Conference Sessions

With the spread of COVID-19, the health and safety of GFOA members and staff is paramount in our minds. To that end, the 114th Annual Conference in New Orleans will be moving from in-person to digital. The below list of sessions is not final and will be updated as information is finalized. As this is a fluid and rapidly developing situation, please have patience with us as we develop the remote options.

For more information on conference sessions, please contact Mike Mucha.

77 Sessions

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Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

Software-as-a-Service (Saas) products are becoming the standard for most public sector applications. With the shift from on-premise software to cloud technologies, finance officers must also reset their expectations for how to evaluate, contract for, and implement software. Speakers in this session will identify how SaaS is different, its potential benefits, and the critical steps that governments need to take to control cost and mitigate risk.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

In an ideal situation, bank reconciliation is a simple task completed regularly to sure consistency between the bank and a government's records. Most ERP systems even offer tools to help automate the process. However, bank reconciliation can also be quite challenge if your government makes payments from multiple systems, accepts payments at multiple locations and with various methods of tender, multiple cash collection points, or has inconsistencies in cash handling processes or if transactions are not accounted for correctly. In addition, for governments that don't regularly reconcile transactions or who have not for a long time, getting started can be daunting. In this session, speakers will discuss the many challenges and pitfalls of completing more complicated bank reconciliations, how to improve the process, and how technology can be used to both improve efficiency accuracy.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

Most of us can recognize a good leader when we see one. Becoming one, however, can be much more challenge. Even after reading some of the best selling books on leadership, attending keynote lectures, or interacting directly with a leadership coach or mentor, many find it difficult to translate theory into practice. In this session, speakers will provide an overview of the leadership principles promoted by recognized experts, find an approach that speaks to you, and take action to improving your leadership style.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

Some of the biggest challenges that communities face are not contained solely within jurisdictional boundaries. Further, no local government has the resources necessary to address these problems on their own.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm
Speaker
Finance Director
Wheaton Park District

Preparing note disclosures to basic financial statements can be the most challenging part of preparing financial statements. The GASB last took a comprehensive look at note disclosures leading up to the issuance of GASB Statement No. 38. While that project had been expected to reduce the volume of notes, in reality, the opposite occurred. Governments ended up adding disclosures and subsequent standards have only continued that trend. The GASB is now taking a conceptual approach to answering the question of what should be included in note disclosures. Speakers in this session will discuss the proposals in the exposure draft and how a final concept statement might ultimately affect the nature and quantity of notes.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 2:40pm to 3:30pm

The legislative and regulatory environment surrounding the municipal bond market is constantly changing. This session will provide an outlook on how state and local governments are adapting to recent changes from the nation’s capital and what they might expect in the future, especially in light of the upcoming general election and how it may shape new policies and proposals. Speakers will also highlight discussions in Washington, D.C., regarding infrastructure finance, disclosure of climate change and cybersecurity risks, public pensions, and other legislative proposals that may impact a government’s comprehensive fiscal structure.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm

The availability of data has increased exponentially in recent decades. As the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and natural language generation have emerged, organizing and searching big data has become easier, making this trend likely to continue. This increase in data availability in the private sector has left some government struggling to keep up. Financial information can be complex and nuanced and the rules governing how public money must be managed can be difficult to explain. This session will focus on how local governments can be transparent in an appropriate and responsible way. Speakers will offer ways how best to provide context to financial data as it’s shared with various audiences.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm

The Black Caucus is dedicated to the objectives of GFOA and encourage its members to participate and contribute at the national level and in the state associations. Established in 1991, the mission of the Black Caucus is to diligently support the aspirations and achievements of African-American public finance officers; to pursue professional development opportunities; and to sponsor projects to assist African-Americans seeking careers in government finance.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm

