gfoa.org)

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580 Nonmember $790

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Basics of Investing Public Funds
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

Who Will Benefit
Public-sector financial managers and staff who are new to public-sector investment.

Program
Participants will learn basic tools and techniques for effectively managing short-term investment portfolios. The latest investment strategies and instruments will be highlighted, including an overview of how GFOA Treasury and Investment Management best practices should be applied as part of your jurisdiction’s portfolio approach. Attendees will learn about creating an investment policy, managing market risk in portfolios, assessing and reporting performance, government relationships with securities dealers, and how to select a financial advisor.

Seminar Objectives
  • Understand money markets and interest rates
  • Evaluate and adopt sound investment policies
  • Assess and use an array of investment instruments
  • Determine your jurisdiction’s  investment horizon
  • Evaluate and use external money managers
  • Develop and exercise short-term strategies
  • Track and report on investments and investment earnings
  • Implement performance benchmarks

Recommended Reading

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580 Nonmember $790

 

Preparing or Updating Your Investment Policy
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Government staff who are responsible for establishing treasury and investment policies for their organizations.


Program Overview
Public-sector investment objectives focus on safety, liquidity, and yield. Investment policies describe the portfolio management strategies that organizations should use to meet the objectives responsibly. This webinar will focus on the components of a good investment policy. Speakers will also discuss an approach for assembling a policy or updating an existing investment policy. Particular emphasis will be placed on designing policies that can react to changing economies and liquidity demands.


Seminar Objectives

  • Understand GFOA’s best practice components of an investment policy
  • Learn an approach for assembling or updating a public-sector investment policy
  • Develop a process for continuous review of the policy


Recommended Reading

  • Financial Policies
  • Investing Public Funds (second edition)

Go to www.gfoa.org and click on the “Best Practices and Advisories” link to access the following document:

  • GFOA Best Practice: Creating an Investment Policy


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Tools for Preparing a Cash Forecast
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Government staff who are responsible for preparing cash forecasts or monitoring cash positions for their organizations.

 

Program Overview
Cash flow forecasting can determine what dollar amount of an investment portfolio needs to remain liquid to meet disbursement obligations. This course is designed to provide an overview of GFOA’s best practice for cash forecasting followed by a description of potential tools and methods that can be used to carry out the practice. Speakers will present a case study for gathering cash forecasting data and reporting cash position. The case study will highlight the tools that were used to complete the forecast and how the tools can be applied within your organization.

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand GFOA’s best practice on cash forecasts
  • Learn techniques for conducting cash forecasts
  • Learn ways to utilize cash forecasting tools within your organization


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Investing (second edition)

Go to www.gfoa.org and click on the “Best Practices and Advisories” link to access the following document:


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Treasury Management and Banking Relations
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule

   
Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for state and local government finance directors, treasurers, cash managers, and other finance officers responsible for the treasury management function.

Program
This seminar introduces fundamental cash management strategies and techniques for governments. It covers the important elements of cash collection, disbursement, and reporting. Participants will learn the latest in cash management procedures, policies, and technology. The seminar will also provide tips for getting the most out of your banking relationship and show how to use the RFP process to get better services from your bank and minimize the cost to the government.

Seminar Objectives
  • Learn the fundamentals of public treasury management
  • Optimize cash collections and disbursements
  • Strengthen internal controls and deter check fraud
  • Learn how to start and use ACH and EFT services
  • Construct cash flow forecasts
  • Develop and manage banking relationships
  • Evaluate methods of paying for banking services
  • Manage deposits for safety and security
  • Develop an RFP for banking services
  • Learn about and evaluate the newest treasury technology and banking services

Recommended Reading
  • Banking Services: A Guide for Governments
  • Treasury Management Newsletter— GFOA’s monthly subscription newsletter

 

GFOA’s Treasury and Investment Management best practices and advisories

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580      Nonmember: $790

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Debt Management

Credit Ratings: What The Rating Agencies Look For?

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Basic
CPE Credits: 2

Time: 2:00-4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Finance staff, new chief financial officers, and those who are responsible for their entity’s debt management.

Program
It is essential that the finance office understand the credit rating process. This session will discuss the relationship between issuers and rating agencies and give tips on making the best rating agency presentations. The session will also discuss the use of credit enhancements.

Seminar Objectives

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the various debt instruments available to state and local governments
  • Develop effective policy guidelines for debt management
  • Bring awareness to using and hiring outside finance professionals
  • Understand issuer disclosure responsibilities 
  • Get the most out of rating agency presentations


Recommended Reading

  • Benchmarking and Measuring Debt Capacity (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 1)
  • Debt Issuance and Management: A Guide for Smaller Governments
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Debt Issuance(second edition)
  • A Guide for Preparing a Debt Policy
  • Tax-Exempt Financing: A Primer (revised edition)

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Essentials of Debt Finance Management
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
This course is designed for public-sector finance officers needing to incorporate best practices in their debt management program.

Program Overview
This course will focus on the basic tools finance officers need in managing their obligations. The course will emphasize GFOA best practices and advisories that have been developed to help governments make appropriate decisions about their debt issuance and management practices and procedures, and to be in compliance with the constantly evolving rules and regulations that govern the municipal securities market.

Numerous GFOA best practices will be highlighted in a variety of areas, including: the importance of aligning debt with the details of the government’s capital improvement plan; developing a debt policy; selecting finance professionals; choosing the right debt instruments; choosing competitive versus negotiated method of sale; need for caution related to derivatives and some taxable bonds; understanding issuer disclosure and post issuance compliance responsibilities; and a review of when a refunding opportunity may be right for your government. Each of these important topics will use the GFOA’s best practices, advisories, and checklists, which are designed to give finance officers a better understanding of the unique requirements of debt management and tax and securities law requirements.

Seminar Objectives
    • Develop a thorough understanding of the debt instruments available to state and local governments, including refundings
    • Understand post issuance compliance responsibilities, including arbitrage rebate
  • Develop effective policies and procedures for the government’s debt management
  • Understand the issuer’s disclosure responsibilities
  • Importance of robust rating agency presentations

Recommended Reading
  • GFOA’s Debt Management Best Practices and Advisories
  • Debt Issuance and Management: A Guide for Smaller Governments
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Debt Issuance, second edition
  • A Guide for Preparing a Debt Policy
  • Tax-Exempt Financing: A Primer, revised edition
  • Benchmarking and Measuring Debt Capacity (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 1)

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580      Nonmember: $790

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Fundamentals of Debt Series
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic 
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
Finance staff, new chief financial officers, and those who are responsible for their entity’s debt management.

 

Program Overview
Participants will be provided with information about the municipal bond market and the issues that they need to be aware of when issuing debt and managing their jurisdiction’s debt management program.

 

Introduction to Debt – July 9, 2014 – NEW

  • This session will provide an overview of the basic issues finance officers need to address when considering whether to issue debt and ongoing management of the debt issuance. The role of the finance officer, including the responsibilities to manage outside professionals, will be discussed. GFOA’s Best Practices will be highlighted, as well as how to develop appropriate debt management program policies and procedures.

 

The Issuer’s Disclosure Responsibilities – September 24, 2014 – REPEAT OFFERING

  • Issuers are accountable for providing numerous disclosures to the public and investors related to their bond transaction. This session will cover the information issuers need to provide to the market when they prepare the official statement and issue debt, as well as the ongoing continuing disclosure responsibilities that must be undertaken for the lifetime of the bond. The webinar will review GFOA’s Best Practices on these issues, recent SEC activities in this area, and information about the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal market Access (EMMA) system – where all disclosure documents must be submitted.

 

Credit Ratings and Credit Enhancements – January 14, 2015 – REPEAT OFFERING

  • It is essential for members of a government’s finance office to be aware of the credit rating process and have a clear understanding of the criteria used when an agency produces a rating for your entity. This course will discuss the relationship between issuers and rating agencies, an overview of the criteria used to determine a credit rating, and tips on making the best rating agency presentations. The course will also include the use of credit enhancements, including letters of credit and bond insurance.

 

Types of Debt Instruments and Understanding Refundings – April 22, 2015 – REPEAT OFFERING

  • An overview of the types of debt instruments available (tax-exempt/taxable; fixed/variable rate), pledging responsibilities, IRS regulations, and the use of market data will be addressed. Additionally, the course will review the opportunities for refunding, and how to determine when refunding makes the most economic sense for your entity.


