State/Provincial Update - May 26, 2015

Help us keep our State/Provincial Officer Directory up-to-date

Please provide us with the 2015 information for all positions for your state or provincial association with term dates, as well as your association’s upcoming conference dates and locations, and website address. Please e-mail this information to Ailene Upton.

Are you registered yet for GFOA’s annual conference?

Thank you to those who have signed up so far to participate in GFOA’s 109th annual conference on May 31-June 3 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you have not done so yet, housing can be reserved through GFOA’s official hotel block, and you can begin planning your conference schedule. Click here to view this year’s sessions.

If you have not yet registered, please be aware of the following opportunities:

  • Special offer to state/provincial presidents and representatives. All of our state/provincial presidents and representatives who sign up by May 1 are eligible for the advanced early conference registration fee of $380. Please submit the conference registration form and write “State/Provincial GFOA President or Representative” on the form.
  • Early discount deadline approaching. Please encourage your members to register early. If they register by April 7, they can take advantage of the early discounted registration fee. [They can also save an additional 10 percent if they sign up with three or more colleagues and submit their registration forms and payments together.]
  • Scholarships for GFOA active government members who have not previously participated in the annual conference. Fifty scholarships will be awarded per state or province in the amount of the full-conference registration fee to first-time conference attendees who are active national GFOA government members. For details and an application, e-mail firstannualconference@gfoa.org. Please note that the State of Pennsylvania has reached the fifty scholarship limit.

For all those that plan to attend, see the Philadelphia Phillies play during your visit. Take advantage of discounted tickets. Click here for more information. If you have any questions on the conference, please e-mail GFOA Conference.


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 Natalie Laudadio. We will have a listing of events available at the Message Center onsite in Philadelphia.

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 30, after 5:00 pm; Sunday, May 31, after 8:00 pm; and Monday, June 1, after 5:00 pm.


GFOA State/Provincial Representatives and Presidents meeting

This year’s meeting will take place on Saturday, May 30, from 3:00-4:00 pm, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (room number TBA). We ask that you 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. We have received the following topics to date: “Successful tools for member communications” and “Communication and networking among chapters between conferences.”

You will receive a finalized agenda before the meeting date. We look forward to seeing you there!

Social media isn’t going anywhere

Communications devices and social media outlets are ubiquitous, providing ways for individuals to share their thoughts and opinions on a global scale. Ironically, there are also social media sites that help in cloaking communications. Social media is not going to go away anytime soon, and public-sector organizations should acknowledge that they exist and that there are positive aspects to their existence. At the same time, there should be a good strategic reason for their existence within an organization.

Some employers research social media sites before hiring employees. Disciplining employees for social media posts can create problems, unless the post breaches safety or security policies. Some organizations restrict access to social media sites while employees are at work, but IT administrators must keep in mind that doing so may not be a good strategy if your organization communicates to its constituents through social media sites or if employees rely on social media for professional development, best practice guidance, or peer-to-peer networking.

Organizations are most vulnerable to temporary posting sites, which allow users to exchange messages that auto-delete after a set period of time. An application such as SnapChat, which is typically used for social communications, allows users to share messages and videos. More clandestine communications are offered through services such as Wickr. These services allow users to send encrypted messages that are not stored on any server, and each transmission is scrambled differently. This kind of tool offers numerous possibilities for security breaches.

Although it is not an encompassing solution regarding social media, legal experts advise employers to develop employee policies regarding the use of technology (including personal devices) in the workplace as well as providing guidance to employees regarding social media postings. The National Labor Relations Board provides some guidance, but it is best to consult legal experts specializing in employee use of social media before developing a policy.
If you have any questions, please contact Rob Roque.
What is internal control?

