Effective immediately, GFOA is asking all industry affiliates to stop using the four-letter acronym commonly associated with the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
Instead, GFOA recommends referring to the report by either the full name or by using a shortened format that does not include the four-letter acronym. For instance, the “Annual Report” is advised, the four-letter acronym, even pronounced by saying each letter individually, is still not advised.
This recommendation is the result of increasing professional awareness that the acronym, when pronounced aloud, sounds the same as a derogatory term historically used in other parts of the world. Most concerningly, South Africa where this term has ties to Apartheid and is used as a racial slur towards Black South Africans.
GFOA takes its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously. With more than 21,000 members that serve diverse communities around the country and support strategic partners around the world (including the Chartered Institute of Government Finance Audit and Risk Officers in South Africa), GFOA has determined that the continued use of this acronym is in conflict with the organization’s core professional values.
GFOA is not acting alone. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is also currently evaluating whether to change the name of the report entirely to completely disassociate with the acronym. GFOA fully supports this broader industry evaluation. GASB published an exposure draft in support of renaming the acronym on April 13.
In the meantime, GFOA has eliminated the acronym from its own written and verbal communications and is strongly encouraging members and partners to do the same.
Toolkit – Here are some resources that we have developed that can assist you in communicating this change in your own organization:
View full policy statement approved by GFOA Executive Board on March 5, 2021 and by GFOA membership on July 12, 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
View frequently asked questions and responses related to GFOA's new policy statement.
Read the background behind this policy recommendation.