US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilized society". Viewed in that light, taxes are good deal! However, many citizens don't see it that way. While the public will probably never be overjoyed to pay taxes, it might be possible for citizens to at least feel good about it and the services the taxes make possible. In this session, speakers will highlight strategies that local governments have used to communicate the value of public services and taxes to citizens and get the public's acceptance and even approval of new public spending.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm

Life is full of risks and the role of the finance officer in managing that risk goes beyond buying an insurance policy, planning for natural disaster, or establishing cyber-security policies.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm
Moderator
Chief Financial Officer
Missouri LAGERS

A low interest rate environment, changes in mortality rates, and ongoing pressure to manage costs are just some of the issues facing public pension plans. Whether they face state reforms or recurring initiatives at the federal level, what are plans to do? This session will highlight the changes plans have adopted or are on the horizon and the implication to local government finances.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm

No one expects it to happen to them. However, mass shootings have unfortunately become more and more common in our society and the world of public finance is not immune from such terror. In this session practitioners will present first hand examples of how these types of incidents in their community have impacted the organization, changed conversations and office culture, and how the finance officer can leverage a different skill set to help in times of need.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:50pm to 5:05pm
Moderator/Speaker
Executive Manager of Finance
West Basin Municipal Water District
Speaker
Chief Financial Officer
Huntsville Utilities
Speaker
Chief Financial Officer
City of Plant City
Speaker
Assistant Director, Financial Services
Miami-Dade County Transportation and Public Works Department

Governmental business-type entities (BTAs), such as public utilities, transit systems, airports, colleges and hospitals occupy a special place in the world of accounting and financial reporting. Subject to GASB standards, including many based on old private-sector guidance, these governments have unique challenges. This session will be a discussion of current accounting and financial reporting topics of particular interest to BTAs, based on the experiences of current officials responsible for such entities. Likely topics include the impact on BTAs of recent GASB guidance, such as on leases, PPPs, interest capitalization and those that affect governments that follow regulatory accounting.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 3:55pm to 5:05pm
Speaker
Budget Officer
City of Kansas City, MO

GFOA surveys show that many local governments still lack key financial policies that contribute to the long-term financial health of local government. In 2020, GFOA will be hosting a "Financial Policy Challenge" focused on recognizing governments for their achievement in adopting sound policies, encouraging the sharing of policy examples, and increasing the percentage of governments with policies in place. In this session you will learn about key policies that are needed for your government to perform at its best and how you can work with elected officials to put these policies in place.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm
Moderator
Debt Manager
Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

As the dust settles from the recent amendments to SEC Rule 15c2-12, issuers continue to grapple with how to identify, record, and report event #15 and #16 notices. This session will include a discussion on the issuer experience managing their disclosure programs and guidance from outside professionals on the advice they provide to their governmental clients. Attendees will also be updated on changes to GFOA Best Practices and Advisories related to disclosure practices.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm

Each year at the annual conference GFOA presents this can't miss round-up to discuss key developments in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting that affect state and local governments. Topics covered will include recently promulgated standards, including GASB's statements on public-private and public-public partnerships, the transition from LIBOR, and IRC Section 457 deferred compensation; the AICPA's and GAO's auditing standards developments, and the standard setters' on-going projects likely to affect issuers and auditors in the near future.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm

The software industry has embraced agile methodologies for some time and lately it has been embraced by firms responsible for implementing software. Originally developed as an alternative to waterfall project management methodologies that require sequencing and identification of dependencies, agile focused on customer engagement, design affirmation, team effort, and monitoring. Lately, agile has become a “buzzword” to hide behind when tasks are late or incomplete. Project Managers are quick to report that agile permits these anomalies. Join this session as facilitators compare and contrast project management methodologies and the impact they have on your ERP project. The audience will also learn how to develop contracts that support the benefits of agile, waterfall, and hybrid approaches, while also incorporating essential public-sector best practices related to quality assurance, testing, acceptance, and payment.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm
Moderator
Managing Director, Public Finance
Raymond James

