Preconference Sessions

Preconference sessions will begin May 19, 2023. Below is the list of current preconference sessions offered at GFOA's 117th Annual Conference.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Strategic Asset Management

1:00 pm–5:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

Long-term financial planning is best practice for all governments and allows the finance officer to proactively address risk factors that may impact overall financial sustainability. For many local governments there is significant room to improve the management of capital assets and, in turn, the long-term financial sustainability of the entire organization. Each local government is the custodian of essential assets costing millions (if not billions) of dollars: utility infrastructure, roads and highways, hospitals, ports, schools, parks, vehicles and equipment, information technology, and more. How a local government makes the original investment in these assets, maintains, and eventually replaces them can have a huge impact on service levels and expenses. Governments can use strategic asset management—a future-focused modeling methodology that is specific to long-life facility and infrastructure assets—to figure out what to address and when. This session will explore best practices for strategic asset management, providing case study examples and lessons learned from all types and sizes of government.

The Importance of Cash Flow Forecasting

1:00 pm–5:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

GFOA recommends that governments perform ongoing cash forecasting to ensure that they have sufficient cash liquidity to meet disbursement requirements and limit idle cash. However, GFOA research indicates that many governments fail to meet the standards outlined in this best practice. All governments should develop a strategy for conducting cash flow forecasting to: assess your government’s ability to meet its financial needs and prevent any occurrence of short term borrowing or having to tap into reserve funds. Additionally, cash flow forecasting can be utilized to limit idle cash balances and assist with an entity’s investment strategies. This session will provide an overview of cash flow forecasting, discuss how to conduct both simple and complex cash flow analysis, and outline the tools available to help governments with this important task.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Workforce Management: Leading Remote and Hybrid Teams

8:00 am–12:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

As technology advances and changes not only how we interact with critical systems (such as ERP systems) and with each other (through platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams), many governments have been able to offer remote work as an option for employees in the finance office. Regardless of your government’s specific policies on hybrid and remote work, it is very likely that as a manager, you will need to navigate this new reality - at least temporarily.  Adding to the challenge, the new report, Meeting Demand for State and Local Public Finance Jobs, from GFOA and Lightcast shows that demand for state and local public finance officers is outstripping the current supply of workers in the sector, meaning governments may need to consider new strategies for recruiting talent. This session will explore challenges in navigating our current work environment and dealing with the new world of widespread remote work. Specific topics to be discussed include work schedules, communication preferences, managing distractions, and team culture.

Cyber Risk Awareness for Finance Officers

8:00 am–12:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

Cyber attacks are a clear and present danger for all organizations, but local governments are particularly vulnerable. Governments are more likely than any other kind of organization to be the targets of a ransomware attack, and the frequency of ransomware attacks on governments continues to increase. The potential extreme consequences of a cyberattack have caused many local governments to turn to cyber insurance, but finance officers need to develop comprehensive strategies for prevention, response, and recovery. In this session, attendees will become aware of the risks that governments face and identify potential strategies to mitigate them. Attendees will also develop the necessary skills to prepare business continuity plans for when the next inevitable cyberattack hits.   

Overview of Federal Grant Compliance

8:00 am–12:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

During the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all governments had the opportunity to receive federal funding, some as direct recipients, some as subrecipients. While this funding has provided new opportunities that will bring significant benefits to the organization or community, the guidance and compliance requirements for audit and for reporting to the federal agency have added a level of complexity to financial reporting for many local governments for the first time. This session will provide an overview of major first-time and first of its kind federal grant programs such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). It will also identify ongoing grants with reporting requirements and explore the accounting, audit, procurement, and reporting requirements to which recipients must adhere.

Alliance For Excellence in School Budgeting

10:00 am–5:00 pm | 6 CPE Credits

GFOA’s Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting is a networked group of districts working collaboratively to implement best practices in school budgeting and deal with current challenges facing all school districts. This session will address the most pressing challenges that school districts face in budgeting and provide an overview of GFOA’s Smarter School Spending resources.  In addition, attendees will learn about case study examples about HOW leading school districts from around the United States have implemented improved budget practices.  Expected topics to cover include: long-term financial planning, budgeting for equity in school districts, investing in facility improvements, measuring student achievement, and federal grant programs and their impact on long-term spending.

Modern Practices in Public Engagement

1:00 pm–5:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

It is widely recognized that governments should do a better job at engaging the public during the budget process. Public budget hearings, citizen surveys, and town hall meetings have become standard procedures for local governments seeking to satisfy basic requirements for public engagement. But these one-size-fits-all approaches often fail to adequately engage the public throughout the budget process. This dynamic can leave public servants disheartened with their investment in public engagement activities and uncertain about the value of engagement. Meanwhile, this can result in apathy among community members who are dissatisfied with traditional approaches to public engagement or exacerbate mistrust among those who feel that their contributions are not heard and will not have an impact. But modern, tailored approaches to public engagement can provide opportunities to meaningfully engage the public in municipal finance and budgeting processes.

Attendees at this session will learn about the essential elements of modern public engagement initiatives including: enhancing and improving ongoing budget engagement practices, adapting engagement methods for local needs, process scoping and resource allocation, broadening public participation with attention to equity, and addressing dynamics of misinformation, mistrust, and polarization.

Accounting for Compensated Absences

1:00 pm–5:00 pm | 4 CPE Credits

GASB’s new guidance on compensated absences provides a unified recognition and measurement model for all types of compensated absences.  In this session, attendees will examine the various types of leave organizations provide to their employees, the ways in which obligations for compensated absences are incurred and settled by governments, and how these obligations are properly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.