State/Provincial Update - February 22, 2017

Annual Conference Update 

With more than 3,200 conference attendees already registered and more registrations coming in, we’re excited for this year’s big event! This year’s session listings are posted here. (Attendees do not sign up for sessions in advance. Once onsite, attend the sessions of your choice.) Concurrent sessions begin at 1:30 pm on Sunday and end at 12:10 pm on Wednesday. Earn more than 20 CPE credits with your participation.

  • If you have not yet done so, we ask that you please list the 111th Annual Conference 
dates (May 21–24) on you website along with a link to GFOA’s website.

  • A special discounted registration fee of $380 is available for GFOA’s state and 
 provincial representatives and presidents. To receive the discount, submit the 
conference registration form and write “State/Provincial GFOA President or 
Representative” on the form. 

  • Click here to view a list of how many first-time annual conference attendee 
scholarships have been awarded per state and province (current as of 2/14/17). Please 
note that no more scholarships are available for the States of California and Colorado. 
Encourage your members to apply for the scholarship if they are national GFOA 
government members who have never attended a conference — 50 are available per 
 state or province. For more details and to receive an application, e-mail GFOA.

  • Help us plan and sign up your guests! There is no registration fee for guests or 
children, but they must be registered to attend GFOA’s Welcome Reception and to be 
 allowed in the Exhibit Hall. If you have not yet provided the names of guests and 
children who will be accompanying you to the conference, e-mail their names to
  • Will your organization be holding a meeting or social event at the annual 
conference? If so, please e-mail the name, phone number, and e-mail address of your 
 main contact as well as the date, time, and location of your event to Kate Southard. We 
will have a listing of events available at the Message Center onsite in Denver.

Note: We ask that your social events not conflict with any GFOA sessions or social events. Open nights to host a hospitality event are: Saturday, May 20, after 5:00 pm; Sunday, May 21, after 8:00 pm; and Monday, May 22, after 6:30 pm.

  • Purchase tickets to GFOA’s Denver Rocks! closing event on Tuesday, May 23, from 7:00 to 10:30 pm at the Colorado Convention Center. What better way to top 
off your stay in Denver than with good food, friends, and entertainment? After 
enjoying a buffet dinner in the convention center’s ballroom, attendees and guests will 
head over to the state-of-the art Bellco Theatre for an exclusive concert by the 
Barenaked Ladies. The night is sure to be fun! Click here to buy tickets.


GFOA State/Provincial 
Representatives and Presidents Meeting
 Saturday, May 20, 2017 ● Colorado Convention Center
(3:00−4:00 pm tentative ● room number TBA)

Please attend this meeting to learn more about the GFOA’s activities and to share information with your fellow state/provincial GFOA colleagues.

We urge you to e-mail any suggested topics for roundtable discussions to add to the meeting’s agenda to Natalie Laudadio. Last year’s discussions covered the following topics: describe your working relationships with neighboring finance officers associations; discuss the most commonly expressed need you hear from your members; and implementing GFOA’s awards programs.

A finalized agenda will be distributed before the meeting. We look forward to seeing you!

Travel Resources for the Annual Conference:

  • Reserve your housing through GFOA’s official hotel block.
  • Take advantage of GFOA’s arranged travel discounts with Delta, Southwest, United and Hertz Rental Car.
  • Denver has many attractions, events, and places to visit to help make your conference trip enjoyable ─ sign up for this year’s tours!


Take Advantage of GFOA Training Close To Home

Visit GFOA’s training schedule for course descriptions, speaker listings, and to register for courses posted through March 2018. Keep watch on the website for more courses to be added, including webinars. Earn CPE credits at an affordable cost and save with early and group discounts. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.


Best Practices in School Budgeting Framework Aligns Resources and Student Outcomes

GFOA’s best practices in school guidelines are centered on a comprehensive budget process framework focused on academic and finance collaboration to best align resources and desired student outcomes. The framework represents the culmination of a multi-year effort led by GFOA, with input from numerous school district officials and other experts in education finance to develop guidelines for better budgeting tailored specifically for school districts.

The recommended framework is not limited to financial topics. A robust budget process should engage and communicate with stakeholders, along with prioritizing goals, allocating resources, and tracking progress. The budget process is a plan, a tool for transparency, and a structure for ensuring accountability.

Budgeting—the process by which programs and services are planned and funds are allocated to accomplish their goals— is crucial to any organization’s success. The need for better budgeting is ever more pressing given the constant pressure to provide high-quality services with limited resources. This is especially true in school districts, where budget decisions can affect the education of future generations.

GFOA’s best practices in school budgeting framework begins with guidelines for district-wide communication and collaboration, including setting baseline expectations for what the budget process will achieve. The focus then shifts to developing robust goals and integrating the process with the district’s strategic plan, including developing a comprehensive package for implementing a district’s goals, or instructional priorities. Also included are guidelines on how to develop a strategic financial plan and a budget document that communicates not only the district’s financial plan but also student learning objectives. To help assess and improve programs, services, and the budget process, recommendations for incorporating continuous improvement principles are embedded throughout the framework.

