topleft
topright

GFOA’s 107th Annual Conference - GFOA Concurrent Sessions

GFOA concurrent sessions will take place on June 2-5, 2013. The start and end times for each day’s sessions are:

  • Sunday, June 2 – 1:30 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.
  • Monday, June 3 – 10:30 a.m. – 5:10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 4, 2013 – 10:20 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 5, 2013 – 8:30 a.m. – 12: 10 p.m.

 

The detailed schedule showing the exact day and time each session will be offered is still being finalized. Once it is available, the final schedule will be sent via e-mail from GFOA Announcements.

 

A 12-Step Program for Recovering from Financial Distress

Field of Study: Finance
While the economy is recovering, governments continue to face rising cost pressures and a public that, generally, does not support additional taxes. This adds up to the potential for financial distress. Attend this session to learn about GFOA’s model for recovering from financial distress and staying financially healthy from practitioners who have applied the model.


The Accounting and Auditing Year in Review

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)

This session will provide participants with a comprehensive but concise overview of all the key developments in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting during the past year that will affect preparers of state and local government financial statements and their auditors.


Adopting Financial Management Policies: Keeping Your Governing Body Engaged

Field of Study: Finance
An organization's financial policies provide a baseline for financial stewardship, and can also set standards for efficient and effective performance. It's therefore critical that governing bodies view policy review and adoption as a high priority. Speakers at this session will describe how finance officers can provide support to their governing body through the policy adoption process, including showing the need for policies and drafting effective policies.

Advising Your Financial Advisor

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
The GFOA recommends that state and local governments use a financial advisor when preparing to issue debt.  Experts and practitioners will discuss the importance of this relationship – both at the time of a transaction, and on an ongoing basis.  Both frequent and infrequent issuers should attend in order to understand the evolving regulatory landscape affecting financial advisors, and the importance of your role in managing advisors.


After the Contract is Signed: Effective IT Contract Management

Field of Study: Business Management and Organization
High quality IT contract management can help governments save money and insure that the jurisdiction gets the software it is paying for. Overburdened staff, lack of expertise, and lack of good contract management technology are often cited as reasons for poor contract oversight. This session will feature presentations that focus on the key elements of high quality technology contract management and how to put them into place in your government. GFOA's information technology advisory services staff will be present to provide hands-on advice.


Alternatives to Traditional Bonding

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
There continues to be a blossoming of direct lending rather than bonding, as well as other unique financing instruments that may help smaller governments achieve their capital project funding needs. This session will highlight how these instruments are being used in today’s market, and the positives and pitfalls associated with these types of financings.

Are Your DC Fees Reasonable? How Do You Know?

Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications
Defined contribution investment fees constitute a considerable cost to workers, but understanding what the plan and participants are paying can be extremely challenging. It's also difficult to compare actual costs of different providers. At this session, practitioners and investment professionals will describe the fee information employers should request from their providers and how to read, understand, and evaluate that information. They will also offer best practices for documenting and negotiating fees.

Assessing Economic Development Alternatives

Field of Study: Economics
Economic development proposals often come with alternative financing options at varying levels of risk. Even within a single alternative, financing can be complicated. Finance officers are often asked to analyze such options and make recommendations related to risk and return on investment. This session will focus on assessment methods including metrics and tools practitioners have used to give their governments the best possible advice for decision making.


Balancing Workload with the Right Technology for Treasury Management

Field of Study: Finance
Treasury management, like other administrative tasks, has experienced staff cutbacks, sometimes multiple times. New technology can help fill the gap. This session will provide information on the optimal combination of technology and staffing for getting the work done, based on available technologies. Presenters will discuss streamlined treasury management systems, including information retrieval systems and how they can add value in short-handed treasury offices.

