Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program

GFOA established the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program (Budget Awards Program) in 1984 to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the very highest quality that reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the GFOA's best practices on budgeting and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. Over 1600 governments, including states, cities, counties, special districts, school districts, and more have been recognized for transparency in budgeting. To earn recognition, budget documents must meet program criteria and excel as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communication tool.

Changes for Budgets with a Fiscal Year Beginning on or After January 1, 2021

GFOA is proud to announce that our Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is undergoing a “modernization” of its criteria. New program criteria reflects changing practices in the field of governmental budgeting and enhancements in technology that make information more accessible to the public.

  • When do governments have to start using the new criteria in their submittals to GFOA?
    Effective for budgets with a fiscal year beginning January 1, 2021 or later
  • Why did GFOA revise the Budget Awards Criteria?
    It has been about a decade since the criteria was last revised, and many forms of budget communication are now taking place outside of the budget document.
  • How can participants and reviewers find out more about these changes?
    GFOA is offering training on the overall criteria and on individual criterion. In addition, the revised criteria explanation description is also available on the Budget Awards home page.
  • Is GFOA offering a grace period to comply with the revised criteria?
    While it is required that governments submit their budgets using the revised criteria for 2021, the GFOA is offering a “one year” grace period to comply with these revisions. In other words, no government will be denied the award for not receiving proficient ratings on any of the revised criteria in their first year of submitting under the revised criteria.

Best Practices and Educational Opportunities