2012 Annual Conference Concurrent Sessions and Discussion Groups
Concurrent sessions are being held at the
2301 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60616
Track: Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting
Headed in the Wrong Direction: The GASB and Financial Projections
- As part of its fiscal sustainability initiative, the GASB has proposed to require that governments present five-year projections of their cash inflows, cash outflows, major financial obligations, and debt service payments. This session will examine why the GFOA has taken a strong position in opposition to the GASB’s involvement with financial projections and fiscal sustainability reporting, while at the same time considering positive and proven alternatives for evaluating fiscal sustainability in a budgetary context.
With All Due Deference: Identifying Deferred Outflows and Inflows of Resources
- The GASB has already determined that the statement of financial position should clearly distinguish assets and liabilities from deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources. Consistent with that determination, the GASB is now proposing to reclassify a number of specific items currently reported as assets and liabilities. This session will examine the specific items that the GASB has identified as candidates for reclassification, and the reasoning behind the proposed change.
- In 1992, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) issued Internal Control—Integrated Framework (Framework). The COSO’s Framework has served ever since as the essential starting point for any serious discussion of internal control. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the original Framework, and the COSO has proposed a comprehensive update to reflect critical changes that have taken place over the intervening two decades. This session will explore in detail both what the COSO has proposed to change and what the COSO has proposed to leave unchanged in the new version of the Framework.
Getting in Focus: GASB’s Proposals for Governmental Funds
- Governmental funds have always employed their own unique measurement focus. Recently, the GASB proposed to significantly alter financial reporting for governmental funds by changing their measurement focus from current financial resources to near-term financial resources. This session will explore what the proposed change would look like, as well as its practical implications.
Piecing Together the Puzzle: Today’s Financial Reporting Entity
- GASB Statement No. 61, The Financial Reporting Entity: Omnibus, significantly modified the rules that govern the identification and presentation of component units. This session will provide a comprehensive update on the financial reporting entity as governments prepare for the implementation of GASB Statement No. 61 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
The Accounting and Auditing Year in Review
- This session will offer participants a comprehensive overview of all of the major developments of the past year that affect accounting and auditing professionals who serve state and local governments. The Executive Director of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers will cover the latest in generally accepted auditing standards, Government Auditing Standards, and the Single Audit. The GFOA’s Director of Technical Services will examine recent pronouncements and due-process documents issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
Pension and OPEB Update
- The GASB has proposed fundamental changes in how state and local government employers account for the cost of pensions and other postemployment benefits (OPEB). This session will explore the GASB’s proposals and decisions to date, as well as their potential impact on state and local governments and public employee retirement systems.
It’s All in the Details: A Practice Update
- The GASB provides detailed guidance on the proper implementation of authoritative standards, in question-and-answer format, in its Comprehensive Implementation Guide (CIG), which is updated annually. This session will consider the key changes and additions to be found in the most recently updated edition of the CIG.
Back in Balance: Addressing the Challenges of GASB Statement No. 54
- GASB Statement No. 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions, has already taken effect, starting with the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011. Nonetheless, many misunderstandings remain concerning the practical application of the new guidance. This session will systematically cover the GASB’s implementation guidance on GASB Statement No. 54. It also will draw upon the experience of governments that have successfully implemented GASB Statement No. 54.
After the Storm: The Ins and Outs of Working with FEMA
- Recovery funds provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are subject to extremely specific stipulations, terms, conditions, and reporting requirements. This session offers an overview of how FEMA recovery projects are developed, organized, funded, reported, and audited. In doing so, the session offers a wealth of practical tips drawn from experience on what applicants can do before, during, and after emergencies to enhance recovery funding.
Meeting an Old Friend for the First Time: The New “Blue Book”
- Early spring 2012 is the scheduled release for a completely new and much expanded edition of the GFOA’s classic “Blue Book,” Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (GAAFR). This session will examine the format, contents, and special features of the latest GAAFR, which provides comprehensive coverage of authoritative guidance through GASB Statement No. 64.
