Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (COA) Program

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (COA) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare annual comprehensive financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. The goal of the program is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to do so themselves.

Please note that GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award Program (COA) will begin requiring all applicants to submit the calculation of the net investment in capital assets they report for governmental activities and business-type activities, as applicable, on their government-wide statements of net position. The requirement will be effective for all COA applications submitted on or after March 1, 2022. For more information, please see the letter that was recently sent to program participants.

Program Information


Learn More

Award Criteria - Checklists

View Criteria

Fee Schedule


We try to complete reviews within six months of receiving applications. GFOA's efforts to deal with COVID-19 and to ensure a successful implementation of the AMS have temporarily lengthened the turnaround time for the Certificate award decisions. Our current turnaround time is approximately nine months, but we are working hard to reduce that time frame back to the normal time of six months. Thank you for your patience as we resolve this temporary backlog.

Using GFOA’s Awards Management System

Certificate applications are processed through GFOA’s Awards Management System (AMS). Each government submits its annual comprehensive financial report and application in the AMS and retrieves its results in the system once the review is completed.

Register Your Government in the AMS


Submit an Application


Request an Extension


Check Status of an Application


Retrieve Result Documents




Please note:

  • Registering a government in the AMS is a one-time event. Once a government has registered, it will not need to do so again.
  • For logging in to the AMS, the government’s username is its GFOA member number. See FAQs for more information.
  • Emails from the AMS will come from Ask your IT department to add this email address to your allow list to ensure you receive password reset and other important emails about your COA submission.

Reviewer Information

Become a Reviewer

Learn More

Completing Reviews Using GFOA's Awards Management System

View Instructions

Current members of the Special Review Executive Committee


List of Current Reviewers


Please note:

  • For logging in to the AMS, a volunteer reviewer’s username is his or her GFOA member number. See FAQs for more information.

If you have questions about the Certificate Program or about the AMS, please contact GFOA.