Seminar Objectives:

  • Understand the debt financing options available to governments
  • Overview of the responsibilities the government must undertake when issuing debt, including those after the bonds are sold
  • Discuss how to develop appropriate debt management procedures
  • Understand the roles of outside professionals in a bond transaction
  • Provide a roadmap to GFOA’s Debt Management Best Practices
  • Provide a general overview of the debt market and the components that should comprise your debt management program
  • Help governments understand best practices in various segments of debt management
  • Review the roles and responsibilities of internal and external staffs
  • Understand issuer disclosure responsibilities
  • Recognize the criteria used by rating agencies and how to develop appropriate presentations


Recommended Reading

  • GFOA Best Practices and Advisories on Debt Issues, including the document, Small Government/New Issuer –
  • Debt Issuance Checklist: Considerations When Issuing Bonds and GFOA Best Practice, Governmental Debt Management (Go to www.gfoa.org and click on the “Best Practices and Advisories” link.)
  • Debt Issuance and Management: A Guide for Smaller Governments
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Debt Issuance, second edition
  • A Guide for Preparing a Debt Policy
  • Tax-Exempt Financing: A Primer, revised edition

 

Registration Fees (Per Training) - GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

 

 


                                                                        

Using Derivatives in Managing Liabilities and Assets

Group-live course

Prerequisite: Planning and Sale of Municipal Bonds

Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

View current GFOA training schedule

     

Who Will Benefit

The use of derivative products is becoming more prevalent in state and local government debt and risk management programs. Derivatives may take the form of interest rate swaps, options on swaps, and other hedging mechanisms such as caps, floors, collars, and rate locks. Each carries its own set of risks, and the potential for saving money. Derivative products can be an important interest rate management tool, and when used properly can increase a governmental entity’s financial flexibility, provide opportunities for interest rate savings, alter the pattern of debt service payments, create variable rate exposure, and limit or hedge variable rate payments.

 

Program

The purpose of this course is to educate governmental issuers on the risks and potential benefits of derivative products, providing the tools and framework to properly evaluate them as a financing tool, and identifying situations when derivatives can be used.

 

Seminar Objectives

The seminar will cover all of the following topics:

  • The types of derivative products that may be used or prohibited
  • The legal, accounting, credit, and disclosure issues
  • The methods for measuring, evaluating, monitoring, and managing the different risks associated with these products (such as basis, tax, interest rate, and credit, risks).

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Management and Policy

Advanced Tools: Long-Term Financial Planning

Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
This seminar is designed for finance officers and financial analysts. There is no prerequisite for this seminar.

Program
Worsening economic conditions and economic pressure have led governments to long-term financial planning as a tool for determining the magnitude of fiscal challenges and devising strategies to provide a sustainable level of public services. Participants will be exposed to practical analytical methods for communicating the importance of financial planning with elected officials, the public, and staff; conducting expenditure and revenue forecasting; developing a long-term financial plan; and implementing and monitoring the plan for success.

Seminar Objectives
Through presentations, discussions, case studies, practical exercises, and sample documents, participants will gain an understanding of:
  • How to design a planning process that fits the particular needs of their government
  • How to involve participants from outside the finance function in order to develop a plan with a broad base of support
  • How to use various tools and techniques for high-quality financial forecasting and analysis
  • How to execute a financial plan and achieve results
 
Recommended Reading
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • An Elected Official's Guide: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 7)
  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 2)

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790  

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Alternative Service Delivery

Group-live course
Prerequisites: None

Course level: Intermediate

CPE credits: 8

Time: 1 day, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

View current GFOA training schedule  


Who Will Benefit

This one-day intermediate-level seminar is intended for finance officers and public managers involved in analyzing and implementing the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver services.


Program

Is your local government providing its services in the best and most cost effective way? Increased scrutiny on how governments allocate scarce budget resources and heightened citizen demands for services require governments to carefully evaluate the services they provide and determine the best method for delivering them to constituents.

 

This seminar provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of alternative service delivery; determining which services are best suited for this approach; and evaluating the effectiveness and benefits of alternative service delivery methods.


Seminar Objectives

  • Identification of services and considerations for alternative service delivery
  • Developing a comprehensive alternative service delivery strategy
  • Analyzing cost and quality
  • Designing a process for alternative service delivery through outsourcing or managed competition
  • Using cost information in service provider decisions


Recommended Reading

Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 6)


GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550 

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Assessing and Mitigating Risk in Economic Development Projects
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Advanced   
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

Who Will Benefit 
Finance directors or other finance officers involved in economic development activities


Program
Many economic development projects carry a certain degree of risk, and in fact, the existence of such risk is what sometimes prompts government incentive to carry them forward.  For the finance officer involved in evaluating economic development proposals and projects, it is important to understand what those risks are and how they might affect results.  Feasibility studies, for example, should include an analysis of risk and uncertainty.


This course will explore the assessment of risk and uncertainty from a practitioner’s perspective, focusing on areas of analysis, tools, and resources needed to conduct a thorough assessment.  Participants will receive hands-on experience using the various tools.  Instructors will also lead discussions on the use of outside consultants, effective communications, and available resources to evaluate economic development assumptions.


Seminar Objectives

  • Understand the risk areas of economic development  projects
  • Understand how to assess the impact of risks on economic development projects
  • Learn how to use various analysis tools and resources to assess risk
  • Understand where outside resources can be effective in assessing risk
  • Learn methods of communicating risk and impact analysis to stakeholders


Recommended Reading


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Best Practices in Performance Management
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)
View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit:
This course is designed for public-sector managers who wish to take advantage of performance management as a tool for improving results, driving increased efficiencies, and managing financial and human capital resources throughout the organization. Focus will be on tactics and best practices involved with successful performance management implementations from state and local government.

Program:
This program will focus on best practices examples and techniques making use of performance management principles in planning, budgeting, management, and reporting and evaluation. Instructors will cover best practices for developing performance measures and communicating performance management information through reports, websites, and other media, ensuring that the information can be understood and used effectively. The course will follow recommendations from the National Performance Management Advisory Commission.

Seminar Objectives:
  • Learn how to manage a performance management system, including a focus on outcomes at all levels of the organization
  • Learn tips and effective strategies for applying performance management principles to major governmental processes. This includes developing strategic plans that establish organizational priorities, managing a priority-based budget process, linking funding to results, developing performance measures at different levels in the organization, understanding how different measures serve different purposes, learning how organizations have adopted common performance management systems (stat systems, balanced scorecard, etc.) to improve results, and identifying techniques for motivating employees through performance management
  • Learn reporting and evaluation techniques for effectively communicating performance information
  • Understand how evaluation can be used to understand what factors impact achievement of results
 
Recommended Reading
  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580                   Nonmember $790

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Assessing and Mitigating Risk in Economic Development Projects

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None       
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit:

This session is designed for finance officers and other managers within local government engaged in economic development activities for their jurisdiction. The session will communicate GFOA’s best practices for properly analyzing, understanding, and mitigating risk with economic development agreements.

Program:

While creating opportunities that can deliver benefits to the government and community, economic development projects also have the potential to carry substantial risk and uncertainty. It is important to know how risk and uncertainty could affect expected results from the project, and to identify the potential impacts on the government. To provide key information to decide whether or not the project should proceed and assist in negotiations on the project, governments need to analyze risk and areas of uncertainty such as:

  • Risk and uncertainty associated with the market the project is attempting to capture
  • Risk and uncertainty of government revenues from the project
  • Risk and uncertainty that the project will be completed or built when or as anticipated
  • Risk that other expected outcomes may not occur as anticipated and that governmental goals will not be achieved 
  • Risk associated with a government’s ability to carry out its responsibilities with regard to an economic development program or project.


Seminar Objectives
This session will provide best practice recommendations and strategies for assessing and understanding risks associated with economic development agreements. Participants will be able to:

  • Understand types of risks involved in economic development projects
  • Learn how to properly assess risk and uncertainty to aid in decision making
  • Identify possible strategies for limiting the government’s risk exposure
  • Discover the role of the finance officer in monitoring economic development agreements.