 

Becoming a Performance Management Organization

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
The idea of measuring performance has been used in the public sector for decades, yet very few governments would say that they employ performance information extensively in their decision-making processes. Long-held cultural assumptions must be overturned with more agile and efficient practices. This session explores the latest research into performance measurement, including the role of organizational change management, best practices for integrating performance measurement into decision making, the real sources of value governments get from performance measurement, and some surprising conclusions about key success factors.


Be Prepared: Business Continuity for Local Government

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
From natural disasters to computer system failures, provision of government services during and after an emergency of any kind is crucial. Yet many disaster recovery or business continuity plans have not been updated in years or remain untested. Practitioners who have dealt first-hand with significant business interruptions will provide attendees with guidance on developing effective continuity plans and how they were able to provide critical business services during emergencies. Uses of social media to keep users and customers updated during emergencies will be a special focus of this session.


Best Practices for Community Involvement in Planning and Budgeting

Field of Study: Finance
Governments have made great strides in budget transparency, moving from the traditional 11th hour budget hearing to involving the community in the early stages of budgeting planning and keeping the public engaged throughout the process. This session features examples of successful public participation initiatives governments have used for identifying community priorities and giving the public a meaningful role in budget decision making. Electronic polling and feedback methods will be highlighted in presentations by leading practitioners.


Best Practices in Debt Management

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
This session will highlight GFOA’s Best Practices related to debt issuance. Attendees will hear from their peers and other practitioners about the importance of developing and implementing debt policies and procedures. A focus on the appropriate method of sale that is best for your government will be highlighted, as well as other GFOA’s best practices in order for attendees to better understand the ins and outs of debt issuance and management, and assembling the financing team.


Better Asset Management Through GIS

Field of Study: Finance
Asset management is data intensive, bringing together information from financial, operational, capital planning and other systems. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can be a valuable tool in making both financial and operational asset decisions. Speakers will present examples of how local governments have used GIS systems to enhance their fixed asset decision-making process.

 

Beyond 30/60/90: Implementing Modern Tax Collection Solutions

Field of Study: Taxes
Modern tax collection technology has changed dramatically. Today, tax collection goes well beyond paper invoices, statement generation, and manual tracking processes. This session will provide an overview of tax collection functionality being offered in today’s marketplace. Attend this session to hear practitioners and technology experts discuss what the new software can accomplish and how to find and implement the right system for your government.


Beyond New Public Management: 21st Century Ideas in Revenue Generation, Budgeting and Service Delivery

Field of Study: Finance
All levels of government must face the challenge of how to deliver truly meaningful results for citizens as efficiently and effectively as possible. Traditional approaches to budgeting, service delivery, and revenue management need to evolve to meet that challenge in today’s environment. This session explores fresh approaches to managing public resources,  include a results-based budgeting process, and examines case studies of successful alternative service delivery and innovative revenue generation.


Building a Better Budget Document   

Field of Study: Finance
No single document is more important to a government than its operating budget. For this reason, the GFOA has identified 27 specific criteria for assessing the usefulness of budget documents. GFOA’s new publication Building a Better Budget Document draws upon a wealth of all new real-life examples to demonstrate the practical application of each criterion. This session includes examples from a broad cross-section of state and local governments in the United States and Canada.

Busting Myths about Public Retirement Plans

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Myths about public-sector retirement systems continue to be circulated. They have taken on a life of their own and divert attention from structural reforms. In this session, learn what citizens and reporters don’t understand about the very complicated world of public pensions, and how to explain it to them, including making the best use of social media to provide information on pension costs and plan condition directly to the public.

 

Canadian Update

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
This discussion group will cover a wide range of informative topics including a research study on how tangible capital asset accounting has changed the financial statements of Canadian municipalities, how one Canadian municipality has used PSAB’s tangible capital asset accounting  as a catalyst to achieve long term funding and asset management solutions, as well as further results on alternative service delivery research conducted by Dalhousie University. It will provide delegates the unique opportunity to share information and concerns with members of GFOA's Committee on Canadian Issues.

