State/Provincial Update - August 31, 2016

Conference Registration Opening Soon 



We’re very excited about GFOA’s upcoming conference in Denver, May 21−24, 2017. Registration for the conference, first-time conference attendee scholarships, and housing will open in early October. All GFOA state and provincial representatives and presidents will be able to take advantage of the early government registration fee ($380) through the span of the conference. If you have any questions about the conference, contact GFOA.

The call for session topics and speakers is currently 
posted on GFOA’s website here.

 

Sign up as a Host Viewing Site for GFOA’s Upcoming Web-Stream Events


Encourage your members to register for GFOA’s upcoming web-stream events: First Annual Better Budgeting web-streaming event (October 6, 2016, and January 12, 2017) and 21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update web-streaming event (November 3, 2016, and December 1, 2016). 



Save with group discounts! Invite your members to view the training program together!

There are no direct costs to your organization for hosting a viewing site. Out-of-pocket expenses, such as facility and/or equipment rental or food/refreshments will not be reimbursed, however. To help offset these costs, the GFOA offers a revenue sharing program, through which organizations will earn a percentage of their site’s net revenue based on the total number of paid participants. The program is open to state associations and government entities, but is not open to private-sector organizations. To sign up as a host viewing site, contact Barb Mollo.

 

There’s Still Time to Register for GFOA’s Internet Training, What to Look for: A Lay Person’s Guide to Local Government Financial Reports

Wednesday, September 14 ● 2:00−4:00 pm (Eastern)


Internet training ● 2 CPE credits



Local government financial reports provide a wealth of data that can be used to assess a government’s finances. However, financial reports for local governments differ substantially in many regards from their private-sector counterparts. This two-hour interactive Internet training program will combine lecture and exercises to provide participants a basic understanding of these differences so they can approach local government financial reports with a reasonable level of confidence and avoid many common misunderstandings. 

Read more and register today! If you have any questions about the training, e-mail GFOA Training.


New to Public-Sector Budgeting? Don’t Miss GFOA’s Upcoming Budget Analyst Training Academy in Chicago



Sign up for GFOA’s Budget Analyst Training Academy, September 27−30, at GFOA’s offices in Chicago, Illinois. The course will focus on skills and techniques critical to public-sector budget analysts. Using a combination of exercises, discussions, and lectures, the course will provide an overview of the budget development process, including best practices and techniques required in effective budgeting. 



Space is limited! Registration form / Register online / More information / Questions? E-mail GFOA Training

Yellow StarInterested in bringing GFOA’s Popular Accounting Academy to 
 your State Association?

If you are looking to provide additional training opportunities in your area at an affordable cost, then take advantage of purchasing materials for GFOA’s five-day Accounting Academy course. GFOA will send your organization the course materials prepared by Stephen J. Gauthier, Director of GFOA’s Technical Services Center and author of Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (“GAAFR” or “Blue Book”) and numerous other GFOA publications. This is an excellent way to train your staff without leaving the office. For details and pricing information, please contact Barb Mollo.

 

Colorado Counties Benefit from Shared Services

Reacting to a changing environment is nothing new for local governments, but determining the best response to change can still be difficult. Pueblo County, Colorado, used shared services to address its changing environment and made unexpected gains in the bargain. Faced with increasing software costs due to mandatory system upgrades, several Colorado counties began looking for other property assessment software options. Pueblo, one of the larger counties in the area, found out about the challenge its peers faced and offered to help by providing access to Pueblo County’s system. It was quickly determined, however, that just offering the software was insufficient because many of the neighboring counties lacked the capacity to manage such a system—they would also need support. From here, the counties started exploring a shared services model.

Thirteen elected officials representing seven counties ultimately participated in the partnership. Since Pueblo had a large existing hardware infrastructure and the greatest familiarity with the system, the officials determined that Pueblo would host the application and provide software as a service (SaaS)-like function to the other counties. Before entering into the agreement, Pueblo was in the process of adding the IT infrastructure capacity it would need to migrate to a virtualized environment. The only new expenses, therefore, would be the cost of increasing virtual desktop capacity for the 50 users in other counties. The functional categories for the software included property assessment management for assessor’s office, property tax management for treasurer’s office, geographic information service (GIS), application server hosting, and GIS data warehousing. In keeping with the SaaS model, user support was managed by Pueblo’s existing help desk system. Support requests for software issues went to Pueblo’s application development group; process questions related to property taxes went to the county assessor’s office; treasury questions went to the treasurer’s office; and GIS-related issues went to the GIS group.

The shared services partnership did not require any new funding from Pueblo County. As the project progressed, Pueblo added staff to accommodate demand, but it was able to offset costs with revenue generated from the program. Even after adding staff, the Pueblo County IT department reduced its budget by 14% in the first year, and it forecasts an overall reduction of 25% for future years. This was accomplished while keeping the fees paid by the participating counties equivalent the support fees they’d paid on their previous software.