Internal Auditing: New and Improved
- Traditionally, internal auditors have tended to focus almost exclusively on financial controls. More recently, internal auditors are coming more and more to play the role of resident risk experts. This shift has been marked by a corresponding movement away from “gotcha” reviews to a more collaborative approach to identifying risk and monitoring risk-mitigation efforts. This session will explore how a government can reinvent and reinvigorate its internal audit function.
The Big Picture: Effective Popular Reporting
- Each year, more than 200 governments submit a popular annual financial report (PAFR) to the GFOA’s PAFR Award Program. This session will explore a number of different techniques that governments in that program have found to tell their financial story to a popular audience in an effective and compelling way.
Steering Clear of Financial Reporting Deficiencies
- Each year, members of the GFOA’s Special Review Committee and the GFOA’s professional staff review more than 3,800 comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) that state and local governments submit to the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program. As part of that process, The GFOA’s staff identify the financial reporting deficiencies most commonly pointed out by reviewers. This session will focus on how to avoid these common financial reporting deficiencies, with special emphasis on errors associated with more recently issued authoritative pronouncements.
What’s New in Auditing Standards?
- This session will examine in detail recent developments, implementation challenges, and emerging issues involving generally accepted auditing standards, Government Auditing Standards (“Yellow Book”), and the Single Audit. Special emphasis will be placed on the newest version of the “Yellow Book” and the practical implementation of the most recently issued Statements on Auditing Standards.
Digging for Dirt: Detecting Fraud in the Public Sector
- This session will examine some of the most commonly encountered types of fraud in the public sector (especially those involving cash) and offer practical steps that a government can take to avoid and detect them. The session also will explore the utilization of data mining as a practical technique for detecting fraud.
Take Nothing for Granted! Getting a Grip on Grants Management
- This session will offer participants 1) an overview of the federal grants process, from application to closeout, 2) practical guidance on subrecipient monitoring, and 3) suggestions for improving the working relationship between grantors and grantees.
Down to a Science: Getting Systematic About Capital Assets
- Accounting for capital assets has gained a reputation for being challenging. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid most of these challenges by putting into place a comprehensive set of policies and procedures. This session will explore the essential components of a comprehensive set of capital-asset-related policies and procedures, with special emphasis on “what works” and “what doesn’t.”
Splitting the Check: Allocating Indirect Costs
- This session will focus on the nuts and bolts of indirect cost allocation plans, with special emphasis on common mistakes and practical tips for avoiding them.
Track: Budgeting and Financial Planning
Encouraging Innovation Through the Budget Process
- Governments need innovative ideas for adapting to new economic realities. However, you often need to spend money to save money, which is a difficult proposition when budgets are tight. This session will cover what the budget office needs to know about successful innovation programs, including realistic methods for conducting return on investment analysis, creating policies and tools for funding innovation, and taking steps to insure that innovative initiatives deliver the intended results and savings are captured.
How to Talk About Your Budget
- The ability to make effective in-person presentations is a critical skill for budget officers. While reports and budget documents are important ways to communicate budget information to officials and the public, in-person presentations 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.
The Case for Consolidating Operating and Capital Budget Processes
- Operating and capital budgets are often developed separately, even though they may be published in a single document. As a consequence, key interrelationships may be missed, resulting in problems down the road. This session features practitioners who have developed methods for linking capital and operating budget development so that key factors, such as the right point to replace rather than maintain assets, the estimated operating costs of new capital, and the optimal balance between cash and debt funding can be fully deliberated, resulting in better overall budget decisions.
Identifying, Costing, and Selecting Alternative Service Levels
- As governments continue to look for ways to maintain services while balancing their budgets, they are particularly interested in understanding the impacts of alternative levels of service in key programs. This session will describe successful approaches to identifying alternative service levels, understanding costs and the potential impact of service-level changes, and how to frame this information in a way that helps leaders choose service levels that are affordable but still have impact.