Recommended Reading

  • GFOA Best Practice: Assessing Risk and Uncertainty in Economic Development Projects (2011)(Committee on Economic Development and Capital Planning)
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Economic Development

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Building and Renewing Financial Policies

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for state and local government finance directors, budget directors, budget staff, and chief executive/administrative officers and others responsible for long-range planning.

 

Program Overview
Financial policies are the cornerstone of a financially healthy government because they establish and clarify the intent for how the organization will manage its finances. Therefore, every government should formally adopt a set of financial policies as part of its approach to financial planning and budgeting. This session will discuss the most critical policy elements, how to develop and implement them, and how to keep policies fresh over time and make sure they are used consistently in decision making.


Seminar Objectives
Attendees will learn:

  • The most critical policy elements
  • How to develop policies in a way that creates buy-in
  • How to keep policies relevant to decision making 

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Case-Focused LEAN Studies
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for all public servants that are interested in starting the Lean journey.


Program Overview
Leading governments across North America are investigating the use of Lean process improvement in order to provide better services to citizens and to provide the best value to taxpayers. This webinar will present case studies of governments who have realized a successful beginning to their own Lean journeys and offer lessons learned to webinar participants on the benefits of Lean, the potential drawbacks and challenges, and how to get your Lean journey off to a great start.


Seminar Objectives

  • Why government organizations choose to pursue Lean
  • The benefits that can accrue from Lean
  • Drawbacks and challenges you might expect to encounter and how to address them
  • Key things needed to get your Lean journey going in the right direction


Recommended Reading

  • June 2013 issue of Government Finance Review


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Communicating Capital Needs
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit:
This course is designed for finance officers, budget managers, and analysts responsible for their organization’s capital improvement program.  Identifying and funding capital projects requires the finance officer to understand capital needs and be able to communicate them to a variety of stakeholders. This course will provide practical ideas and tips for creating an effective communication strategy.

Program:
Public participation during the planning, design, and construction of capital projects is extremely important. Both large and small projects will require and benefit from public involvement and knowledge.  Developing a process to involve the public during project planning is a key step in determining if the project will meet service-level goals and community expectations.  It also will allow the government to effectively communicate capital needs. Active participation will also help avoid public outcry after completion and can work to create citizen advocates for the project. This course will provide strategies for developing and implementing plans for communicating capital needs to all stakeholders.

Specific topics that will be addressed include:
  • How to engage key stakeholders in the process
  • How to work with engineers and other subject matter experts to understand capital needs (not capital wants)
  • How to effectively develop financing strategies to meet capital needs
  • How to communicate capital needs and proposed financing methods to elected officials
  • How to develop effective communication strategies for the public

Seminar Objectives
  • Understand how to create an effective communication strategy for gaining support for the capital program
  • How to solicit effective public participation for the capital program

Recommended Reading
  • Preparing High Quality Budget Documents
  • Capital Project Planning and Evaluation: Expanding the Role of the Finance Officer
  • Priority-Setting Models for Public Budgeting

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580 Nonmember $790

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Communicating Performance Information

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule       

Who Will Benefit:

This session is designed for finance, budget, and other government staff looking to report performance information effectively.

Program:

Not all performance measures are created equal. To be effective with performance management, organizations must develop measures that provide the right information to the right people. This session will present different approaches for developing performance measures for all departments that provide relevant, timely, accurate, and useful information to department managers, executives, elected officials, and the public. Specific topics to be addressed include:

  • What does the public want to know?
  • What information do decision makers need?
  • What is the most effective way to communicate performance information?


Seminar Objectives

  • Understand the different needs of each audience that views performance information
  • Learn how to develop strategies for effective communication with departments, elected officials, and the public
  • Learn successful best practice examples that can be implemented in governments of all types and sizes


Recommended Reading

  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Concepts of Performance Management

Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule   

 

Who Will Benefit:

Government staff who are currently involved with helping to define goals, set performance measures, track results, monitor progress, make decisions or are otherwise responsible for some aspect of an organization’s performance measurement and management efforts. This class will focus on the importance of performance measurement as part of a larger performance management approach.

 

Program:

This introductory-level course provides the fundamentals of governmental performance measurement and management processes. Course material is presented with the goal of preparing budget department and operating department staff and others with the necessary information to carry out their responsibilities in a performance-based environment. This session will focus on performance measurement and analysis as part of an integrated approach to performance management that includes planning, goal setting, budgeting, decision making, evaluation, and reporting.

 

Specific topics that will be addressed include:

  • Why performance management is critical for governments
  • Key stakeholders for performance management
  • How performance management is used within government processes for: 
    • Planning    
      • How to define goals and targets
      • Use of logic models to link results, activities, and measures
    • Performance Budgeting
      • Linking performance information to funding
    • Operations
      • Data analysis 
      • Using performance measures to inform decision making
    • Reporting
      • Effective methods for communicating data

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Develop the case for performance management
  • Understand strategies to help organizations develop goals, set measures, track results, and make data-informed decisions
  • Learn how performance management can improve the budget process
  • Understand the role analysts play in a performance management system
  • Develop necessary tools to analyze and communicate performance measurement data that contributes to management decisions

 

Recommended Reading

  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving


Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580   Nonmember: $790

 

Costing Government Services
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
View current GFOA training schedule   

Who Will Benefit
This one-day intermediate-level seminar is intended for finance officers and public managers involved in analyzing and evaluating program efficiencies and implementing new ways to structure and deliver services.

Program
Government finance officers and public managers are increasingly pressured to cut costs through improved efficiency. Cost analysis is an important tool for understanding what goes into providing a service and can be used to help identify areas for improvement. This seminar presents fundamental concepts and practices in service costing as well as leading-edge topics such as the applicability of activity-based costing and costing technology in government agencies.

Seminar Objectives
Those who successfully complete this seminar should be able to:
  • Define fundamental cost accounting concepts
  • Determine reasons and uses for cost accounting
  • Understand cost types and how they are calculated
  • Define cost objectives and what is being measured
  • Identify and calculate time and cost behavior
  • Identify how costing fits into performance management system
  • Define government uses for activity-based costing
  • Apply concepts of activity-based costing techniques
  • Integrate service costing and financial planning
  • Design costing capabilities in financial systems

Recommended Reading
Cost Analysis and Activity-Based Costing for Government (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 6)

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550                                       

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Economic Development for Finance Officers
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate   
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule   

Who Will Benefit
This seminar is designed for finance directors, assistant finance directors, and other financial staff who work on or will work on economic development projects.

 

Program
Given that increasing the tax base and attracting jobs are high priorities for most local governments, finance officers need to speak the language of economic development. Even though most government finance professionals are not trained in this area, they are frequently being called upon to evaluate economic development projects. This seminar will provide finance officers with the basic knowledge and skills they need to effectively participate in economic development activities. Case studies and group discussion will be used throughout the course.  

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand the role of the finance officer in economic development best practice as recommended by the GFOA Committee on Economic Development and Capital Planning
  • Identify common economic development tools and incentives used by local governments
  • Identify various participants in economic development and understand their roles
  • Evaluate strategies for basic economic development and impacts of subsidies
  • Assess financial and risk aspects of incentives
  • Analyze term sheets and development agreements 
  • Evaluate pro formas
  • Measure and monitor economic development projects
  • Examine accountability and strategy issues

 

Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Economic Development


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Developing and Implementing Financial Policies
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit: Public managers who want to develop an understanding between elected officials and staff on the standards of financial stewardship that the organization will adhere to.

Program Overview: In changing times, financial policies provide a touchstone for management decision making and operations. They clarify governing body intent and create a shared understanding between officials and staff of financial direction and of how finances will be managed.  The course will identify key topics every government needs to address in their policies and prepare attendees to lead the development of financial policies in their own organizations. Case studies of policy implementation and examples of how governments monitor policies for compliance will also be presented. 

Seminar Objectives

  • Insight on the most important types of financial policies to have and what the key elements are
  • The development of policies in a collaborative manner so that policies will be thoroughly understood


Recommended Reading

  • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation (GFOA Budgeting Series, Vol. 7)

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Financial Planning: The 8 Characteristics of Fiscal Resiliency

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None       
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for state and local government finance directors, budget directors, budget staff, and chief executive/administrative officers and others responsible for long range planning.

