State/Provincial Update - July 27, 2016

We hope that you’re having a great Summer!

Don’t Miss GFOA’s Upcoming Web-Stream Events!
View training sessions using the latest video and audio streaming technology from the convenience of your computer.

  • First Annual Better Budgeting web-streaming event  ─ October 6, 2016, and
    January 12, 2017 (encore
    ) The program is designed to equip those on the front lines of local budgeting to do an even better job meeting the many practical challenges they must face from day to day and from year to year. Save with group discounts!
    Registration form / More information & Register Online
  • 21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update web-streaming event ─ November 3, 2016, and  December 1, 2016 (encore) Learn everything you need to know about the most recent developments in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments, including the latest GASB statements, exposure drafts, and implementation guidance. Take advantage of early and group discounts!
    Registration form / More information & Register Online

Sign Up as a Host Viewing Site

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.

 

GFOA Conference Logo

Think Ahead to GFOA’s 2017 Conference

GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference will take place May 21−24, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. GFOA is currently accepting topic and speaker suggestions for the conference here.

Special offer: All GFOA state and provincial representatives and presidents will be able to take advantage of the early government registration fee through the span of the conference. Registration for the conference, information about first-time attendee scholarships, and housing details will be posted to GFOA’s website in the fall.

If you have any questions about the conference, contact GFOA.

 

Catch Up on GFOA Internet Training Courses

CD recordings of past GFOA Internet training courses are available. If you took part in any of these desktop seminars, listening to a CD is a great way to refresh your memory. Also, check the listing for programs you weren’t able to catch the first time around – these MP3 audio recordings offer a great opportunity to catch up on what you missed. They are also ideal for in-house training. Click here for details and the order form or order online.

Questions? E-mail GFOA Publications

Missed sessions at GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference?

Download the audio recordings, which are available for each session at GFOA’s May 22−25 Annual Conference in Toronto.

Order form / Order online

CPE credits are not rewarded for listening to the recordings.

 

e-Book Now Available for Avoiding Common Mistakes in Interpreting Financial Statements

We are all familiar with the notion of optical illusions, such as a mirage in the desert or the wheels on a speeding car that appear to be turning backward. So too in local government financial statements, certain items are not always necessarily what they at first appear to be. Such “financial statement illusions” can easily lead to serious misinterpretation and bad decisions.

GFOA’s new publication, An Elected Official’s Guide: Interpreting Local Government Financial Statements — How to Avoid 25 Common Mistakes (available in both e-Book and print form), aims to help minimize that risk by examining 25 specific and commonly encountered mistakes. The goal is not just to serve those who seek to improve their own knowledge of local government financial reporting, but also to assist financial reporting professionals who desire a practical approach for sharing their knowledge with others.

Take advantage of quantity discounts! For information, e-mail GFOA Publications.

Download the order form (mail, fax, or scan and e-mail to GFOA) or order online

There’s Still Time to Register for Upcoming Immersion Courses in Chicago!

Register to participate in GFOA’s popular Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reportingor Budget Analyst Training Academy at GFOA’s offices in Chicago, Illinois:

  • Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (August 1−5).  Space is limited! Accountants and auditors new to the public sector must immediately face the daunting challenge of familiarizing themselves with the highly specialized rules, guidelines, and practices applicable to state and local governments. This intensive five-day workshop, intended for those who already possess at least a basic knowledge of private-sector accounting, combines lecture, discussion, and exercises to help newcomers make this difficult, but essential, transition. Registration form / More information & Register Online
  • Budget Analyst Training Academy (September 27−30). Space is limited! 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. Registration form / More information & Register Online

If you have any questions about the above courses, e-mail GFOA Training.

Interested in bringing GFOA’s 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

 

Back to Basics in Los Angeles: Data Dashboards

As part of the mayor’s Back to Basics program, the City of Los Angeles, California, embarked on an open data initiative aimed at providing up-to-date information about the city’s performance on key initiatives and progress toward city-wide goals. The open data portion of the Back to Basics program sought to provide residents and employees with information that would help them better understand the city’s challenges, creating greater visibility that would lead to solutions. 

To accomplish this goal, the city’s chief data officer developed a data dashboard for the mayor, city staff, and residents. The dashboard tracks key performance indicators, providing up-to-date information that shows how the city is performing and a clear picture of where the city is and where it hopes to be. Problem areas can be detected earlier, and resources can be allocated to fix them. The board tracks whatever is important to the city – fire department response times; water and power usage; poverty, homelessness, and crime.

The city believes that its investment in and use of dashboard data sends a message to the business community as well – that Los Angeles is serious about addressing its largest challenges and tech-savvy enough to meet them. The dashboard highlights the government’s level of comfort with technology and performance management.

In fact, Los Angeles has found the data dashboard to work so well it has offered the tool, for free, to any other cities that wish to use it. That offer has been accepted by more 25 cities so far.

More information is available on the city’s website.

Related Publications:

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 654 individuals that have achieved the CPFO designation. The next CPFO exams are taking place this Summer and 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:

Kevin Beltz, Program Manager, Stockton, California

Daniel Jordan, Director of Finance, La Canada Flintridge, California

Nicole Larson, Finance Director, Vernon Hills, Illinois

Mette Richardson, Finance Director, Grass Valley, California

Kyle Slattery, Audit Supervisor, County of Santa Barbara, California

Christen Wilcox, Senior Accountant, Goodyear, Arizona

Kendall Williams, Interim Director of Budget & Finance, Washington County, 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.

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. Requests to extend the deadline may be made one month at a time as a result of various factors (e.g., employee turnover, implementation of major pronouncements, audit issues, etc.).

Extensions are available if you are not able to meet the normal submission deadline.  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

View list of governments in your state that earned the Budget Award in June 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.

Congratulations to the following governments for achieving the first-time Award:
− City of Phoenix, Arizona
− City of Livermore, California
− City of Ankeny, Iowa
− Baltimore Fire & Police Employees' Retirement System, Maryland
− City of New York, New York
− Pitt County, North Carolina
− Jackson County, Oregon
− City of Rock Hill, South Carolina
− Eagle Mountain City, Utah

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.