Successful Forecasting: A Structured Approach
- A structured, deliberate approach to forecasting can improve forecast accuracy, help you address uncertainty, and even improve your officials' confidence in your forecast. This session will cover proven approaches to structuring your forecasting efforts, including setting up the forecasting process, selecting and using forecasting techniques, and presenting forecasts in a way that maximizes understanding and acceptance.
Real Improvement or Window Dressing? The True Value of Performance Measurement
- Over the last two decades, most governments have adopted performance measures. Yet too often, measures are static, appearing in the budget document but not achieving their potential for helping governments make better decisions. Fortunately, there are also many examples of governments that are using their measurement systems as a valuable source of information for decision making and to improve results for the community. At this session, presenters will discuss how they have used performance measurement to identify effective strategies and programs to make their communities better.
Developing Sustainable Budgets
- Approaching the budget as a process of cutting from last year's "base" often results in a spending plan focused more on expediency, less on sustainability. Some governments have begun budgeting in a new way, beginning with an analysis of community needs, then prioritizing services and programs according to their potential for efficiently meeting those needs, now and in the long term. This session will highlight strategic, sustainable approaches to budgeting, featuring practitioners that have found a better way to allocate ever more limited resources. Best budget practices from the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting will also be featured.
The Verdict on User Fees
- User fees have become increasingly popular as an alternative to local taxes. After several years' experience of shifting the cost of many services from general taxes to service fees, what have governments learned? Have fees given governments more funding flexibility? What fee structures are easiest to administer? What about equity? And what happens when you need to increase fees? Attend to hear up-to-date information from experienced practitioners.
Making the Case for Performance Management
- Performance management practices have shown great promise for producing better results for the public. But in an era of austerity, it is often hard to interest officials and managers in new ways of doing business. Speakers at this session will offer advice on how to gain support from decision makers and how to enlist managers in fundamental changes in how they manage. Attend this session to hear from practitioners about specific tools and approaches that have been implemented. The National Performance Management Advisory Commission Framework will also be featured.
Engaging the Public in Budgeting - What Works?
- Understanding public needs and wants is crucial to sound budgeting, especially when services are being reduced or eliminated, but there is no "one best way" to gain that understanding. This discussion group will give participants the opportunity to exchange lessons learned and discuss their hits and misses in their efforts to engage the public.
Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) Roundtable
- Budgeting for outcomes (BFO) continues to become more and more popular as a method of helping governments cope with the current fiscal environment. This roundtable is an opportunity for practitioners to learn from other practitioners what works when designing and implementing a BFO process, working with elected officials, and ultimately managing an effective budget process. The session will also provide an opportunity for peer networking and an introduction to GFOA's BFO Network.
Care and Maintenance of Your Budget Staff
- These days, balancing the budget is a stress-filled process for everyone involved, but it takes a special toll on budget office staff. Not only are budget analysts often asked to develop recommendations that include service cuts and/or layoffs, but they are the ones who usually deliver that message to departmental managers. Attend this roundtable to exchange ideas about how to keep your budget analysts going when it matters most.
Track: Debt Management
Derivatives: What Now?
- Federal regulation of derivatives has significantly changed state and local government involvement in this market. Speakers will provide an overview of the new regulatory framework and highlight GFOA’s advisories on this topic.
What the IRS Wants to Know About Your Bonds
- The IRS has its eye on tax-exempt financing and related compliance practices, focusing on key areas such as refundings, pooled bonds, and direct subsidy bonds. At this session, legal experts, issuers, and IRS staff will provide information on this initiative. Attend this session to learn about the content of a questionnaire the IRS is sending to local issuers, and about compliance issues your government should be addressing.
What's Old is New Again: Bank Loans as a Financing Tool
- Private placement bank loans have re-emerged as a financing tool for state and local governments. This session will discuss why bank loans are becoming more popular and what issuers need to know when evaluating this financing tool. Practitioners and debt professionals will discuss SEC and MSRB rules on bank loans. Disclosure practices for reporting bank loans in official statements and annual financial reports will also be addressed.