Program
The concept of “financial sustainability” has captured the attention of local government leaders. However, sustainability is a necessary but insufficient condition to ensure the ongoing financial health of local government. A sustainable system is balanced, but an external shock can unbalance the system and perhaps even collapse it. Local governments will continue to face serious challenges from outside, including but not limited to economic adjustments, natural disasters, and important policy changes by other levels of government. As such, finance officers must strive to help their organizations go beyond sustainability to a system that is adaptable and regenerative – in a word: resilient. This seminar will review the characteristics of a financially resilient system and policies and strategies finance officers can pursue to move towards resiliency.


Seminar Learning Objectives
Attendees will learn:

  • The eight characteristics of a resilient government
  • Policies the governing board can adopt to promote resiliency
  • Strategies for supporting  resiliency

 

Recommended Reading

  • GFOA Whitepaper “Building a Financially Resilient Government through Long-Term Financial Planning”

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Financial Recovery: A 12-Step Process for Regaining Financial Health

Group Internet-based course

Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)  

View current GFOA training schedule 

Who Will Benefit
Finance Officers and Financial Analysts


Program Overview
Declining revenues and increasing expenditures are putting many local governments in a hard spot. The GFOA has designed a 12-step process for recovering from financial distress that aims to not only help governments arrest the decline, but to ultimately achieve a stronger, more resilient financial condition than when they started. This session will cover key concepts from the GFOA’s financial recovery website, such as building a recovery team, strategies for recovering from distress, and leading and managing the recovery process. The session will also feature practitioners who have experienced financial distress in their own organizations and what they learned.

 

Seminar Objectives
To cover key concepts from the GFOA’s financial recovery website, such as:

  • Building a recovery team;
  • Short-term retrenchment tactics;
  • Longer-term strategies for recovering from distress; and
  • Leading and managing the recovery process.

Recommended Reading

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Financial Resiliency Bootcamp
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Public managers who wish to bring a long-term perspective to financial management in their organization and by so doing make their organization more adaptable to changing conditions and regenerate in the face of setbacks.

Program
The Great Recession has shown that a financially balanced organization is still vulnerable. An external shock (like a severe economic downturn) can unbalance the organization's financial position or even severely damage it. Local governments will continue to face serious challenges such as economic adjustments, natural disasters, and important policy changes by other levels of government. Finance officers must strive to help their organizations go beyond sustainability to a system that is adaptable and regenerative ― in a word: resilient. This session will cover practical and proven techniques for long-term financial planning and budgeting that will help reach a more resilient organization.

Seminar Objectives

 

Participants will learn

  • Long-term planning techniques to gain better foresight into the future
  • Methods for getting all members of the organization engaged in financial management 
  • Strategies for institutionalizing long-term thinking
  • Budgeting techniques for focusing the organization on how to get the most from what is available.


Recommended Reading

  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Financial Recovery and Financial Resiliency Webinar Series

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2 for each course
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)   

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Finance Officers and Financial Analysts

Program
Health-care costs have been escalating rapidly and have presented a real challenge to balancing budgets. This inflation eats into governments’ ability to provide public services, making cost containment essential. Tactics like increasing employee health-care contributions are an important part of dealing with this challenge, but are not the whole answer. A comprehensive strategy of shorter-term mitigations and long-term strategies is needed. This session will focus on fundamental and innovative strategies for containing health-care costs as well as strategies for forecasting and budgeting for health care.

Seminar Objectives
To describe:

  • Fundamental and innovative strategies for containing health-care costs
  • Strategies for forecasting and budgeting for health care


Recommended Reading


Registration fee per course:
GFOA member: $85     Nonmember: $160

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Fiscal First Aid: Achieving Financial Sustainability

Group-live course
No prerequisite
Course level: Basic
CPE Credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
This seminar is designed for finance officers and financial analysts.
There is no prerequisite for this seminar, which is intended to be introductory.

Program
In the face of declining economic conditions and fiscal pressure, many governments are facing pressing financial challenges that must be addressed as prerequisite to long-term service and financial sustainability. Fiscal first aid restores financial stability in the short term and sets the stage for long-term recovery. Participants in this course will be exposed to practical techniques for diagnosing and treating fiscal distress, including using recommended fiscal first aid treatments, spending within your means, understanding variance, and being transparent about the true cost of doing business. Participants will also learn how to better analyze financial position, communicate effectively about fiscal distress with elected officials and the public, and turn short-term fixes into long-term solutions for their governments.

Learning Objectives
Through presentations, discussions, case studies, and practical exercises, participants who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Identify symptoms and causes of fiscal distress
  • Better diagnose and analyze the underlying causes of fiscal distress in their jurisdictions before rushing to treatment
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of various fiscal first aid techniques
  • Determine which fiscal first aid techniques are most appropriate under given circumstances
  • Complete more accurate forecasts and better monitor fiscal health
  • Communicate more effectively about fiscal distress with elected officials and other stakeholders
  • Develop a short-term recovery plan


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official's Guide: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Financial Policies: Design and Implementation
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Revenue Analysis and Forecasting


Web Resources
www.gfoa.org/fiscalfirstaid

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580; Nonmember: $790

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Fundamentals of Performance Management
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule
 
Who Will Benefit:
Government staff who are currently involved with helping to define goals, set performance measures, track results, monitor progress, make decisions or are otherwise responsible for some aspect of an organization’s performance measurement and management efforts. This class will focus on the importance of performance measurement as part of a larger performance management approach.
 
Program:
This introductory-level course provides the fundamentals of governmental performance measurement and management processes. Course material is presented with the goal of preparing budget department and operating department staff and others with the necessary information to carry out their responsibilities in a performance-based environment. This session will focus on performance measurement and analysis as part of an integrated approach to performance management that includes planning, goal setting, budgeting, decision making, evaluation, and reporting.
 
Specific topics that will be addressed include:

  • Why performance management is critical for governments
  • Key stakeholders in the process
  • How to use performance management for: 
    • Planning (defining goals and targets; using logic models to link results, activities, and measures)    
    • Performance budgeting (linking performance information to funding)
    • Operations (data analysis; using performance measures to inform decision making)
    • Reporting (effective methods for communicating data)


Seminar Objectives

  • Develop the case for performance management
  • Understand strategies to help organizations develop goals, set measures, track results, and make data-informed decisions
  • Learn how performance management can improve the budget process
  • Understand the role analysts play in a performance management system
  • Develop necessary tools to analyze and communicate performance measurement data that assists management decision making


Recommended Reading

  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

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Gaining Acceptance of Long-term Financial Planning

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule       

Program
Thinking about the long term can be challenging when there are immediate financial pressures, uncertain forecasts, and limited tenures of office. Elected officials, public managers, and members of the public all have interests that encourage a focus on the short term. However, the only way to solve the complex problems facing communities and for local governments to create sustained value for the public over time is to take a long-term perspective. This session will explore how finance officers can encourage initial and continued commitment to long-term strategies for financial health.

Seminar Objectives
To explore:

  • How finance officers can encourage initial buy-in to long-term strategies for financial health;
  • Strategies for maintaining commitment when the implementation gets rough; and
  • Communication strategies with elected officials.

Recommended Reading

Registration fee per course:
GFOA member: $85     Nonmember: $160

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Hands on With LEAN Process Improvement for the Public Sector
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 16

Time: 2 days, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, both days

View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for all public servants who want the hands-on experience with Lean process improvement methods that will allow them to apply Lean to their organizations’ public service delivery systems.

Program Overview
Governments everywhere face pressure to provide public services better, faster, and cheaper than before. Lean methods have been used by governments of various sizes across North America to successfully meet this imperative.  Lean has particular promise for public-sector organizations because it doesn’t require a lengthy planning and implementation cycle, it does strive to make the best use of the talents and ideas of those who work in the process, and it focuses on the value that public services create for the citizen and how to maximize that value.
 
Seminar Objectives

  • What Lean is, its origins, and its applicability to government
  • How to define the value that a business process produces
  • How to identify and eliminate sources of waste in a business process
  • Knowledge of how to use the most important Lean tools, including hands-on experience


Recommended Reading
None 

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Identifying Financial and Services Strategies for the Future

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for state and local government finance directors, budget directors, budget staff, and chief executive/administrative officers and other finance officers responsible for long-range planning.