 
Changes in Money Market Mutual Funds

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Recent regulatory changes that require increased transparency, quality, and liquidity in money market mutual funds and bank money market deposit accounts have caused finance officers to adapt their approaches to liquidity management. This session will address recent market dynamics and the additional investment products that have been created in money market funds. Strategies covered will include investments in ultra-short-term bond funds and separately managed accounts.


Changing Market and Practices for Large and Frequent Issuers

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
This session will highlight some of the significant issues facing large and frequent issuers in this ever-changing marketplace. Practitioners will discuss ways their debt management policies are changing to reflect MSRB regulations over advisors and broker/dealers, as well as market issues related to the Volcker Rule and Basel III standards. Experts will also speak out about new derivatives rules.  An overview of new and innovative financing options that may work well in today’s market will also be provided. 


The Cutting Edge: Recently Adopted GFOA Best Practices in Budgeting

Field of Study: Finance
The GFOA has recently adopted new best practices for budgeting on topics such as defining a structurally balanced budget, developing charges for internal services, and managing grants. This session will review the content of these new best practices and provide illustrations of their use. After attending this session you will be prepared to go back to your agency and put the latest GFOA best practices for budgeting to use.


Data Mining for Improved Results: Using Business Intelligence Tools

Field of Study: Business Management and Organization
As a result of automating transaction processing, ERP systems contain large amounts of data that can be extremely useful for management and decision making. Many governments have found ways to leverage that data by deploying business intelligence tools to generate better information for forecasting, planning, and decision making. In this session, attendees will hear from practitioners who have used these analytic tools to improve results.


The Day After: Developing an Effective Pension Funding Policy in the Wake of the New GASB Pension Standards

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
Until now, those interested in assessing whether a government is funding pension benefits in a sustainable manner could find the essential information they needed in the government’s financial statements. As a result of the GASB’s latest pension guidance, however, financial reports will no longer automatically provide the critical data needed to assess the adequacy of funding. This session will introduce participants to guidelines that recently were developed to help government employers establish a sound pension funding policy in light of this change.


Developing Policies to Contain Health-Care Costs

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
The State Health Care Cost Containment Commission, which is being organized by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, has begun work to develop practical state policies to contain health-care costs. Not only is health care a major contributor to our federal deficit and outstanding debt problem, but it is also a major contributor to the ongoing difficult fiscal position in many state and local governments. State and local government’s health-care markets and cultures differ substantially, and cost control strategies need to take these differences into account. In this session, commission members will discuss their aims and what they’ve determined since their first meeting.


Does IT Outsourcing Make Sense?

Field of Study: Business Management and Organization
For years, local governments have used IT outsourcing as a way to reduce up-front costs. As the market has begun to offer new service options, governments are also considering outsourcing as a way to improve the efficiency of IT services such as outsourced network and help desk staffing, software application support, and new hosting models. At this session, speakers will discuss successful models and analytic techniques for comparing options. Attend this session to get the latest on outsourcing from practitioners and industry representatives.


The Finance Officer as Business Process Analyst

Field of Study: Finance
As ERP systems and other technologies evolve, the role of staff is changing as well. Rather than requiring highly technical, proficient programmers, finance officers are finding that they need to become business analysts themselves so that they can understand, and help the IT staff understand, operational processes and the data needed to support them. This session will explore what it means to take on the role of business analyst, and how such a role can fit into the work of the finance department.

 

Finance Officer Emeritus:  How to Make the Most of Your New Retired Role
Field of Study: Personal Development
As the baby-boomers retire in large numbers, organizations are faced with the challenge of transitioning to the next generation of leaders.  In addition, those newly appointed retirees, must transition into their next phase of their career and life.  This session will provide information to assist “senior” level managers to help assist with that transition.  Topics discussed will include how to stay connected, how to find new opportunities, and how to leverage your past experience to continue to support the profession you love.