Evolving Disclosure Practices and Regulations
- The demand for new disclosure requirements is a constant concern, both for bond market participants and federal regulators. In this highly sensitive environment, state and local bond issuers need to make sure they submit disclosure materials in a timely fashion and seek appropriate advice when a disclosure issue arises. This session will highlight what you need to do to meet initial and continuing disclosure responsibilities. GFOA's best practice on disclosure and investor relations will also be discussed.
Action and Reaction: New Regulations for Financial Advisors and Underwriters and What You Need to Do
- New federal regulations will change the business relationship between government issuers, their financial advisors, and underwriters. For example, the regulations will affect how issuers procure the services of these professionals. Attend this session to learn about the new rules, how they directly affect your entity, and what you need to do to make sure that your internal processes are consistent with changes produced by the new regulations.
Hot Topics in the Municipal Bond Market
- Industry leaders will discuss current “hot topics” related to the municipal securities market. New transaction practices, an outlook on market conditions, legislative initiatives affecting municipal bonds, and a new regulatory framework for the industry are just some of the topics that will be discussed. Session leaders will discuss why these issues matter to government finance professionals who issue debt.
The Changing Credit Rating Environment
- This session will focus on changing rating agency practices and how they relate to your government's credit rating. Attend this session to hear about these changes, including methodologies and standards rating agencies are now using. Speakers will also provide guidance to GFOA members about the new contractual agreements between issuers and the rating agencies, and the role they play in the credit ratings process.
Is Your Debt Policy Sustainable?
- In a changing economic, regulatory, and intergovernmental fiscal environment, is your debt policy resilient enough to protect your government's long-term financial health? A sustainable debt management policy provides parameters that protect your government's ability to plan, issue, and pay its debt obligations now and into the future. This session will feature entities that have recently reviewed their debt policies and highlight the environmental factors that have caused them to make changes or decide to continue with tried and true policies.
How to Get the Most From EMMA
- This session will provide an update on new Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system features and how issuers can benefit from using the system, not only as a repository for their disclosure information, but also as a vehicle to review comprehensive bond trading data, compare pricing, and monitor their own bonds’ secondary market trading. Issuers who have taken advantage of new EMMA features will provide tips you can take home and use.
Key Factors in Pricing and Selling Bonds
- Pricing is critical for all participants in the sale of municipal bonds and issuers need to be sure they understand the factors that go into the pricing decision. Attend this session to hear market participants, government leaders, and technical advisors discuss what municipal issuers need to know, including the roles played by outside professionals in pricing, the impact of market conditions, and data used in the pricing process. GFOA's best practices on pricing and selling bonds will also be reviewed.
Improving Your Bond Rating: Tips from AAAs
- Many local government issuers have been hit hard by economic factors that have affected their bond ratings. Are there actions governments can take to enhance their chances of an upgrade? Participate in this discussion group and hear from highly rated jurisdictions and bond professionals who will discuss the bond rating process and factors that local issuers - especially those from small and mid-sized communities - can focus on to improve their ratings.
Ready, Set, Change! A Change Management Guide for the Finance Officer
- As governments seek to respond to public expectations with limited resources, they are asking finance offices to make changes in their roles and responsibilities. Your ability to manage these changes can often mean the difference between success and failure, regardless of how good your financial management skills are. At this session, learn about change management tools and techniques you can use to ensure long-term acceptance of change among your staff, and how you can lead your staff through the winds of change.
Go Team! Leading Effective Teams
- Being a successful financial leader means not only having superior expertise in financial management, but also knowing how to manage people and encourage teamwork. This session focuses on how to manage through teams. Finance officers who have made the transition from financial expert to financial leader will discuss how to empower teams and ensure that they are achieving good results. Presentations will also offer tips and strategies to encourage effective team participation.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Skills for Finance Officers
- Effectiveness as a finance officer often requires being a good negotiator. Negotiation skills, coupled with solid financial expertise, can strengthen your role in strategic organizational decisions, at the bargaining table, or in economic development deliberations. Speakers at this session will describe how finance officers can use negotiating skills to make sure that financial considerations are factored into key organizational decisions, and describe the competencies you need to master.