 

Program Overview
An integral part of a long-term financial plan is to have strategies that promote structural balance over a multi-year period. Developing strategies, however, is not easy. You need participation from a wide variety of stakeholders to generate buy-in. You also need a process to generate good ideas for strategies. This training will present methods for
developing high quality strategies and for constructively engaging government staff and the public in the process.

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Understanding the three essential ingredients to a good strategy
  • Learning methods for engaging stakeholders in the strategy development process
  • Learning how to develop a good strategy

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Implementing Stat Systems
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern) 

View current GFOA training schedule          

Who Will Benefit
This session is designed for budget managers, finance officers, and others interested in learning more about using performance management to drive accountability and organizational learning to improve outcomes. The focus of this webinar will be on implementing a “stat” style system of performance management.

Program
With a “Stat” system, department heads and representatives meet regularly with executive officials to discuss performance data and develop strategies to improve or sustain the performance of each participating department. Meetings enable department heads, staff, and executive officials to review and analyze measurements of department performance and efficiency. This webinar will discuss lessons learned and effective implementation strategies for getting an organization focused on data.  Speakers will discuss the role of training, the level of resource required, the use of technology, and the importance of executive support and vision. Organizations have implemented “stat” systems in a variety of ways and different case studies will be featured.

Seminar Objectives
This session will provide practical approaches for implementing a stat system in both a large and small government.

  • Identify the purpose of a stat system and common elements of all effective stat systems
  • Learn from other organizations that have  successfully implemented stat systems
  • Develop strategies for overcoming implementation resistance
  • Learn tips and tricks to make a stat system fit your organizational culture and leadership style
  • Identify key prerequisites for a stat system to be effective


Recommended Reading

  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving
  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Innovative Tools for Civic Engagement
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None      
Course Level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
Public-sector organizations and their staff interested in learning innovative ways to engage citizens.


Program Overview
Engaging the modern citizen effectively requires a sophisticated approach. Cultural change, social media technology, and seemingly unlimited access to information have generated a civic environment never seen before. This course will highlight innovative ways governments are engaging their citizens through modern technology. Participants
will learn what technologies are being used as well as how to deploy them. Special emphasis will be placed on how to leverage social media, open data, and citizen apps to reduce local government expenditures, raise public awareness about government services, and improve service delivery. Leading practices in developing a citizen engagement program will be discussed and lessons learned will be highlighted.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn about citizen engagement technologies currently available and how they work.
  • Learn how the public sector can leverage these technologies for the benefit of the constituents.
  • Hear case studies from peer organizations and understand best practices and lessons learned.Learn how to measure the effectiveness of a citizen engagement program.


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Introduction to Business Process Mapping
Group-live course
CPE credits: 8

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for all public servants who want the hands-on experience with Lean process improvement methods.

Program Overview
A central tenet of Lean is to make waste visible. Once waste is made visible it can be eliminated. Process maps are one of the most important tools in Lean for making waste visible, by not only exposing the steps in the process but highlighting bottlenecks, hand-offs of work, and redundant or wholly unnecessary steps. This training will introduce the eight categories of waste that process maps are intended to help find and then will  teach participants to use Lean process mapping tools such as “swim lane“ charts and “spaghetti diagrams” to recognize these forms of waste, and finally will highlight some process improvement techniques that are often used in conjunction with process mapping analysis.

Seminar Objectives

  • The eight categories of waste that Lean seeks to find and eliminate
  • Specific process mapping tools like swim lane charts and spaghetti diagrams
  • Common solutions for improving processes once the processes have been mapped.


Recommended Reading
June 2013 issue of Government Finance Review 

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Lean Government: Better, Faster, Cheaper Public Services

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level:  Intermediate
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit?
Finance Officers and Financial Analysts

Program Description
Lean process improvement has great potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations by identifying and eliminating sources of waste, engaging employees more closely in their work, and putting the focus of work squarely on the customer. Lean process improvement has made a tremendous impact for many private-sector and government organizations. This webinar will provide an introduction to Lean concepts, describe the critical elements of a true Lean government strategy, and provide advice for getting started with Lean.

Webinar Objectives
  • Understand the essential components of a Lean approach
  • Learn how to explain Lean to others
  • Learn how to get started with Lean

 

Recommended Reading
GFOA research report: “Less Time, Lower Cost, and Greater Quality: Making Government Work Better with Lean Process Improvement”

Registration fee per course:
GFOA member: $85     Nonmember: $160

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Intergovernmental Service Sharing

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit:
This session is designed for finance officers and other government managers looking to explore opportunities save costs and improve services through intergovernmental shared services. Participants will listen to best practice and lessons learned from successful shared service examples.

Program:
Increasing fiscal pressure on governments has forced many to look for different solutions to common challenges. One area with the possibility to provide improved services at reduced costs is intergovernmental service sharing (shared services), making it an alternative to privatization or service cuts. There are many potential applications of shared services― from two communities sharing an IT department, to multiple cities joining together for joint purchasing or risk management initiatives. This session will explore potential uses for shared services along with key strategies for preparing for, implementing, and managing shared service agreements. Practitioners will share their experiences and will discuss the process they used to implement their agreements.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn how to identify possible opportunities for shared services
  • Understand the potential benefits and challenges with shared services
  • Understand the role of the finance officer in shared services
  • Identify best practices for developing intergovernmental sharing service agreements
  • Learn from best practice examples of shared services


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Intergovernmental Service Sharing
  • Best Practice: Alternative Service Delivery: Examining the Benefits of Shared Services (2007)
  • Best Practice: Measuring the Cost of Government Service (2002) 


Registration fee per course:
GFOA member: $85     Nonmember: $160

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Introduction to Performance Management

Group-live course
Prerequisites: None

Course level: Basic

CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (both days)

View current GFOA training schedule  

   

Who Will Benefit

Government staff who are currently involved with helping to define goals, set performance measures, track results, monitor progress, make decisions, or are otherwise responsible for some aspect of an organization’s performance measurement and management efforts.  This class will focus on the importance of performance measurement as part of a larger performance management approach.


This introductory-level course provides the fundamentals of governmental performance measurement and management processes. Course material is presented with the goal of preparing budget department and operating department staff and others with the necessary information to carry out their responsibilities in a performance-based environment. This session will focus on performance measurement and analysis as part of an integrated approach to performance management that includes planning, goal setting, budgeting, decision-making, evaluation, and reporting.

 

Specific topics that will be addressed include:

  • The case for performance management
  • Best practices in setting goals and targets
  • Using Logic Models to link goals to actions
  • Budgeting for Outcomes
  • Data analysis using performance indicators
  • The role of an analyst in a performance based environment
  • Effective presentation and communication of data
  • Tips for getting more out of a performance measurement system


The format for this session will include  presentations from leading practitioners, group discussions, and practice sessions.


* All participants are encouraged to bring a laptop computer with Microsoft Excel to participate in data analysis and communication exercises during the practice sessions.

 

Seminar Objectives

  • Develop the case for performance management
  • Understand strategies to help organizations develop goals, set measures, track results, and make data informed decisions
  • Understand the role analysts play in a performance management system
  • Develop necessary tools to analyze and communicate performance measurement data that contributes to management decisions.

Required Reading

Christina Altmayer, "Moving to Performance Based Management," Government Finance Review, 22, no3 (June 2007): 8-14.
Karla Pierce “Nine Habits of Effective Data-Driven Performance Management,” Government Finance Review, 22, no3 (June 2007): 36-40.
(Articles are available at www.gfoa.org/pm/ along with other resource material)

 

Recommended Reading

An Elected Official’s Guide to Performance Measurement
Harry Hatry, Performance Measurement: Getting Results, 2nd Edition, (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 2006)
David Osborne and Peter Hutchinson, The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis, (New York: Basic Books, 2004)

 

Registration Fees

GFOA member:  $580     Nonmember:  $790

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Advanced Performance Management

Group-live course
Prerequisites: Introduction to Performance Management seminar or previous GFOA introductory performance measurement courses recommended but not required. Public-sector professionals with a basic understanding of performance measurement are encouraged to register.

Course level: Advanced
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 Days, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (both days)
View current GFOA training schedule 

   

Who Will Benefit

This course is designed for public sector managers looking to implement, sustain, and/or improve performance management systems. Focus will be on tactics and methods for implementing performance management as part of an integrated system that extends the use of setting strategic goals and using data throughout the organization. Instructors will assume participants have a basic understanding of performance measurement.