Getting Intentional about Fraud

Field of Study: Auditing (Governmental)
Fraud often is addressed only incidentally, as part of a more general discussion of internal control. This session proposes a more intentional approach that takes full advantage of specialized forensic techniques to detect and prevent fraud. It also will consider useful lessons to be learned from a recent highly publicized fraud that was uncovered in Dixon, Illinois.


Getting the Word Out: Effective Popular Reporting

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
Traditional financial reports, with their wealth of detail, can make it difficult for many potential users to find the information they need. Popular annual financial reports can help “bridge the gap” by presenting selected information from the comprehensive annual financial report in a simpler, more easily understood framework. This session will explore how to prepare an effective popular annual financial report, drawing upon the experience of participants in the GFOA’s Popular Annual Financial Reporting Program.


Getting Together: New GASB Guidance on Mergers and Acquisitions

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
Mergers, acquisitions, and transfers of operations often occur in the public sector. Unfortunately, the relevant private-sector guidance does not address the unique circumstances that typically surround public-sector combinations. GASB Statement No. 69 provides the authoritative guidance that previously was lacking on the proper accounting and financial reporting for government combinations. This session will offer a detailed examination of that guidance.


How to Report Deferred Outflows, Deferred Inflows, and Net Position

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
Recent GASB standards have created two entirely new financial statement elements, deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources. Likewise, the terminology used for the net difference between debits and credits on the statement of financial position has changed. As a practical matter, many financial statement preparers have been confused by these changes. This session is designed to provide participants with all of the information they need to implement the new guidance.


Improving Finance Department Performance Through Interdepartmental Cooperation

Field of Study: Finance
It is not uncommon for finance officers to struggle with getting the rest of the organization to comply with financial policies and procedures, and traditional enforcement methods often lead to results that fall short of compliance goals. But there are proven approaches to gaining the cooperation you need to improve your departmental outcomes. This session will highlight collaborative approaches for improving compliance across your organization. Attend this session to hear practical examples of cooperative methods for achieving compliance, efficiently and effectively.


Improving Financial Management Throughout Your Government: Learning from GFOA's Self-Assessment Model

Field of Study: Finance
GFOA’s new online financial management self-assessment tool enables governments to compare their current financial management practices to best practices and to pinpoint areas for improvement. This session will feature practitioners who will discuss what they learned and the changes they targeted. This session will also be broadcast as a live web-streaming event, so attend the session at the conference and sign up your team back home for the webcast to share the experience.


Improving Results with Lean Government

Field of Study: Finance
Generating savings while improving customer service is a daunting challenge. Lean Government provides a framework and proven methodology for meeting the challenge. Attend this session to hear the latest developments in the Lean Government approach and see how Lean has been used to achieve productivity gains, foster innovation, and improve communications. Practitioners will discuss tips for successfully implementing Lean techniques.


Infrastructure Financing in the 21st Century

Field of Study: Finance
Various governments, as well as the federal government, are looking to secure significant infrastructure projects as part of the economic recovery and economic development in their own communities. Whether it is transportation projects or traditional government infrastructure, this session will highlight some case studies that have worked in areas across the country and provide a review of various financing options available to meet economic development needs.


The Internal Control Framework: New and Improved

Field of Study: Auditing (Governmental)
The Council of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) recently substantially enhanced its comprehensive framework of internal control. Under the COSO’s new approach, each of the elements of a comprehensive framework of internal control will now be accompanied by specific principles and attributes. The COSO also offers guidance on how elements, principles, and attributes should be used in assessing the effectiveness of an internal control framework. This session will explore these important changes.


Is Your Cash Conversion Cycle As Efficient As It Could Be?

Field of Study: Finance
Efficiently converting receipts to cash or investments depends upon the quality of your technology policy, and operations. This session will focus on examples of how public-sector organizations have leveraged these factors. Speakers will discuss how they identified gaps in their operational processes and implemented technological solutions (such as desktop scanning of checks) to address the gaps.