There are many different types of governments, but all of them share certain basic objectives: effectiveness, efficiency, safeguarding of assets, reliable reporting, and compliance. Internal control provides reasonable assurance that a government is, in fact, meeting all of those objectives. An Elected Official’s Guide: Internal Control is specifically designed to offer non-specialists – be they members of the governing board, staff members without accounting or auditing expertise, or ordinary citizens – the information they need to understand what internal control is, how it operates, and who is responsible. Non-audit professionals are expected to play an active role in internal control and are being held accountable for it in their jobs. The text of this publication is written in an easily understandable and practical question-and-answer format to provide finance professionals with the information they need to know ─ nothing more and nothing less. The publication reflects the important changes that resulted from the most recent authoritative guidance on internal control set forth in the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations’ (COSO) revised and expanded version of its classic Internal Control – Integrated Framework (COSO Report), released in 2013.
Available in both E-BOOK and PRINT form! Click here to read more and to access the order form. Click here to purchase online. If interested in information on quantity discounts, e-mail GFOA Publications.

New data has been added to the GFOA's Financial Indicators Database

Thousands of state and local governments participate each year in the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (Certificate Program). The comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) that they submit to the Certificate Program constitute an incomparable source of information on state and local government finance.

For almost 20 years, the GFOA has collected key data elements from the CAFRs submitted to the Certificate Program for the benefit of researchers and others interested in identifying trends in state and local government finance or points of reference for evaluating data in individual reports. The GFOA makes this information available each year in spreadsheet form on CD for municipalities, counties, and school districts. These CDs can be purchased either by year, type of government, or as a set. Detail on specific data elements is included in the following databases:

  • Financial Indicators Database for municipalities
  • Financial Indicators Database for counties
  • Financial Indicators Database for school districts

Users can access the Financial Indicators Database to address the perennial question of “how do we compare?” The CD spreadsheet format allows users broad flexibility in tailoring the scope of their comparisons (e.g., comparisons with all similarly sized governments in the same state or region) to this broad national spectrum of data elements from comprehensive annual financial reports that were awarded the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) Program testing

Do you offer the CPFO exam as part of your state conference? It’s easy to be a host site. Complete a host site application and provide space for at least 5 people. We will post the site information to the GFOA website, collect the registrations, and mail the exam material to the host site a week before the exam date. For more information, contact Bruce Chase at 540-831-5744 or bchase@radford.edu.
The Certified Public Finance Officers Program of the GFOA is a broad educational self-study program designed to verify knowledge in the disciplines of government finance. Attaining certification is the 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.

Upcoming CPFO exams

The next CPFO exams will be administered in the spring at locations across the United States.

CPFO exams will be offered at the GFOA annual conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 30, 2015, from 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm, and Sunday, May 31, from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm.

For more information on the Certification Program and to register for upcoming exams, go to www.gfoa.org/cpfo.


Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program collected over 4,150 submissions for its recently completed program cycle of comprehensive annual financial reports with fiscal years ended in 2013. As the program grows, it is evident that state and local governments in the United States are dedicated to providing the best possible quality financial reports for their users.

A summary of the winners of the certificate may be found at www.gfoa.org/coa. A detailed list of winners will be posted to the website in the coming weeks. Questions about the results may be directed to Krisztina Dommer.

Special Review Committee

A list of GFOA’s Special Review Committee members will also be posted to the GFOA website with results of Certificate of Achievement Award winners in the coming weeks. The GFOA would like to thank these dedicated professionals who have made the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting a valuable resource for the thousands of entities that submit to the Program each year. The Special Review Committee’s continued commitment to excellence in financial reporting is to be commended.

If you are interested in joining our team of professionals to volunteer time toward the review of comprehensive annual financial reports, please contact Krisztina Dommer. If you are already part of the Special Review Committee, please spread the word about its value, and consider its use as a useful tool to help train junior staff members.

Do you have an upcoming annual conference?

If so, please fill out the attached “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 Natalie Laudadio. 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

Please find attached 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.
Attachments

File Downloads

  • WA Update - March 2015
  • Second conference brochure
  • Second conference registration form
  • Hotel reservation form
  • EOG- Internal Control
  • Financial Indicators Database
  • CPFO brochure
  • Certificate of Achievement Program
  • Promotional Items Form