 

Program

The use of performance management provides decision makers with data on how well the organization has met established targets and provides a way to empower them to make necessary management decisions to achieve desired results. This course will present strategies and techniques to integrate performance management with strategic planning, long-term financial planning, budgeting, operational management, reporting, and evaluation. Communities of all sizes have benefited from increased accountability, and an increased capacity to use data to learn and improve. For several years, the GFOA has conducted research in this area and course materials will draw from this research with examples and case studies as well as the instructors’ experience as leading practitioners in the field.

 

Seminar Objectives
  • Determine how to create or facilitate the creation of outcome-focused strategic goals for the organization
  • Learn techniques and tips for effectively collecting, analyzing, communicating, and using performance data for budget allocations and decision making
  • Learn practical methods for encouraging participation from citizens and other stakeholders in developing an effective performance management system
  • Examine success factors for sustaining performance management efforts through periods of change

 

Recommended Reading

None

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $580; Nonmember: $790

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Managing the Finance Function

Group-live course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate    
CPE credits: 8

Time: 1 day, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Central)

Who Will Benefit
Administrators newly responsible for managing the finance function, financial managers interested in hearing about new approaches, and individuals who plan to manage the finance function in the future

 

Program
This intermediate-level course is based on GFOA’s research into best practices for managing the public-sector finance function. It will begin by providing information on the objectives, role, and purpose of financial management and the financial manager in the larger organization. With that information as a foundation, other topics to be presented include how to structure or restructure the finance function for optimum results; the role of the finance officer as an organizational leader and member of the organization’s leadership team; motivating and managing finance staff, with special attention to addressing generational change in the workforce; and communicating financial information internally and externally.  The course will also include nuts and bolts management approaches to the areas of internal control and compliance monitoring, risk management, providing financial information and analytic support to the organization, assuring high quality customer service, performance management, and strategic financial planning.


Seminar Objectives

  • Gain a best practice perspective on the purpose and objectives of financial management
  • Take away specific approaches for aligning organizational structure with purpose for better results
  • Learn new ways for conceptualizing and managing nuts and bolts financial activities and services
  • Understand the role of financial management within a performance-based management system
  • Gain leadership and management skills

 

Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Government Finance (second edition) written by Girard Miller, Senior Strategist, PFM Group, Malibu, California, and published by the GFOA in 2008
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving compiled by the National Performance Management Advisory Commission, 2010 (Purchase a hard copy of the report at www.gfoa.org or download a free copy at www.pmcommission.org)
  • “Leadership in the Government Finance Profession: A Texas Perspective,” by Randy Moravic.  Government Finance Review, December 2010

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Performance Management Trends: Best Practices from the Field
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)  

View current GFOA training schedule     

Who Will Benefit:
Government staff who are currently involved with helping to define goals, set performance measures, track results, monitor progress, make decisions, or are otherwise responsible for some aspect of an organization’s performance measurement and management efforts. 

Program:
Performance management is quickly becoming a requirement for many governments dealing with budget stress. Budgeting and management decisions rely on accurate performance data to make sure that community priorities are being addressed efficiently and effectively. This session will highlight how a few governments have used the principles of performance management to make informed decisions; to apply lessons learned from past experiences; and to ultimately improve results to improve fiscal outcomes.

Seminar Objectives

  • Learn best practice examples from leading governments who have achieved better results through the use of performance management
  • Understand key aspects of effective performance management efforts


Recommended Reading

  • The State and Local Government Performance Management Sourcebook
  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

 

Organizational Change Management: Maximizing Value from Process Improvement

Group-live course

Prerequisites: None    
Course Level: Intermediate    
Number of Hours: 8
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM      

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
Finance managers, stakeholders in ERP or other improvement projects, line managers

Program
Participants will review the key success factors for large projects, and learn how change management programs focus on those factors to increase the chances for project success.  Participants will then receive a survey of process improvement methods, discussing the pros and cons of each.  Finally, participants will work through process improvement exercises that bring together process change and change management techniques to increase the value of large projects.

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand change management concepts and their importance relative to key success factors for large projects
  • Understand process improvement methodologies and the pros and cons of each
  • Learn how process improvement and change management can combine to increase the value of large projects


Recommended Reading

  • “Less Time, Lower Cost, and Greater Quality: Making Government Work Better with Lean Process Improvement,”  GFOA whitepaper available at www.gfoaconsulting.org/lean
  • “The 8 Sources of Waste and How to Eliminate Them: Improving Performance with Lean Management Techniques” – Government Finance Review, December 2011
  • “Getting Started with Process Improvement” – Government Finance Review, December 2010

 

Program Review and Service-Level Analysis

Group-live course

Prerequisites: None            
Course Level: Advanced
CPE Credits: 8
Time: 1 Day, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit

This course is for finance officers, budget officers, executive management, and other leaders who are responsible for managing and/or overseeing financial management functions in the public sector.

Program

Do you provide services at a "Cadillac" or a "Chevy" level? Is a program running efficiently? Are there other ways to provide a service? These are the sorts of questions that often are raised by elected officials and staff, and that are critical for developing a budget that is in line with what is affordable for the community. However, the typical budget process often has a hard time answering these questions. This class will cover methods for specialized analysis of program efficiency and effectiveness, including review of mandates, relevance to community goals, potential for increased revenue coverage, possibilities for alternative service delivery, and others. The training will also discuss how this kind of analysis can then be used in the budget process to better size and shape expenditures to be commensurate with the revenues that are available.

Seminar Objectives
In this seminar, instructors will assist participants to:

  • Learn how to articulate the importance of deliberately selecting service levels
  • Think about how to express different service levels, one versus another
  • Make program review and service-level analysis a positive experience for departments
  • Use service-level analysis and program review to help balance the budget.

 

Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Government Finance (second edition)?


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $370     Nonmember:  $550

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Reaching Financial Resiliency
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)
View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Public managers who want to make their organizations better able to withstand stress and
recover faster after setbacks.


Program Overview
Resiliency is the ability of governments to withstand chronic stresses and acute shocks while maintaining essential services and recovering quickly and effectively. The Rockefeller Foundation is working with a small group of cities across the world to develop tools and techniques for cities to become more resilient, including in their budgeting and financial management offices. This webinar will describe the progress to date and what lessons practitioners have learned you can apply to your own government.

 

Seminar Objectives

  • To define financial resiliency in a compelling way for elected officials and other public managers
  • Specific tools and techniques to improve resiliency


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government
  • Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Step by Step: How to Conduct a LEAN Event
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: Basic understanding of LEAN
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)
View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
The seminar is designed for all public servants with prior knowledge of Lean philosophy, tools, and methods and who want additional insight into how to organize a Lean Kaizen event.

 

Program Overview
A Lean Kaizen event is a signature moment in Lean, where a small team of employees dedicates a number of days to analyzing the process, identifying a larger number of opportunities for small improvements, and implementing these ideas. This webinar will describe how to prepare for, execute, and follow up on a Lean Kaizen event in order to get the best results. Participants will learn about specific tools such as a Kaizen project charter and ways to maximize the level of engagement of employees in the Kaizen event and, hence, maximize the results obtained.


Seminar Objectives

  • Define the basic elements of a Lean Kaizen event
  • How to select participants for a Lean Kaizen event
  • Provide facilitative tools and concepts to get the most from participants in the event


Recommended Reading

  • June 2013 issue of Government Finance Review


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Strategic Role of the Finance Officer
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None  
Course Level: Intermediate    
CPE credits: 8
Time: 1 day, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

View current GFOA training schedule          

Who Will Benefit
CFOs, finance directors, assistant finance directors and others making the journey from traditional to strategic financial management

 

Program
This seminar addresses the finance officer’s role in developing and supporting organization-wide objectives and strategies and has been designed to prepare finance officers for taking this role. Topics will include the characteristics and skills needed for strategic leadership, understanding the value of and leveraging financial management expertise in strategy setting and achieving strategic goals, and establishing the right operational infrastructure to support strategic management. Presenters will provide case studies and best practices related to making the transition from traditional to strategic finance functions.

