Preconference Seminars 2018

GFOA’s preconference seminars provide an opportunity for attendees to get in-depth training on topics vitally important to finance officers. Come to St. Louis a day or two early and multiply the benefits you’ll get by signing up for these added training offerings. Preconference sessions will be held at the America’s Center Convention Complex.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting – Spring Conference

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 8 CPE Credits

GFOA’s Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting is a networked group of districts working collaboratively to implement best practices in school budgeting. This session will provide practical strategies, lessons learned, and case study examples about HOW leading school districts from around the United States have implemented improved budget practices. GFOA’s best practices in school budgeting is a framework for enhancing a school district’s budget and planning processes. The framework includes practical recommendations on all aspects of the process from better collaboration, goal setting, strategy prioritization, utilizing cost effectiveness measurements to the development of a strategic financial plan and how to leverage the budget document as a communications device.

Leadership from the Finance Office: Building Skills for Communication and Teamwork

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

Teamwork and communication are essential for every finance office. Finance officers not only manage their own departments, but also play an effective role in establishing a collaborative team culture across the organization to better allocate resources, deliver effective programs, and ensure accountability. This session will be focused on two components: 1) identifying practical strategies and tips to better manage a team and create a collaborative culture, and 2) developing communication skills, which are critical to the success of every team.

Best Practices in Planning and Budgeting for Capital Projects

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

GFOA’s recent member survey indicated that governments struggle most with implementing best practices related to capital planning and capital budgeting. This session is designed to provide an overview of GFOA’s best practices related to creating a multi-year capital plan that includes prioritizing capital project requests, developing a capital budget, and maintaining ongoing capital asset management. Speakers will include leading government practitioners who will provide case studies illustrating how the finance office can best manage the development of infrastructure, plan and budget for large capital purchases, manage current assets to achieve the best return on investment, and ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the organization.

Leadership from the Finance Office: Negotiation Workshop

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

Finance officers face many scenarios where negotiation skills are critical. In many situations finance officers have a seat at the table or are looked to for their leadership. Such common instances occur while creating contract purchases or professional service contracts with vendors, establishing economic development, public-private partnership or intergovernmental agreements, or during collective bargaining with employees. In addition, finance officers have an opportunity to negotiate internally as part of the budget process, within their own spheres, as well as through their daily interaction with other departments. This session will be a “hands-on” skill-building workshop and will incorporate case studies and role playing to provide participants with practical tips on how they can represent their governments more effectively at the negotiating table.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Debt Management 101

8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

The municipal marketplace is rapidly evolving due to market changes and following a recent push from investors and the federal government for stronger disclosures. This session will provide an overview for issuers, especially small and infrequent issuers, about how current debt issuance and management trends are affecting public-sector entities. Course instructors will guide participants through their responsibilities before, during and after bonds are sold, common transaction stakeholders, rating agency expectations, disclosure standards, as well as other functions of debt management. The course will feature practical examples, highlights of recent regulatory changes, and interactive discussion about each topic. Relevant best practices, advisories, and resources created by GFOA’s Committee on Governmental Debt Management will also be discussed. Session participants will gain a better understanding of the debt issuance process, managing their debt responsibilities and practical guidance about how to navigate an increasingly complex marketplace.

Establishing an Investment Program

8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

Governments should have an investment policy in place to ensure the appropriate safeguarding of public funds. GFOA’s best practices on developing an investment program and investment policy identify essential components of a policy, including scope and investment objectives, suitable and authorized investments, investment diversification, risk and performance standards, and suggestions of how to work with outside professionals for comment or review. This session will cover GFOA’s best practices, provide guidance on how governments should approach developing or updating a current policy, and deliver key examples of how to implement an investment policy that addresses not only a government’s unique needs, but market products and conditions as well.

Leadership from the Finance Office: Disaster Planning and Organizational Resilience

8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

Local governments are beset by forces that threaten to impair both their financial position and ability to deliver services. These forces can take the form of an extreme event like a natural or man-made disaster, or an economic downturn. They could also come in the form of social or environmental stressors that slowly wear down a local government, such as crime, homelessness, drug abuse, deteriorating infrastructure, or climate change. The practice of resiliency is the art of being prepared for such events to mitigate at their devastating impact and to provide a structure that enables recovery as quickly as possible. At this session, you will learn from government leaders who have been on the forefront of developing resiliency plans and strategies and how the finance officer plays a role in disaster preparedness.

Accounting for a Disaster

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

The impacts of a natural disaster can be devastating for a community and a government’s budget. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has programs in place to provide funding for areas impacted by disasters; however, they also require that governments follow strict rules in properly accounting for disaster costs. This is equally true with many private insurers and other state programs that may be available. Finance officials need to be ready to account for the losses and understand how to recoup funds prior to a disaster. In this session we will look at what governments need to do to be prepared to track costs associated with a natural disaster before it is too late. Topics will include establishing what needs to be tracked, training staff to understand requirements, tracking and documenting required cost information as part of your financial system, and how to properly complete reimbursement claims for FEMA. This session will also cover the accounting and financial reporting for temporary or permanently impaired capital assets that are likely to occur during a disaster.

Health Care Procurement in the Current Environment

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 4 CPE Credits

Increasing employee health care costs present many challenges for local governments as they strive to stretch budget resources further and further to provide essential services. Procurement of health care and planning and forecasting benefit costs have a large impact on the overall financial sustainability of an organization. This session will provide information to finance officers about how to approach procurement of heath care, how to structure a competitive process, what to look for when analyzing proposals, and how to negotiate the best deal for your organization — including what is best for both employees and the long-term finances of the government.

Taking a full-day session on Friday?

  • Enjoy a continental breakfast and lunch.

Taking an afternoon session on Friday or Saturday?

  • An afternoon snack will be available in your session room.

Taking a morning session on Saturday?

  • A continental breakfast will be available in your session room.

Taking a morning and afternoon session on Saturday?

  • Enjoy a continental breakfast and afternoon snack in your session room, as well as a grab-and-go lunch