The partnership provided additional abilities for the smaller counties, which gained disaster recovery for their data and web-based query functionality for property records, making them accessible to the public. Some of the participating counties didn’t have GIS, so they were able to avoid purchasing GIS systems and the corresponding databases. Pueblo also provided full ArcGIS editing capabilities to make multiple map layers available to the public. The shared GIS capabilities also positioned the region to address natural disasters more efficiently. Other benefits included a uniform approach to property assessment that allowed for improved sales analysis.

The potential for combining shared services into customized delivery models is endless and will become broader as technology evolves. However they are packaged and managed, shared services can be a potent for providing more efficient government services at a lower cost.

More information is available on the county’s website.

Related Publications:


Related Best Practices/Advisories:

 

Certified Public Finance Officers (CPFO) Program

The CPFO Program of GFOA is a broad educational self-study program designed to verify knowledge in the disciplines of government finance. To earn the CPFO designation, candidates must pass a series of five examinations covering the major disciplines of public finance. 

There are now 661 individuals that have achieved the CPFO designation. The next CPFO exams are taking place this Fall at locations across the U.S. Click here for more information about the exams and the Certification Program.

If you have any questions about the CPFO Program, contact Jim Phillips, Senior Program Manager.

Congratulations to the following individuals who recently achieved a CPFO designation: 


William Ford, Assistant Finance Director, Metro, Oregon

Jessica Hansen, Deputy Finance Officer, Douglas County, Oregon

Barbara Horlacher, Accountant II, Hanover County Public Utilities, Virginia

John Hulsey, Public Service Assistant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Georgia

Russell Royal, Financial Manager, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, Georgia

Ann Shawver, Assistant Professor of Accounting, Radford University, Virginia

Click here for a listing of all active CPFOs that is searchable by state!

 

GFOA Awards Program Update

GFOA encourages and recognizes excellence in financial reporting, budgeting, and financial management by granting awards to those governments that meet program standards. Below is latest program update:

  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program). Extensions are available if you are not able to meet the normal submission deadline.

GFOA established the CAFR Program in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. Over 4,000 governments participate in the program each year which include all types (general purpose and special purpose) and all sizes.

NEW! It’s easy to participate! Once the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) is prepared, submit it along with a completed application. The normal submission deadline is six months following the government’s fiscal year end. April fiscal year ended reports should be submitted to GFOA by the end of October, and June fiscal year ended reports should be submitted to GFOA by the end of December. For example a June 30, 2016, fiscal year ended report should be submitted to GFOA by December 31, 2016.


Extensions are still available if you are not able to meet the normal submission deadline. Requests to extend the deadline may be made one month at a time as a result of factors, such as, employee turnover, implementation of major pronouncements, audit issues, etc. You can request an extension by e-mailing CAFRprogram @ gfoa.org.

Click here if you are interested in participating in the CAFR Program or serving as a reviewer. 


  • GFOA’s Latest Budget Awards Program Winners

NEW! View list of governments in your state that earned the Budget Award in July 2016. Budgets that are initial winners of this award are identified by the phrase “FIRST-TIME WINNER.” The GFOA encourages you to contact each of the first-time award winners and to offer to arrange a formal presentation of the award. If you have any questions regarding the award winners, please contact Kathie Schultz, Senior Program Associate, GFOA Technical Services Center.

  • Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award Program First-Time Winners


GFOA’s Popular Annual Financial Reporting (PAFR) Program recognizes individual governments that successfully produce high quality annual reports which are specifically designed to be easily accessible and understandable to the general public and other interested parties.

NEW! Congratulations to the following governments for achieving the first-time Award:

− North Slope Borough, Alaska

− Alameda-Contra Costa Transit, California

− Costa Mesa Sanitary District, California

− Fairfield, California

− Modesto, California

− Moreno Valley, California

− Fort Dodge Community School District, Iowa

− Johnson County, Iowa

− Greenville Utilities Commission, North Carolina

− Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, New Mexico

− Delaware City Schools, Ohio

− Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System, Oklahoma

− Roseburg, Oregon

− Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, Texas

Read more about the PAFR Program or e-mail us.

 

Do you have an Upcoming Annual Conference?



If so, please fill out the “GFOA Promotional Items” form, checking off any materials you are interested in receiving for your upcoming annual conference. The form is interactive, so you can type and save your changes directly to the document. Submit the completed form at least two months before your event to Kate Southard. Please note: raffle items are limited to annual conferences.

If your state or provincial association has any new educational or mentor programs to promote or events at your annual conference to connect fellow finance officers and advance the profession, we will share the information in this monthly memorandum. Please send a brief description of your program to Natalie Laudadio.

 

Washington Update



Click here for the latest Washington Update prepared by our Federal Liaison Center in Washington, DC. More information may also be found on the Federal Government Relations section of GFOA’s website.


Help Us Keep Our State/Provincial Officer Directory Up-To-Date

If you have not done so yet, please review the State/Provincial Officer Directory we have on file and let us know if you have any changes. Any changes can be e-mailed to Kate Southard.