Rethinking Budgeting, Budgeting and Forecasting

Should We Rethink Reserves?

Page from GFR

While Fund Balance Guidelines for the General Fund is one of GFOA’s most often-cited best practices, there are many opportunities for reserve optimization beyond the one-size-fits-all guidance provided in the best practice. This series of articles brings what we’ve learned together with university research to describe new opportunities that will help local governments get the best value from their reserve strategies.

It has long been thought that having substantial reserves is desirable— bigger is better. So why might we need to do some rethinking here? The reasons (which are consistent with many of those cited for GFOA’s Rethinking Budgeting initiative) take on special significance when applied to reserves.