It’s All in the Detail: A Look at the GASB’s Latest Implementation Guidance

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
At least once each year the GASB updates its Comprehensive Implementation Guide to provide financial statement preparers with practical guidance on the proper application of GASB standards in a variety of circumstances. This session will focus on the key changes to be found in the most recently updated version of the Comprehensive Implementation Guide.


Lean Process Improvement: A New Role for the Budget Office?

Field of Study: Finance
Lean techniques have been rapidly gaining popularity in state and local governments in recent years due to their potential to reduce costs, increase quality, and improve timeliness. One of the tasks in budget preparation is to accomplish these same results, so some governments have created Lean capabilities in the budget office to facilitate process improvement activities in operating departments. This session will describe the approach, risks inherent in incorporating Lean into the budget process, and the prospects for long-term success.


Legislative/Regulatory Update

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
This session will highlight the evolving legislative landscape and its effect on the municipal bond market and government’s ability to issue debt. Speakers will also highlight new SEC and MSRB rulemaking that will affect the ways in which governments interact with their outside finance professionals, rating agencies, and investors. 


Looking Beyond Disclosure - Importance of an Investor Relations Program

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
State and local governments have numerous disclosure responsibilities that must be adhered to throughout the lifetime of the bond. Governments should also be acutely aware of the importance to having a comprehensive investor relations program, one that not only highlights the disclosure materials the government develops, but also reminds investors of the overall fiscal health of the government itself. This session will address how to develop and maintain an investor relations program, from those governments that have done so recently, as well as provide a review of GFOA’s Best Practice on Investor Relations as well as other practices on the importance of disclosure issues.


Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Improving Grant Management

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
Governments that receive significant resources from grantors need to have in place an effective and efficient system for managing their grant contracts. This session will draw on real-life experience to suggest helpful strategies and practical action steps for governments seeking a better way to manage grants.


Managing and Reporting Market Risk in Investment Portfolios

Field of Study: Economics
Today’s interest rate environment and a shifting market challenge even the most experienced investors. Portfolio diversification is vital to protecting investments in this type of climate, yet each asset class presents its own set of risks. This session will focus on the unique challenges of managing and reporting risk in public-sector investment portfolios. Speakers will identify the most important risks in the current environment and procedures for managing them. They will also provide an overview of technologies used to fulfill GASB investment reporting requirements.


Managing Fiscal Distress: Opportunities and Lessons Learned

Field of Study: Finance

Many cities and counties across the country were hit hard by the recession, with high foreclosure rates, loss of state funding and limits on revenue-raising potential, and high unemployment. This session will feature finance practitioners who found creative ways to survive fiscal crisis. Attend this session to hear lessons learned that can help jurisdictions address fiscal distress in the future and maintain good practices as permanent reforms.


Market Outlook

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
With interest rates remaining low, there are numerous opportunities for governments that have new issuances in the market, as well as refundings. This session will address current and future market conditions and how they affect the type of financing instruments used by state and local governments - fixed-rate bonds, variable rate bonds, tax credit bonds, bank loans, derivatives, etc. The session will also provide an overview of when and what types of refundings may be right for your government. 


Measure for Measure: The GASB Tackles Measurement Approaches and Fair Value Reporting

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
The GASB recently has been exploring how different financial statement elements should be measured on the statement of position (for example, acquisition value vs.  remeasured value) and how fair value should be determined in situations where the use of fair value measures is appropriate. The session will examine the GASB’s decisions to date.


More Than Compliance: Accountability for Results in Performance Management

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
In the context of performance management, compliance with rules is considered a baseline form of accountability, but accountability takes on the added dimension of being on the line for achieving results for the public. Speakers at this session will explore topics related to performance accountability, including how it empowers operational agencies, how to delegate accountability, and how to use accountability levers to ensure that strategies are effectively addressing community needs.