A Look in the Mirror: Assessing Your Financial Management Capabilities
- Demands on the finance office have increased as budgets have tightened. Added organizational functions, new accounting standards, and calls for enhanced transparency and accountability require finance offices to change how they do business. This session will focus on successful models for rethinking the finance function and how you can assess your office's readiness for meeting today's demands. GFOA's new financial management self-assessment system, the CIPFA-GFOA FM Model, will be featured.
Financial Policies: Plotting A Course Amidst Winds of Change
- Assuring that your policies are regularly updated based on best practices is essential in setting your government's course in changing times. Financial policies establish a shared understanding between policymakers and staff, providing a context for managing and making decisions. This session, based on a new GFOA publication, will present the latest methods for policy design and implementation that will help in gaining commitment from officials and staff.
What's the Alternative? Rethinking In-House Service Delivery
- New fiscal realities require new ways of thinking about service provision. Whether you are considering outsourcing, managed competition, intergovernmental service sharing, or some other alternative to your current method, you'll want to attend this session. You'll hear about options that are working well in the current economic environment and that could be a good fit for your government. Speakers will identify basic principles of alternative service delivery, new approaches, and how to get the best deal for your government.
Improving Processes by Going Lean: Introduction to GFOA's Lean Finance
- In GFOA's recent member survey, members ranked business process improvement as one of their top informational needs. This session will feature Lean Finance, GFOA's participative approach to process improvement that incorporates GFOA's research on common sources of waste and best practices in financial processes. Speakers who have used Lean to cut costs, shorten cycle times, and provide better service will present case studies and lessons learned that you can take back to your government.
Adding Value to Your Capital Planning Process
- GFOA's best practices recommend that all governments adopt capital improvement plans. However, the content, quality, and utility of these plans vary. During this session practitioners will present leading practices for preparing a capital plan and common pitfalls, especially for first-time CIP preparers. Attend this session to get tips from your peers on enhancing the value of your government's CIP process.
New Tools for Financial Management
- In an era of continuing fiscal austerity, the finance office often has taken on additional duties without being given additional resources. A variety of tools, such as workflow software, business analytics software, and long-term financial modeling can help finance professionals meet these challenges. Practitioners at this session will describe how they have used these tools and others to provide strong financial management for their governments.
Risky Business: Managing Your Government's Financial Risk in a Global Economy
- Governments have many financial partners, from banks to insurance companies to planning advisors to bond and securities firms. Each of these relationships carries underlying financial risks, but assessing these risks is challenging, as financial firms become more intertwined and mutually dependent, within a global marketplace. Speakers will discuss ways of managing financial risk, including how to identify underlying risk, ongoing monitoring, and how to think about the amount of financial risk your government is willing to accept.
How to Talk To Your Elected Officials
- While the recent recession may have ended, increased public scrutiny of expenditures, budgets, capital programs, and cost reduction policies has not. Finance officers often find that they must explain policies and programs and the complex data analyses behind them to elected officials and other non-finance personnel. Share your experiences and learn from other practitioners what techniques can be used to meet these interesting and unique communication challenges.
Track: Pension and Benefit Administration
Optimizing Your Total Compensation Package
- Continuing ﬁscal constraints have public employers looking carefully at their beneﬁt packages and the role that beneﬁts play in meeting workforce goals. Non-competitive compensation weakens governments’ ability to hire the best qualified, while excessive compensation costs can damage a government’s financial position and its reputation with constituents. In this session, learn how experienced practitioners have developed creative solutions to containing costs while providing a competitive total compensation package and an appropriate level of benefits.