Seminar Objectives

  • Present the requirements of the finance officer as a strategist
  • Learn approaches for transitioning from financial manager to strategic business partner and strategic leader
  • Understand what is involved in managing the alignment of organizational strategic goals, organizational structure, and organizational performance
  • Learn the importance of facilitation and communication skills as a strategic leader

 

Recommended Reading

  • Leadership in the Government Finance Profession: A Texas Perspective, by Randy Moravic.  Government Finance Review, December 2010
  • City Management Institute: A Blueprint for Leadership Succession, by Brian W.T. August 2007
  • What Transformational Leaders Do, by Babak Armajani.  August 2007

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Strategies for Managing the Transition to Performance Management

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time:  2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule           

 

Who Will Benefit
This session is designed for finance officers, managers, and others responsible for implementing and managing performance management and measurement systems and practices. The session will be specifically focused on strategies for overcoming common forms of resistance to performance management.

 

Program
Performance management promises better results, better information for making decisions, improved transparency, and enhanced accountability. The transition to performance management requires a culture change, not just the introduction of new practices. Further, as with any major organizational change, areas of resistance must be identified and overcome. Whether resistance stems from concerns about time, expertise or resources required, or skepticism about actual benefits, performance management practitioners have identified successful mitigation strategies. This webinar will focus on how to navigate the transition to a performance management culture and address common forms of resistance. Speakers will also discuss some of the typical “myths” and fears associated with performance management and will provide attendees with proven strategies for addressing them.

 

Seminar Objectives
This session will provide best practices and strategies for overcoming common performance management implementation challenges. Participants in the webinar will:

  • Learn how to prepare for implementation of performance management
  • Identify effective communication strategies to inform and gather feedback from key stakeholders in the process
  • Learn approaches for how to identify and deal with resistance
  • Identify common fears stakeholders may express with performance management and how to overcome them
  • Explore successful case study examples from governments that were successful in implementing a culture of performance management Understand key strategies and helpful tips for leading the transition to performance management


Recommended Reading

  • A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Using Excel for Financial Modeling
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None      
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
New employees to budget and finance departments and government staff who are interested in learning more about
spreadsheet capabilities for financial modeling.

Program Overview
Participants will learn various techniques for maximizing the features of Excel during budgeting and planning work.
Techniques that will be covered include: creating a spreadsheet database, running statistical analyses, analyzing
multi-dimensional data through pivot tables, and preparing executive dashboard reports. A class example based
upon a budget preparation worksheet or executive financial report will be used.

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand financial and other external data sources and how to import the data into Excel
  • Understand the most commonly used features of Excel for a budget or finance department and their
  • benefits and limitations
  • Understand advanced features of Excel for financial modeling, budgeting, and planning
  • Understand various methods of presenting Excel data in executive reports, budget documents,
  • and financial reports

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Working With Your CEO and Board of Directors
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Budget managers, aspiring budget managers, and budget analysts who want to hone the communication and interpersonal skills needed to assist CEOs and governing board members in the budget decisionmaking process.

 

Program Overview
Preparing the annual or biennial budget is typically the single most important policy and decision-making process that a government undertakes. Like any other complex process, stakeholders such as elected officials and others need to fully understand the budget roles they have been assigned in order to head off confusion, inefficiency, or ineffective decision making. Budget officers – by providing information and coordinating the entire budget process – play an important role in ensuring that all players work toward a common goal. This session will provide useful information and practical strategies for developing an effective process, determining appropriate budget roles, coordinating the activity, and ultimately disseminating information to all stakeholders to facilitate effective decision making.


Seminar Objectives
Attendees will:

  • Understand the key stakeholders and their roles in the budget process
  • Learn how to coordinate the process and support key stakeholders in their role
  • Learn about useful formats for communicating key information to decision makers clearly and succinctly
  • Hear what to expect in meeting the needs of decision makers for a lot of information when time is at a premium
  • Hear about the importance of separating opinion from data when communicating budget information to decision makers
  • Identify pitfalls to avoid and useful take-away tips


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160 

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Pensions and Employee Benefits

Building Sustainable Pension Plans

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Basic
CPE Credits: 2
Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (Eastern)
View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Administrative officials who manage the defined benefit program, finance officers who are looking for ways to reduce the costs of their defined benefit programs.

Program
The long-term fiscal sustainability of defined benefit pension funds is one of the most important topics facing government investment professionals today. To achieve stability for their pension systems, many government employers are examining alternative benefit designs, including establishing new benefits tiers with lower costs. In this training session, industry experts and practitioners who have worked on successful sustainability initiatives will present best practices and case studies covering levels of benefits, plan design, and new benefit tiers, and provide practical strategies for cutting costs – from smaller changes to comprehensive redesigns – while still providing employees with sufficient retirement income.

Seminar Objectives

  • Provide strategies and tactics attendees can apply to cut pension costs and make their pension program sustainable for the long run.
  • Explain points of concern regarding the needs of all pension stakeholders.
  • Provide specific information about levels of benefits, plan design, and new benefit tiers. Provide case studies of jurisdictions that lowered their pension costs and made their plans more sustainable.
  • Provide information in a form attendees can use to address their own pension cost concerns.


Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide to Public Retirement Plans


“Best Practices and Advisories":

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Controlling Health-Care Benefit Costs
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Intermediate
CPE Credits: 2
Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Finance officers and financial analysts

Program
Rapidly escalating health-care costs have presented a real challenge to balancing budgets. This inflation eats into governments’ ability to provide public services, making cost containment essential. Tactics like increasing employee contributions are an important part of dealing with this challenge, but are not the whole answer. A comprehensive plan of shorter-term mitigations and long-term strategies is needed. This session will focus on fundamental and innovative strategies for containing health-care costs, as well as strategies for forecasting and budgeting for health care.

Seminar Objectives
To describe:

  • Fundamental and innovative strategies for containing health-care costs
  • Strategies for forecasting and budgeting for health care.


Recommended Reading

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Health-Care Costs: Gaining Control of a Budget Buster
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Finance officers and financial analysts.

Program Overview
Rapidly escalating health-care costs have presented a real challenge to balancing budgets. This inflation eats into governments’ ability to provide public services, making cost containment essential. Tactics like increasing employee contributions are an important part of dealing with this challenge, but are not the whole answer. A comprehensive strategy of shorter-term mitigations and long-term strategies is needed. This session will focus on fundamental and
innovative strategies for containing health-care costs as well as strategies for forecasting and budgeting for health care.

 

Seminar Objectives
To describe:

  • Fundamental and innovative strategies for containing health-care costs; and
  • Strategies for forecasting and budgeting for health care.


Recommended Reading
Financing the Future: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government

  • Faced with downward pressures on tax revenues, increasing expenditures, shifting demographics, as well as a host of other complex challenges, local governments need a new approach to planning. Readers of Financing the Future will discover key features of a successful long-term financial plan; phases pivotal to plan implementation; and how to involve elected officials, staff, and citizens to create a plan that gets results that are valuable to their community. With this publication, you will learn how to achieve and maintain long-term financial sustainability.

 

An Elected Official’s Guide: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government

  • Create financial sustainability for your community with An Elected Official’s Guide: Long-Term Financial Planning for Local Government. Learn the fundamentals of financial planning, from what constitutes a plan to how to establish one that will benefit your community’s future. Sections covered include An Introduction to Long-Term Financial Planning; Long-Term Financial Planning and Organizational Roles; Implementing Long-Term Financial Planning; Cornerstones to Financial Sustainability; and Long-Term Financial Planning Implementation.

 

Financial Recovery Web site

Financial Resiliency Whitepaper


Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Health-Care Implementation: A Compliance Update
Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Introductory
CPE credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)
View current GFOA training schedule

Who Will Benefit
Finance directors, health-care plan administrators, human resources professionals – anyone with any level of
responsibility for implementing the upcoming health-care reform regulations.

Program Overview
State and local government plan sponsors are grappling with changes to their health-care plans in order to
implement the many new coverage requirements found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – and
your jurisdiction will continue to face implementation challenges as additional sections of the law become effective.
In this training session, experts and practitioners will present information, case studies, and strategies you can
use to be sure your jurisdiction is implementing the specific requirements of the new law and planning far enough
ahead. Presenters will also provide best practices for reexamining your current health-care strategies, giving you
information to help your organization determine how each component of health-care reform would affect your plan,
allowing you to assess where you are, determine the gaps, and make plan design changes accordingly.