Climate change is real, but the type of change that governments will encounter related to their capital assets will likely differ. This session will explain how climate change impacts will be felt at a local level and discuss how various governments across the United States and Canada are incorporating these effects into their capital plans. Climate change presents a litany of new associated risks to a municipality’s assets to consider and finance officers must understand these implications when evaluating the vulnerability of their capital assets, such as roads and bridges, waste/storm water systems, and communication and utility systems. Presenters will detail relevant climate change adaptation policies as well as discuss setting priorities for funding. In addition, speakers will highlight innovative and creative solutions available today that governments can take advantage of to start reacting on a local level to these global environmental trends.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm
Speaker
Deputy CFO / Office of Program & Performance Management
City of Detroit

GFOA encourages governments to make greater use of data when making financial decisions, but transitioning to this type of decision-making process can be daunting. What data should you use? Where and how do you get the data? What do you do with the data once you have it? How do you get staff buy-in for the new approach? At this session, hear about the steps different local governments have taken to adopt a more data-driven approach to decision-making. In addition, case studies will highlight how this approach can even work to influence decisions about how to structure services within the finance office.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm
Speaker
Assistant City Manager
City of Fate, TX

For most governments, a large part of their revenues and expenditures are determined by the how land is used within the jurisdiction. However, land use planning usually happens with little consideration given to how land use choices will impact the long-term financial health of the local government. In this session, you will hear from local governments that have been working to bridge the divide between land use planning and financial planning order order to to build communities that are both livable and that have a strong financial foundation.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm

GFOA member surveys repeatedly show recruiting and maintaining qualified employees is a top challenge faced by many government finance offices. As part of an overall strategy of recruitment, fringe benefits can play an important role in helping attract and retain motivated and productive employees – salary isn’t enough on its own. In fact, in one survey, 80% of employees said they would choose additional benefits over a pay raise. Employees want more benefits that address their total well-being, not just their financial well-being. In this session, speakers will present information that all governments can use to better inform benefit decisions and help sort out which benefits employees desire and which ones they don’t care about.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 10:30am to 12:10pm

The budget process has many stakeholders and a quality budget process must engage all in a collaborative discussion about priorities, proposed services, and appropriate allocation of funding. While many finance officers understand the budget and the process used to develop it, do they also understand how other key stakeholders view it? This session will feature several department heads from non-financial positions in local government in a discussion about what makes a budget process successful. Attendees can expect to hear honest feedback on how to make a budget process more transparent, more inclusive, and more focused on allocating resources to the right programs to achieve the right results.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Speaker
Director
Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement

Public-sector organizations can’t succeed without talent – the right people with the right skills in the right places at the right times. This is particularly true for government financial management. But just having talented employees isn’t enough – they must also be committed and engaged. This session will cover how to measure employee engagement and then achieve a high level of engagement in your organization – in order to drive superior performance and outcomes. Attendees will learn how employee engagement improves performance and service in order to improve customer satisfaction and, ultimately, trust in government.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Speaker
Director
Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement

Public procurement is not defined by endless approvals, mountains of paper, and outdated contract requirements. In fact, many organizations employ innovative practices to help procure vital goods and services, manage supply chain relationships, and assist staff from all over government deliver efficient and effective services. In this session, recognized subject matter experts and innovative practitioners will share case study examples, industry trends, and the latest innovations in the field of procurement.

Monday, May 18, 2020 - 1:30pm to 2:20pm

When governments facing increasing expectations and decreasing tax revenues turning to user fees, fines, and penalties can help raise additional revenue. However, those approaches are not without drawbacks and recently, there has been a new debate on not only sustainability of such an approach, but also problems with efficiency of collecting fees, ramifications for equity, and negative public perception. In this session, speakers will discuss how to develop user-fee policy, consider which services are appropriate for user fees (or should stay as a tax), determine how to set user fee prices, and analyze the potential social, economic, and fiscal impacts of a shift to more fees, fines, and penalties as a method of raising needed revenue.


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