The New GASB Pension Standards: What Does It All Mean?

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
The GASB recently issued a new pension standard that will fundamentally change how state and local government employers account for the cost of pension benefits in their financial statements. Unfortunately, the changes brought about by the new standard could easily lead to serious misunderstandings. This session, which is specifically designed for individuals with no special expertise in pension accounting, will provide a simple and straightforward explanation of what is about to change and the practical implications for decision makers.


The New Role of Defined Contribution Plans

Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications
The public sector, seeking ways to manage long-term risk and cost, is shifting toward a greater dependence on defined contribution plans -- which means governments need to evaluate how DC plans can best be used. Are they really less costly than DB plans? What about the social cost of shifting to DC-only? In this session, you’ll learn the best ways to provide DC plans and how to use smarter plan design strategies to improve participant outcomes within the current system, making investing easier and less expensive. Experts will share their recommended core DC plan components and provide strategies for making DC plans better.


New Tools for Managing and Planning for Capital Assets: Experience from Canada

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
As they emerge from recession, local governments need to make decisions about how to address aging capital assets and set spending priorities. This session will describe successful new approaches for reviewing capital assets and prioritizing capital projects based on the risks and consequences of asset failure. Practitioners from two Canadian municipalities who have used these approaches will discuss their experience.


Not Again! Getting a Handle on Common Financial Reporting Deficiencies

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
GFOA staff carefully track the most common deficiencies encountered in the process of reviewing the thousands of comprehensive annual financial reports submitted to the GFOA's Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program. This session is designed to help participants avoid the same or similar deficiencies in their own financial reporting.


The Pension Triangle: Working Together to Implement the New GASB Pension Standards

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
The new GASB pension standard will pose a special challenge for independent auditors of state and local governments that participate in multiple-employer pension plans. This session will identify the key issues that need to be addressed and suggest ways that independent auditors and pension plans can work together to provide auditors with the assurance they need regarding the various pension-related amounts that will be reported in employer financial statements as a direct result of GASB Statement No. 68.


A Perennial Challenge: Preventing Fraud in Revenue Collections

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Does your organization have effective controls in place for revenue collections? Is your government aware of new fraud prevention techniques? This session will identify potential areas for fraud in revenue collections, including online theft. Attend to learn more about the latest trends in fraud prevention and how to address your government's vulnerabilities.


Preparing a Timely CAFR: Beating the Six-Month Mindset

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
There is no question that timeliness significantly enhances the relevance of financial reports. Unfortunately, many financial statement preparers appear to have given up trying to issue their financial statements sooner than six months after the end of the fiscal year. This session will draw practical lessons from the experience of two governments that were able to break this “six-month mindset,” without the benefit of a large accounting staff or budget.


Presenting Financial Information In Tough Economic Times

Field of Study: Finance

Presenting financial information in an understandable way to the public, elected officials, and departmental management can be challenging when all is well; it becomes even more difficult when the news is bad. Your presentation must explain the situation to stakeholders in terms they can understand, communicate the gravity of the situation without creating panic, simultaneously emphasizing the need for action, and offer workable solutions. This session will provide successful presentation techniques and strategies for communicating information that may be hard to hear, but that stakeholders must be told.


Recognizing Fraud When You See It

Field of Study: Auditing (Governmental)
A challenging economic environment makes governments more vulnerable than ever to fraud. The session will explore practical ways to reduce a government’s exposure to fraud. It also will consider the special challenge posed by “cybercrime.”


Sizing your Reserves: How Much is Enough?

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
A reserve -- fund balance -- is an essential tool for financial flexibility and buffering the organization against risk. But how much fund balance is needed? Too little leaves the organization exposed to risk. Too much could result in over-taxing the community. This session will feature case studies of governments that have assessed their financial risks and translated findings into a target reserve amount. This session will also review other strategies that support building and using reserves sustainably. GFOA’s best practice related to fund balance will also be discussed.