Investing Pension Funds During Times of Economic Turbulence
- Extreme market events during the past few years have added pressure for pension funds to get better returns. Nevertheless, despite pressure to make up shortfalls, managing risk and investing for the long run is as important as ever. This session will look at the kinds of changes pension fund investors have made in their investment policies and investing strategies, the reasoning behind them, and the results. Attendees will also learn about portfolio risk and strategies to protect against extreme market events.
Effectively Communicating Pension Facts to the Public
- Public pension plans continue to be highlighted in the media, often portrayed negatively. The facts about pensions are good, but they must be communicated effectively to be heard above the din of 24-hour news cycles. A sound communication strategy can help. This session will provide a framework for developing a pension communication strategy. Industry experts and practitioners will share successful strategies for getting the facts out to the public.
Six High-Potential Strategies for Sustaining Employee Health-Care Benefits
- GFOA’s recent survey of the health-care benefit practices of local governments revealed that local governments are finding ways to contain benefit costs and at the same time providing benefits at a level needed to maintain productive workforces and attract qualified candidates for jobs by making use of variable premium contributions, new approaches to wellness programs, and on-site clinics, among other strategies. Attend this session to learn about the six strategies that the survey concluded have the greatest potential for helping governments to sustain health-care benefits while controlling costs.
What Works in Retirement Plan Design?
- Governments across the country are redesigning their defined benefit pension plans to ensure that they are fiscally sustainable. What designs appear to work best for key stakeholders – employees, management, elected officials and the public? At this session, industry experts and practitioners who have successfully implemented pension redesigns will share their experiences.
Learning from Experience: OPEB Today
- During the recession many governments delayed making decisions about their OPEB liabilities. Meanwhile, the need to address these liabilities has grown ever more pressing. Presenters will explain why your organization needs to find an OPEB solution, while detailing successful strategies that have emerged. Attend this session to benefit from lessons learned in recent years, including tips on effective trust and plan administration and how to convert to an OPEB defined contribution plan.
Setting Pension Funding Guidelines in the Wake of GASB Changes
- Governments have long relied on GASB reporting requirements as guidelines for establishing their annual required contribution (ARC) for their pension plans. With the GASB’s elimination of the ARC reporting requirements, how will governments establish their funding levels and who will determine funding level guidelines? In this session, experts will discuss progress on establishing guidelines, entities that are actively involved in addressing the vacuum left by the GASB, and what the outcome is likely to be.
Interpreting Actuarial Information
- Now that the GASB has changed its reporting requirements and will no longer be the touchstone for the annual required contribution, pension administrators need to become subject matter experts on crucial actuarial information including terms and methodology essential to determining your pension plan contribution and funded status. This session will explain what you need to know in clear terms, and will help you to get up to speed.
- This session is a companion session to Setting Pension Funding Guidelines in the Wake of GASB Changes.
Federal Health-Care Reform and Local Government
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law nearly two years ago. What changes has the law meant for governmental employers and employees, and what issues are likely to emerge in the next months and years? Attend this session to hear industry experts and practitioners discuss experience to date and explore challenges and opportunities to come.
Are Early Retirement Incentives an Answer?
- When faced with budgetary shortfalls, governments sometimes offer early retirement incentives as an alternative to workforce layoffs or to stimulate short-term staff turnover. While some municipalities laud this strategy, others caution that it rarely succeeds, since the costs can be greater than expected, and the savings can be lower. This session will provide strategies for evaluating whether an early retirement incentive is the right option for your jurisdiction.
Would You “Pass” an IRS Employment Tax Exam?
- State and local governments pay more than $200 billion per year to the IRS in employment taxes. It therefore is not a surprise that the IRS is looking more closely at governments' FICA compliance. Attend this discussion group to share information on what to expect as part of an IRS examination, including a discussion of the IRS-identified risk areas. Experts will be on hand to help finance officers identify what questions to ask and how to interpret the answers.
