2023 Annual Conference Sessions
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Sessions for Sunday, May 21
Behind the Scenes: Practical Lessons Learned in Budgeting for Equity
The Importance of PCI Compliance
Are you PCI compliant? Governments that accept credit/payment cards have a responsibility to comply with credit card acceptance protocols to prevent fraudulent transactions. These “PCI Compliance” rule continue to evolve and affect every access point where cards are accepted such as online, in person, over the phone, at kiosks, and more. Governments that do not meet these standards can face fines or significant risk. Learn about current and upcoming PCI compliance protocols and compliance best practices to implement at your government.
The Accountability Trap: Why Focusing Too Much on Results Can Backfire - and What to Do About It
Local governments are faced with big challenges and are increasingly asked to address hard problems such as climate change, social inequalities and drug abuse. Addressing these problems may require considerable expenditure of public resources. Given the high stakes of the issues at hand and the potentially large sums of money involved, there can be a justifiable interest from elected officials and the public that the government (and its staff) be held “accountable.” This sounds fine, in theory, but there are some practical problems with a focus on accountability. At this session we'll explore better solutions based on work by word-famous psychologist Adam Grant.
Rethinking Public Engagement for Budgeting
For decades, finance officers, and governments in general, have recognized the need to improve public engagement in the budget process. Public engagement is often limited to a public hearing or two, which typically happens after important decisions have been made and often amount to little more than a chance for people to air grievances. GFOA's Rethinking Public Engagement initiative brought together top experts from across the country to take a fresh look at public engagement. In this session, you will hear about some of the key lessons learned and how you can get involved in a cohort of local governments that will work towards better public engagement in their communities.
Public-Private Partnerships in Action
When private investment is brought to a public project there is an inherent tension present in both the financing and implementation, which is manifest in the balance between risk and cost. The amount of risk and cost that is carried or shifted between the public and private partners yields a continuum of what projects and agreements look like for governments and their partners. What does a good deal look like? What are the criteria governments should utilize in decision making around project selection and deal implementation? What are the lessons learned by those that have done these kinds of projects? This session looks to explore P3s as not just an opportunity to be explored, but to utilize a case study to analyze the decisions around when and under what conditions to utilize this financial and project implementation tool.
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Government
Artificial intelligence (AI) will someday be ubiquitous in government operations. Should workers be threatened? No. This session will focus on the benefits of AI and its limits. Speakers will discuss the evolution of AI and its potential benefits in local government. Case studies where AI has been implemented will be presented. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of AI, why human intervention is still important, and how successful organizations in the future will manage AI to make better decisions.
Next Steps on GFOA's DEI Journey
Rethinking Property Tax Assessments
Without You Here: Accounting for Compensated Absences
Financial Data Transparency Act Explained: What Finance Officers Need to Know
When the 117th Congress concluded in December 2022 the municipal market was quite surprised by a little-known provision riding along on the National Defense Authorization Act. And yet the Financial Data Transparency Act will not only radically transform the technology for financial reporting but also insert the federal government as rule makers in state and local government financial reporting. There is no doubt that this effort will require substantial outreach to federal government over the next several years. Come to this session to understand the concepts, the processes and the opportunities for needed outreach.
Smarter School Spending: Navigating the Intersection of Instructional Goals and Finance
Public schools districts are charged with providing a free and appropriate education to all students and must do so with limited funding. Most school districts have a strategic plan outlining the instructional goals they are attempting to meet in providing that education. However, in order to ensure that those limited funds are spent in support of the strategic goals, finance officers from school districts need to go beyond the strategic plan and implement a long-term financial plan and budgeting practices that promote student achievement. GFOA's Smarter School Spending project and the Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting provide a framework to enhance school district budgeting and prepare governments to better align of strategic goals/student outcomes and resource allocation.
For municipal entities, ESG is sort of like the movie title, Everything Everywhere all at once...From planning projects to specific disclosures to labeling bonds for marketing purposes to procurement objectives, ESG is everywhere. Come to this session to better understand where it is and best practices that help you approach it in a variety of ways in your entity.