The framework is organized around five major steps or phases: 1) plan and prepare; 2) set instructional priorities; 3) pay for priorities; 4) implement plan; and 5) ensure sustainability. Included within each of the five major steps are more specific sub-steps, which provide details on how to implement the best practices, including supporting evidence and research on their effectiveness. Each of the 15 sub-steps include a highlight of recommendations, the key points, and also how the recommendations meet the criteria related to GFOA’s Award for Best Practices in School Budgeting

The School District of Fort Atkinson in Wisconsin recently invited GFOA staff to present to the district’s senior leadership team the Best Practices in School Budgeting, a framework for an improved budget process. Fort Atkinson is part of the GFOA’s Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting, an early adopter group of more than 70 districts from across the U.S. that are working to improve their budget processes. The best practices advocate for improved collaboration between finance and academic leaders and the advancement of student outcomes through more effective use of resources.

GFOA staff facilitated the day-long session that focused on a comprehensive overview of the framework and a more intensive discussion of cost-effectiveness concepts, including academic return on investment. Fort Atkinson will use this discussion to help develop district-wide budget principles that will set baseline expectations for its budget process, centered on the district’s core values.

Districts can find additional resources that complementing the best practices in school budgeting—including tools for implementing recommendations and case studies on districts use of the framework—

For more information about GFOA’s best practices in school guidelines, contact Matt Bubness.


Interested in Acquiring Hands-On, Practical Implementation of GFOA’s Best Practices in School Budgeting?

Don’t miss GFOA’s in-person seminar on School Budgeting Best Practices March 9-10, at GFOA’s offices in Chicago, Illinois, or March 14-15 at the Hanover County and Hanover County Public Schools Fleet Services Building in Ashland, Virginia. Participants will get hands-on, practical information about how to implement GFOA’s new best practices in school budgeting, including guidelines for developing a comprehensive budget process that fosters collaboration between academic and finance staff on creating strategic goals. The end goal is a focus on aligning scarce resources with optimal student achievement. Tools from GFOA’s Smarter School Spending website will also be highlighted; these examples will help participant understanding and offer lessons they can apply to their own budgets.

Space is limited. Earn 16 CPE credits with your participation. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOARegister today!

DON’T MISS! Sign up for Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting, May 19, in Denver, Colorado – a preconference session – featuring leaders in education finance and districts implementing the Best Practices in School Budgeting framework.


New Certified Public Finance Officers (CPFO) 

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

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

  • Jeremiah Breer, Deputy CFO for Trusts, Vermont League of Cities & Towns
  • Jennifer Brody, Accountant, Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Sarah Cotton, Finance Director, Lino Lakes, Minnesota
  • Cecil Eastman, Sr. Budget Analyst, South Bend, Indiana
  • Regis Ebner, Jr., Assistant Town Manager, Town of McCandless, Pennsylvania
  • Matt Lawn, City Treasurer, Goddard, Kansas
  • Patricia Merrill, Manager Fiscal Services – Finance, Kenosha County, Wisconsin
  • Gary Swink, Finance Director/Assistant City Manager, Lexington, Virginia

The CPFO exams will be available this spring at locations across the U.S. 

To date, there are 678 individuals who have achieved the CPFO designation. Click here for a listing of all active CPFOs that is searchable by state. If you have any questions about the CPFO Program, visit the CPFO webpage or contact Jim Phillips, Senior Program Manager.


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 the latest Program update:

  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) 

GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (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. More than 4,200 governments, participate in the program each year, including all types (general purpose and special purpose) and sizes.

Once the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) is prepared, governments submit it to GFOA along with a completed application. The normal submission deadline is six months following a government’s fiscal year end.

The due date to submit the September 30, 2016, fiscal-year ended reports to the CAFR Program is March 31, 2017. Extensions are available if you are not able to meet the submission deadline. You can request an extension by e-mailing the CAFR program.

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

  • GFOA’s Budget Awards Program

Each year reviewers for the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program (Budget Award Program) identify what they consider to be truly outstanding examples of compliance with each of the 27 criteria used to judge budget documents submitted to the Budget Awards Program. Budget preparers and others who wish to benefit from these outstanding examples can do so by simply:

      • Click here for a list of the specific budget documents identified as outstanding examples of each criterion; and
      • Click here to access a PDF of the 2016 budget documents or here for the 2015 budget documents. 

View a list of governments in your state that earned GFOA’s Budget Award in December 2016 and January 2017. Entities that are receiving the Budget Award for the first time are identified by the phrase “FIRST-TIME WINNER.” 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 John Fishbein, Senior Program Manager, GFOA Technical Services Center. GFOA’s Budget Awards home page also provides a list of all of the winners of the ward, accompanied by a PDF of their award-winning budget document.

  • Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program for State Governments

GFOA is pleased to announce the inauguration of a state budget awards program designed specifically for state governments. GFOA will accept submissions to the new program starting with state budget documents for the fiscal year that begins January 1, 2017. The existing program for states will no longer be available for submission for fiscal years that begin after January 1, 2017. For more information about the new program, click here. 

  • Popular Annual Financial Reporting (PAFR) Award Program First-Time Winners

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

GFOA would like to congratulate the following governments for achieving the 
 Award for the first time:
− City of Geneva, Illinois
− Village of Oswego, Illinois
− Village of Winfield, Illinois

Read more about the PAFR Program or e-mail us if you have any questions.


Washington Update

View the latest brochure distributed to Congress by GFOA’s Washington, DC office. Click here to access the latest Washington Update. More information may also be found on the Federal Government Relations section of GFOA’s website.


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.