Organizational Assessment

The following illustration shows the GFOA’s approach to assessing the organization of the finance function in local government. Local governments across the country want their accounting function to meet user needs, provide the support necessary to achieve strategic goals, and assure taxpayers that appropriate financial stewardship is being exercised.


org assessemnt chart

Assessment criteria used by GFOA are based on best practices in local government financial management.  A successful finance function must provide high quality service in four main areas.  These activities determine not just operational efficiency, but the reputation and trust that are engendered both within and outside the organization.  In addition to these criteria, GFOA also reviews the following “checklist” of factors related to staffing, technology, and the business processes used in that department.


1. Financial Management

  • Decision Support/Analysis

    • Strategic planning

    • Cost analysis, budget analysis

    • Interpretation of results

    • Performance measures/tools

  • Reporting

    • Timely and accurate annual report

    • Management reporting for stewardship,

      accountability and management support

    • Special reports

  • Control

    • Effective governing body oversight

    • Effective system of internal control

    • High compliance rates

    • Risks identified and managed

  • Transaction processing

    • Timely

    • Accurate

    • Efficient

2. Cross-cutting Practices and Tools

  • Business Processes

    • Documented and regularly updated

    • Non-value added work minimized

    • Use of technology maximized

    • Efficiency maximized

    • Goals supported

  • Technology

    • Aligned with organization’s needs

    • Configured correctly-useable

    • Applications optimized

    • Regularly updated

  • Staffing

    • Staffing levels adequate

    • Skills match tasks and responsibility

    • Training regularly provided

    • Communication regular

    • Roles/responsibilities clear

    • Purpose and goals clear

    • Staff motivated