Six Sigma in Government
Six Sigma techniques focus on identifying and removing unnecessary waste in business processes and systems. Governments are not exempt from the benefits of Six Sigma, and often have the most to gain as business processes may be outdated and inefficient if they are not consistently reviewed and updated. Attend this session to hear from experts and practitioners how they have incorporated techniques to determine the root causes of waste, and improved business processes and practices.
An Introduction to Affordable Housing Finance
Better Together: Practical Strategies for Integrating Finance and Procurement
Sessions for Monday, May 22
Small Government Forum - Networking Event
This is a professional development event brought to you by the Small Government Forum (SGF). This discussion will conclude the employee cross-training series with a discussion of how to maintain an effective cross-training program within a small organization while maintaining clear job descriptions, roles, and responsibilities. It will also explore how to effectively leverage employees after they have been cross-trained and how to keep newly acquired skills fresh if they are used infrequently. Objectives " Explore how to maintain an effective cross-training program over time " Discuss methods for maintaining clear boundaries and job descriptions within the context of cross-training " Address methods for keeping newly acquired skills fresh when/if they are not used often.
Putting Assets to Work: Unlocking Value from Publicly-Owned Real Estate
Over the last year, GFOA’s “Putting Assets to Work” policy incubator, worked alongside six local governments to assess opportunities and develop policy tools to adapt for North American jurisdictions the “Urban Wealth Fund” concepts common in European and Asian cities. An Urban Wealth Fund is a mechanism for creating on-going revenue streams from underutilized public sector assets without privatizing the asset. The goal is to create new revenue streams to address our most persistent challenges, such as affordable housing, climate resiliency, and reinvigorating our cities’ infrastructure. Participants in the incubator will share their experiences and highlight exciting new opportunities for local governments to derive greater value from their assets. We’ll also discuss how your government can get involved in the incubator as we build on the successes of our first participants.
Smarter School Spending: Using Analytical Reviews
Included in the GFOA’s Best Budgeting Practices for School Districts framework are tools to be used to analyze, assess, and prioritize instructional goals. In order to ensure that those limited funds are spent in support of the strategic goals, we introduce participants to the tools available through Smarter School Spending related to cost savings options, initiatives inventory, and an introduction to Academic Return on Investment (AROI).
No Easy Answers: Risks, Uncertainty, and Reserves.
Miracle Pill: Practical Solutions to Fix Your Hiring Process
Case Studies in Collaboration: Financial Leadership in Action
Accounting Year in Review
Big Machine: Using Robotics in Finance
Tax Issues and Arbitrage Compliance
Government that issue debt have numerous federal tax compliance responsibilities for the lifetime of the bonds. Arbitrage compliance is imperative in the early years of the bonds and other issues such as record retention of documents, and monitoring private use of bond funded capital projects is essential for the lifetime of the bonds. This session will give members an overview of arbitrage and tax compliance rules, and ways to ensure your entity tracks and complies with these federal tax matters.
Communicating The Realities of Your Investment Report
Governments produce investment reports for internal and outward facing reasons. However, the story of the investment report can be misleading if going by the numbers alone. This session will discuss best practices in developing investment reports, and also how to convey various nuances, such as realized and unrealized gains, in their proper context.
Reviewer Pet Peeves: Common Errors from GFOA's Certificate of Achievement Program
Accounting for Opioid Settlements
3-2-1 - Liftoff: Launch of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus
Building a Data-Driven Finance Office
Being Accommodating While Being Accountable
Alternative Contracting for Construction Projects
The Budget Officer as Decision Architect: Designing the Decision Making Environment
Government leaders make decisions for a living. With good decision-making, they can greatly improve the lives of their constituents and further their own careers. But decision-making is messy. It is often done by groups, so there are conflicting points of view. It is usually time constrained, so there isn’t time to consider everything. There is always uncertainty, usually more than we realize. And it is done by humans, so it comes with the myriad well-documented psychological biases. Finance officers can help their organization make better decisions by "architecting" the decision-making environment. In this session, we will discuss the key skills of a decision-architect, how finance officers have used them, and how you can build them.