Some Assembly Required: Making the Audit Committee Work

Field of Study: Auditing (Governmental)
The public-sector audit committee has a vital and irreplaceable role to play in ensuring the quality of a government's internal control and the reliability of its financial reporting. To be truly effective, however, an audit committee's members need to be educated and engaged. This session will examine successful strategies that governments have used to do just that.


Streamlining the Purchase to Pay Cycle

Field of Study: Finance
The financial effects of missed discounts, late payment fees, and ineffective cash management make it incumbent upon treasury managers to make payments in the most timely manner possible. This session will cover the latest cash management services available in the marketplace to provide improved efficiency and security of your payable process. Presenters will discuss improving the timeliness and accuracy of transaction reporting, the benefit of more effective management of cash outflows, and control over the daily cash position.


Tailor Made: The GFOA’s New Program for Cash Basis Financial Reports

Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental)
The United States counts literally tens of thousands of very small governments. For many of them, preparing financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) is not a viable option. This session will look at the GFOA's new Certificate of Conformance Program for Small Government Annual Financial Reports, which is intended to help small governments that use the modified cash basis of accounting rather than GAAP to improve the quality of their financial reporting.

Technologies for Financial Transparency: What's Out There?

Field of Study: Finance
Providing public access to financial data means more than simply providing data sets on the web. True public transparency means that information must not just be there, but be easily accessible and presented in formats non-experts can understand and use. Presenters at this session will discuss how they used technology to provide financial information in a variety of formats and met the needs of their diverse audiences. The session will also feature an introduction to the open data movement and the latest in data visualizations.


Technology Trends in Revenue Management

Field of Study: Finance
This session will provide an overview of some of the latest technology trends for local revenue collections. Representatives will discuss requirements to deploy technologies, such as remote data capture, buyer initiative payments, and debit card payments. The session will present a brief overview of how these types of technologies work, case studies on implementation, and a summary of regulations to consider.


Telling Your Story to the Rating Agencies

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Rating agency methodologies on muni credits are evolving and additional information is being sought and reviewed by the agencies. This session will focus on these new factors in the ratings process and how issuers can tell their story in a manner that will result in a positive rating experience. 


Up to the Minute: Understand Your Responsibilities under Health-Care Reform

Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications
Now that there’s no doubt that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will remain law, governments need to fully understand and prepare for the requirements that become effective in January 2014. Finance professionals who attend this session will learn what their governments must do now to be in compliance. Experts will explain crucial topics including how the state health insurance exchanges will work, how to identify full-time employees, and what to do about employer notice requirements and the employer shared responsibility penalty.


Using Social Media to Improve Results

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services

Social media describes a set of technology-based tools that promote connectivity and information sharing among individuals and groups. The explosion of these applications and the devices they run on continues. This session will explore ways in which governments have taken advantage of these tools in their internal operations and for communicating with the public. Attend this session to learn about tips and traps related to using social media in your jurisdiction.

Weighted Average vs Total Yield: You Make the Choice

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Two schools of thought about measuring portfolio performance are prevalent within the investment community Total yield is favored by some; others argue that total yield shields risky investment activity and that using the weighted average method to measure portfolio performance mitigates this risk, particularly for those only able to track investment performance on a periodic basis. Speakers at this session will explain how each is calculated, compare and contrast the two measures, and present real world examples of the implications of each strategy.


What’s New in Auditing Standards?

Field of Study: Auditing (Governmental)
This session will consider both recent and pending changes from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (generally accepted auditing standards), the Government Accountability Office (Government Auditing Standards), and the Office of Management and Budget (Single Audit) that will affect audits of state and local governments. Special emphasis will be placed on the new clarified auditing standards and on important proposed changes to OMB Circular A-133.


What’s New in Long-Term Financial Planning?