Seminar Objectives
  • Establish the legal requirements of the health-care reform legislation, at the time of the training sessions.
  • Provide attendees with information (legal opinions, case studies, and best practices) that will enable them to
  • ensure their jurisdictions are implementing all the legal requirements of the health-care reform act.
  • Providing attendees with strategies that will allow them to make implementation decisions that will most
  • benefit their jurisdictions.

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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How to Achieve a Sustainable Pension Plan

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern) 

View current GFOA training schedule  

Who Will Benefit
Administrative officials who manage the defined benefit program, finance officers who are looking for ways to reduce the costs of their defined benefit program.

Program
The long-term fiscal sustainability of defined benefit pension funds is one of the hottest topics facing government investment professionals today. To achieve stability for their pension systems, many government employers are examining alternative benefit designs, including establishing new benefits tiers with lower costs. In this training session, industry experts and practitioners who have worked on successful sustainability initiatives will present best practices and case studies covering levels of benefits, plan design, and new benefit tiers, and provide practical strategies for cutting costs – from smaller changes to comprehensive redesigns – while still providing employees with sufficient retirement income.

Seminar Objectives

  • Provide strategies and tactics attendees can apply to cut pension costs and make their pension program sustainable for the long run.
  • Explain points of concern regarding the needs of all pension stakeholders.
  • Provide specific information about levels of benefits, plan design, and new benefit tiers. Provide case studies of jurisdictions that lowered their pension costs and made their plans more sustainable.
  • Provide information in a form attendees can use to address their own pension cost concerns.

Recommended Reading
  • GFOA best practices:
  • Sustainable Funding Practices of Defined Benefit Pension Plans best practice
  • Governance of Public Employee Retirement Systems best practice
  • Responsible Management and Design Practices for Defined Benefit Pension Plans advisory
  • Deferred Retirement Option Plans advisory
  • Evaluating Use of Early Retirement Incentives advisory
  • An Elected Official’s Guide to Public Retirement Plans
  • An Elected Official’s Guide to Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Retirement Plans

 

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160


 

How Pension Accounting Is About To Change

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course level: Intermediate
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern) 

View current GFOA training schedule

 

Who Will Benefit
Anyone with an interest in measuring and funding the cost of providing pension benefits to state and local government employees.

Program
Pension accounting for state and local governments differs significantly from private-sector practice. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has completed a thorough reexamination of these differences and has proposed a number of major changes. This live, interactive internet training session combines lecture and exercises to examine both current practice and pending changes in a way that is clearly understandable even to those with limited experience in accounting and financial reporting for pensions

Seminar Objectives
To obtain a solid understanding of how pension accounting works, the key issues surrounding current practice, and the nature and potential impact of the GASB’s proposed changes.

Registration Fees
GFOA member:  $85     Nonmember:  $160

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Pension Progress: Update on Pending Changes in Pension Accounting

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Intermediate/Advanced
CPE Credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)

View current GFOA training schedule           

Who will benefit? 
Anyone with an interest in measuring and funding the cost of providing pension benefits to state and local government employees.

Program
Pension accounting for state and local governments differs significantly from private-sector practice. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) recently completed a thorough reexamination of these differences and has proposed a number of major changes. This live, interactive Internet training session combines lecture and exercises to examine both current practice and pending changes in a way that is clearly understandable even to those with limited experience in accounting and financial
reporting for pensions.

Instructor
Stephen Gauthier, Director, Technical Services Center, Government Finance Officers Association, Chicago, Illinois

Recommended Reading

  • An Elected Official’s Guide: Employer’s Accounting for Pensions and Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB)   


Registration Fees
Active/Associate GFOA member - $85    Nonmember - $160

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Negotiating Retirement Benefits: The Finance Director’s Role

Group Internet-based course

Prerequisites: None
Course level: Basic
CPE credits: 2

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

View current GFOA training schedule   

Who Will Benefit
Finance officers who are or want to be a part of labor negotiations to ensure the affordability and sustainability of retirement benefits.

Program
Fiscal challenges are forcing public employers to negotiate compensation packages, and finance officers need to be able to explain how retirement benefits should be structured – in a way the jurisdiction can afford. Health-care and retirement benefits are the most expensive and contentious areas in labor relations sessions, and this training session will provide smart strategies and a thorough understanding of the process that the finance officer can use to improve outcomes. Industry experts and practitioners who have successfully negotiated retirement benefits with organized labor will suggest the best role for the finance officer and provide strategies for talking effectively about affordability, sustainability, and the jurisdiction’s capacity to pay.

Seminar Objectives

  • Provide information, case studies, and specific strategies about how retirement benefits can and should be structured in a sustainable manner.
  • Provide background information and case studies explaining how labor negotiations are conducted.
  • Explain how the finance officer can provide information that will improve outcomes for the organization.
  • Provide strategies for addressing affordability and sustainability.

Recommended Reading
  • An Elected Official’s Guide to Negotiating and Costing Labor Contracts    

Registration Fees
GFOA member: $85     Nonmember: $160

 

What Employers Need to Know About the New Pension Accounting

 

Group Internet-based course
Prerequisites: None
Course Level: Basic
CPE Credits: 2
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (ET)

 

View current GFOA training schedule  

 

Who Will Benefit

Accounting or auditing professionals responsible for preparing or auditing the financial statements of state or local government employers that offer pension benefits.

 

Program Overview

The implementation of Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions, is about to fundamentally change how state and local governments account for the cost of pension benefits. This interactive Internet training session offers a comprehensive, easy-to-understand overview of the latest GASB guidance on pensions. The session also explores the significant implications for budgeting and auditing, and suggests effective strategies for explaining the change to elected officials and the public.

 

Seminar Objectives

To provide participants with a solid basic understanding of employer accounting and financial reporting for pensions under GASB Statement No. 68 and how the implementation of that standard will affect funding strategies and the employer’s financial statement audit.

 

 

 

Registration Fees
Active/Associate GFOA member - $85    Nonmember - $160

 


Technology

How To Survive an ERP Implementation: Course for Staff Assigned to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Project
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None       
Course level: Intermediate   
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (both days)
View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Government staff in the planning or acquisition stages or preparing to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project.

Program
The course will focus on preparing attendees to take part in an ERP implementation project, one of the most invigorating, challenging, and frustrating projects government staff can undertake. Participants will learn the different approaches ERP companies use to install systems. Instructors will break down and examine the ERP implementation process from its pre- to post-implementation phases. Customer and vendor expectations will be emphasized and participants will learn how to balance scope, resources, costs and other constraints, and how to manage schedule and work variation. Participants will also learn about factors for successful implementations, including implementation readiness, communications, training, change management, and post-implementation planning.

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand the requirements for effective management of each phase of an ERP selection and implementation project
  • Understand indicators for risk and need for project plan corrections in each project phase
  • Assess the organizational impacts of ERP projects
  • Learn how to leverage ERP technologies to implement current management practices such as performance management and budgeting for outcomes.


Recommended Reading

  • None

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How to Purchase ERP Software & Services the Right Way
Group-live course
Prerequisites: None. No technology background is required.       
Course level: Intermediate   
CPE credits: 16
Time: 2 days, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (both days)
View current GFOA training schedule


Who Will Benefit
Public-sector organizations currently evaluating the effectiveness of their administrative software systems, preparing to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, or in the process of procuring an ERP solution.

Program
This course will focus on how to select the right ERP solution, which can be a daunting task for any organization regardless of size. The course will begin with an overview of modern ERP applications. Instructors will then walk through the ERP needs assessment process. The needs assessment component will address tough subjects such as whether or not to pursue a new solution, optimize a current application, change business processes, or procure a partial solution. Students will then learn how to develop an effective RFP for the desired solution. Instructors will address developing functional requirements, designing the RFP, and navigating the selection process. The course will conclude with an overview of the contracting process.

Seminar Objectives

  • Understand how modern ERP applications work
  • Learn how to conduct a needs assessment to define the right solution
  • Develop a comprehensive RFP and selection process
  • Learn how to mitigate risk through effective software and implementation contracts


Recommended Reading

  • None

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Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada
203 N. LaSalle Street - Suite 2700 | Chicago, IL 60601-1210 | Phone: (312) 977-9700 - Fax: (312) 977-4806