Leveraging Your GIS Investment for Financial Management
- Geographic Information Systems have been used for many years to map and manage physical assets and to route public services. Today, this tool is also being used in the finance office to support activities such as asset management and accounts receivable identification. Attend this session to learn how finance officers have leveraged GIS to gain efficiencies in financial operations.
Gaining Efficiency through IT Governance
- Having an effective governance structure for technology is a proven way to increase the value of your technology and save money. This session will describe how finance and technology staff can work together to identify the most appropriate investments, size IT budgets in the face of increasing needs and declining budgets, and evaluate the results of technology spending.
Using Social Media in Financial Management
- Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter offer governments new ways to interact with the public and communicate essential information. However, many finance officers are still unsure how to make use of these tools in the financial management realm. Attend this session to learn from finance officers who have already developed their social media game plans and have successfully used social media to make financial information readily accessible and to involve the public in budget decision-making processes.
Getting Results from Performance Measurement Systems
- While the IT market is finally offering excellent performance management and measurement systems, many governments are struggling with how to make good use of them. Speakers at this session will describe how they have used new systems to collect, store, and analyze data, and how they have used the data to support decision making and provide better information on performance internally and externally.
Automating Capital Asset Management
- With reductions in finance staffs and funding constraints on capital maintenance and replacement, automating the management of capital assets can save staff time and provide better information for making capital asset decisions. Attend this session to hear about best practices and lessons learned, as well as details on how to identify what you need, what functionality is available in the market, approaches to funding, and how to get started on the road to automating capital asset management.
Increasing Transparency through Technology
- Transparency in government spending and operations is constantly in the news. Technology provides a tremendous opportunity for governments to give information to the public quickly and in understandable formats. Attend this session to learn from finance professionals what to pay attention to when providing financial information on the web -- how to enable easy searches, avoid releasing truly confidential information, and other key considerations. Speakers will provide information on new tools for distributing and communicating financial information to meet disclosure requirements, and explain how to present complex financial information in an understandable form.
Automate and Innovate: IT for Accounts Payable
- New systems for automating accounts payable not only make the process more efficient, but also incorporate sound internal controls, enable electronic payments, and support effective cash management. Attend this session to learn how government entities have brought innovation to this essential financial transaction process. Presenters will offer effective payment strategies and discuss how they made the transition from paper to electronic payments.
Hosting Alternatives for Financial Management Systems: Cloud Computing
- As system maintenance costs continue to increase, local governments are beginning to consider cloud-based solutions for their financial systems. Attend this session to hear the pros and cons of using the cloud to support transactional systems, including risks and benefits you should consider. While not many governments are currently using the cloud, finance professionals who are planning ahead for the next iteration of financial systems will not want to miss this session.
Optimizing Your ERP System
- Are you utilizing your ERP solution to its fullest? In many cases governments find that they have not implemented all of the functionality they purchased, that employees are not using the system to its fullest, or that there are other barriers to optimal use. Attend this session to learn from practitioners and IT professionals the common places to look for optimizing system performance and actions you can take to achieve the level of performance you expected and paid for.
Technology Traps: How Not to Fall for the Next Great Thing that Isn't
- The discussion will focus on ways governments can vet new ideas for further exploration, and how to allocate resources accordingly.
Track: Treasury and Investment Management
Property Taxes under Pressure: And What to Do About It
- The bursting of the housing bubble has challenged local government property tax revenues across the country. Property taxes are a major source of revenue for many local governments, so finance officers need to look for ways to support this important tax. This session will examine methods that local governments have used to support the property tax base, maintain vigilant yet humane and fair collection practices, and preserve, to the extent possible, an income stream sufficient to fund critical services. This session will also consider these property tax challenges from the perspective of the taxpayer and what is equitable and reasonable.
Should Governments Hedge?