Field of Study: Finance
Budget planners know that all short-term budgets have long-term impacts. This is a do-not-miss session that will cover the latest innovations in long-term financial planning, drawing on academic research and the experience of practitioners in forecasting and new tools for strategy development and environment analysis. Presentations will feature case studies and GFOA's ongoing research into effective financial planning practices.


What They Don’t Know Might Hurt You: Trustee and Fiduciary Education

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Most public retirement plans provide little or no training for trustees and fiduciaries, but when plan stability and reputation are on the line, decision makers must be well informed on the issues and on their responsibilities. In this session, retirement plan managers will provide examples of successful training initiatives for decision makers, strategies for getting busy trustees and fiduciaries to participate, and the positive results that have accrued to their plans.


What You Need to Know about Actuarial Services Right Now

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
High-quality actuarial services factor strongly into the long-term soundness of a pension plan, while low-quality work can undermine that security. What you need to know is simple: What should you get from your actuary, how do you interpret it, and what do you do about it? In this session, you will learn how to identify the services your plan needs, how to develop a clear and concise RFP, the importance of funding valuations and discount rates, and the changes to the Actuarial Standards Board’s requirements related to actuarial communications.


When Governments Listen: Moving Toward Publicly Engaged Governing

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
Publicly engaged governing uses performance measures to change the relationship between the government and the public by inserting the public perspective into decision making on policy, programs, and operations. This session will include examples and success stories from years of success with public-centric government performance measurement. Speakers will offer insights and lessons for practitioners who want to improve their approach to performance management.

 

 Discussion Groups

 

Attaining Financial Sustainability

Field of Study: Finance
The term “financial sustainability” leaves a great deal of room for interpretation. What actions qualify as sustainable or promoting sustainability? More clarity would help governments gain a better understanding about whether they are on a sustainable path. This discussion group will address what it means to be financially sustainable and specific practices that characterize financial sustainability.

The GFOA Awards for Excellence

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
GFOA's Awards for Excellence Program honors innovative programs that exemplify outstanding financial management, focusing on practical documented work that promotes improved public finance. Award winners will be present at stations set up at this discussion session to provide information on their projects and programs, from concept through implementation through evaluation. GFOA staff will also discuss the goals of the program, how to apply, and the characteristics of winning entries.

The New World of Data Management: Practices for the Public Sector

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
One of the byproducts of deploying new technology is the capture of significantly larger amounts of data than in the past. Not only does someone need to decide what information to capture, but how to safeguard and manage it, especially when the volume of information has dramatically increased. Attendees at this session will hear strategies for deciding what data need to be captured and stored, managing the risk of data loss or misuse, and working with large volumes of data without being overwhelmed.

Pensions: Getting It Right

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
The long-term fiscal sustainability of defined benefit pension funds is one of the most vital topics facing government finance 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 discussion 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 retaining the defined benefit pension structure.

Should You Sign That?

Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
More recently finance officers and elected officials have been asked to sign new documents and contracts from their financing partners. These include new contracts from rating agencies, as well as acknowledgement of disclosures and information from bankers and financial advisors. GFOA members will discuss what types of new documents they’ve seen come across their desks, and answer questions related to signing – or not signing – these documents.


Small Towns, Big Issues: Treasury Management for Smaller Governments

Field of Study: Finance
This session will address the challenges of treasury managers in smaller jurisdictions who must keep pace with new practices despite juggling multiple responsibilities and with little or no staff support. Low cost strategies, such as reviewing and adjusting financial policies to lower administrative overhead, will be discussed along with ways to assess business processes and identify potential areas for improvement. Audience members will be encouraged to participate in the discussion and offer their own recommendations.

Splitting the Check: Practical Guidance on Developing a Cost Allocation Plan

Field of Study: Finance
Developing an effective cost allocation plan can be a real challenge. This session will offer practical help to those facing the challenge of developing a cost-allocation plan. Special attention will be paid to common mistakes and practical ways to avoid them.