The Planning and Budgeting exam for the CPFO program covers fundamental aspects of planning, budgeting, and monitoring and includes policies and processes recommended for local governments. The exam will cover best practices in defining priorities, developing goals, engaging stakeholders, forecasting costs and revenues, allocating resources for operating and capital, communicating budget decisions, and monitoring both performance and financial outcomes. Specific topics will emphasize long-term planning, financial sustainability, and transparency.
Planning and Budgeting Outline
Candidates taking the planning and budgeting exam should have an understanding of the processes used by local governments to prepare the budget including strategies for long-term planning, public engagement, and policy analysis. In addition, knowledge of post-budget adoption functions including communications, budget monitoring and performance management will be included.
Emphasis will be on best practices in budgeting and how organizations can better utilize the budget process as a plan for allocating resources to align with priorities and needs and how the budget process can be used to promote overall engagement, transparency, and accountability. GFOA has numerous best practice statements, publications, research reports and articles on how to improve the budget process.
GFOA recommends that CPFO candidate review the following materials to prepare for the exam.
GFOA Best Practices
GFOA best practices are developed by GFOA's committee on budgeting and represent the organization's recommended practices in common areas related to budgeting.
Publications available for purchase from GFOA to help prepare for the planning and budgeting exam include:
Research Reports / Free Publications
The following reports are available for free download.
- Recommended Budget Practices: A Framework for Improved State and Local Government Budgeting
- A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving
- Anatomy of a Priority-Driven Budget Process
- Balancing the Budget in Bad Times - Part 1
- Balancing the Budget in Bad Times - Part 2
GFOA offers the following training seminars that will help prepare for the planning and budget exam:
- Fundamentals of a Local Government Budget
- Budgeting Best Practices: Communicating the Budget
- Budgeting Best Practices: Personnel Budgeting
- Budgeting Best Practices: Budget Monitoring and Performance Measures
- Managing the Budget Process
- Preparing and Implementing a Capital Improvement Plan
View GFOA's Events Calendar
Additional Web Resources
As the exam development process progresses for the seven new CPFO exams, some materials may be added to this reading list. Please check back regularly for updates to this document until the new exams are launched.
Last updated June 1, 2021