- Hedging is an approach designed to mitigate exposure to economic uncertainty, especially from volatile commodities such as fuel and energy, yet finance managers hesitate to implement this strategy since hedging can easily cross the line into speculative practices. This session features speakers who will talk about how to avoid getting close to that line. Presenters will explain how to carry out good hedging strategies based on implementing best practices in cash management. Discussion will focus on forecasting tools, research techniques, diligent monitoring, and risk mitigation, illustrated by case studies.
Paper or Plastic? Replacing Checks with Debit Cards
- Local governments are increasingly issuing debit cards as an efficient, safe and convenient alternative to checks when providing tax and fee refunds and some employee benefits. Debit cards also solve the perennial problems involved in issuing checks to individuals that do not have bank accounts. Attend this session to hear representatives from governments that have used debit cards discuss how they have saved money and how the public has responded. Other topics to be covered include common ways governments have used debit cards, how to select a debit card vendor, and how to introduce the practice to the public.
Everyone Into the Pool? Your Role in Monitoring Your LGIP Investments
- Many governments assume that their local government investment pool (LGIP) is a secure option for their working cash. However, just as with other investment instruments, it is the duty of every government to monitor the performance and safety of the LGIPs they invest in. This session will discuss current performance and safety trends in LGIPs, with particular focus on the impact the rating agencies have had on these instruments. Speakers will discuss ways to assess LGIP performance and safety, including what to do if an LGIP rating is lowered. Attend this session to understand how to protect your stake in your LGIP.
Tech Savvy Cash Management: Improving Your Cash Management with Technology
- This session will feature the latest technologies being used to automate front-end cash operations. Solution providers will present an overview of current and future technologies, focusing on frontline technologies including point-of-sales, remote data capture, and treasury management systems. Practitioners will provide tips and traps for implementing these solutions and discuss creative processes for improving customer service and revenue collections.
New Tools for Cash Flow Forecasting
- Lessons from the recession and recent regulatory changes indicate that treasury and investment managers may need to incorporate different models into their forecasts. Presenters at this session will discuss new cash forecasting tools and models and how investment managers can apply them. The session will begin with an overview of GFOA’s best practice on cash flow forecasts. Speakers will cover various tools used to conduct forecasts, with special emphasis on data gathering and updated forecasting variables.
Under New Management: Rethinking Your Banking Relationship in an Era of Bank Mergers and Acquisitions
- An important component of effective treasury management is a sound and transparent banking services agreement. What happens when the bank you are working with changes hands? Attend this session to hear what due diligence efforts you need to conduct, what safeguards to put into your banking agreements, and what factors are most important in deciding whether to continue your relationship or issue a new banking services RFP.
What Direction to Take on Money Market Investments
- Many government investment managers are concerned with the impact of SEC-initiated reforms that impact money market investments on their investment options. While this initiative was designed to bring resiliency to money market investments during economic instability, will it narrow the investment options for local governments? Attend this session to hear up-to-date information on these reforms and how investment managers can adapt.
Investing in a Volatile Economy
- Public-sector investment managers continue to struggle with market uncertainty. What are the best ways to manage safety and yield when economic news changes virtually every day? Speakers from the financial sector and local government treasury managers will discuss the current situation and offer suggestions on portfolio strategies in market volatility.
Keeping Your Government's Online Transactions Secure
- Residents and businesses expect to transact business with their local government via the Internet. They also expect their transactions to be safe and secure. This session will address issues and remedies related to avoiding opportunities for fraud in your government’s online transactions. Speakers will identify potential occasions for online fraud and discuss common issues, such as determining liability when a customer’s computer virus is the source of the fraud. Attendees will also hear about practices, both technology-related and non-technology-related, to implement now in order to reduce exposure.
Professional Development for the Treasury Manager
- This discussion will focus on career development of the treasury professional. What key skills do successful treasury professionals possess and what is the best way to acquire them? When there are gaps in the skills, what are the most effective means for closing them? How is knowledge transferred within the treasury office? Bring your questions and answers to share at this discussion session with your peers.
Concurrent sessions and discussion groups are subject to change. Additional information will be added as received.