Not Crying Wolf: The Latest in Cybersecurity Protections for Your Government
Each year, GFOA gathers experts within the technology industry to discuss latest cybersecurity threat trends and potential ways to mitigate them. This year, speakers will not only address the latest threats but will also discuss the latest strategies bad actors are using to obtain threatening technologies to implement hacks with limited technical experience. At the end of the session, participants will gain a better understanding of their cybersecurity risk by being more aware of potential vulnerabilities, understanding potential sources of threats, and gaining insights into resources available to mitigate them.
Resiliency for Capital Assets in the Times of Environmental Change
There are hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure in the ground at all levels of government that act as the assets we depend on every day. The planning and resourcing that went into every one of those fixed structures represent years of design, implementation, and financial commitment. What actions are governments taking to look across assets to ensure they are designed and maintained to be resilient? How can government invest in the evolution of existing assets to have them to be ready for today and tomorrow? How can government look into an unsure future to ensure that the capital brought online will be resilient at a level we cannot totally anticipate? What level of investments can be made balanced to the realities of what our jurisdiction can afford? The discussion will focus on sustainability and stewardship in all aspects of the push to find resilience through existing and new asset investments.
When No One Wants Your Cash: Managing Currency in a Difficult and Changing Marketplace
Governments are facing difficulties with getting currency collections to the bank. There have been noticeable changes to armored car services, that are causing governments to use less secure deliver methods. This session will discuss ways governments can tackle these disruptions and make prompt and safe cash deposits.
Small and Complex: Unique Challenges for Small Issuers
Small governments and infrequent issuers entering the debt market have unique challenges especially in a changing market environment. This session will focus on variables important to small and infrequent issuers in debt issuance planning, execution, and management.
Navigating Wisely Through the Changing Investment Terrain
There have been significant changes in the public investment landscape over the past year. This dynamic market will likely continue, and governments should be aware of market and fed policy dynamics that impact and will impact public funds investing. Investing experts will provide attendees with insights into market conditions, what to be aware of in the months ahead, and why robust best practices for investment policies and strategies are so important.
Forecast with Confidence: Improving Your Skills to Make Better Decisions for Your Government
Forecasting is a foundational part of budgeting and financial planning. Forecasts allow public officials to anticipate future resource availability and plan accordingly. Forecasts are used to develop budgets that are balanced and affordable. Longer-term forecasts analyze the financial sustainability of existing policies and programs and to provide warning of potential imbalances. A forecast can be used to create a shared basis for discussion of what the fiscal future might look like and, then, what actions can be taken to change the future. In this session we will discuss the skills you need to make the best forecasts you can, in the time you have available. We'll also discuss how forecasting practices can be adapted to volatile and uncertain environment.
Hot Topics in Debt Management
Governments planning to issue debt or that have outstanding debt need to be aware of evolving practices that impact issuers. In this session, muni experts will share their thoughts on the federal policies, credit and issuance factors and practices that should be of great interest to all debt issuers.
Asset Management Across the Globe: International Capital Planning and Implementation
GFOA has many partner organizations across the globe. Come hear from a select group of these international partners on what they are seeing and experiencing in their jurisdictions and countries around asset management and capital planning. There will be comfort in the shared issues and challenges and invigorating insights from leaders making a positive change on multiple continents. This presentation and conversation will be a chance to step out of the traditional thinking and inherited conditions many governments face and see how other professionals and countries are tackling similar challenges faced by Public Finance Professionals across the globe.
Finance on Fire: Overcoming Issues with Budgeting for Fire Services
Rethinking Financial Reporting
Annual Black Caucus Business Meeting
Sessions for Tuesday, May 23
Applied Ethics - Leadership Examples
Debt Market Trends and Outlook
Before It's Too Late: What You Need to Know to Comply With ARPA Requirements
Up in the Air: Accounting for Subscription-Based Information Technology Arrangements
Don't Let it "Slide": Moving to Proactive Asset Management
Capital Planning is a balancing act of: the maintenance of assets that are currently in place, seeing the asset needs for the future, measuring the gaps that require new facility investments, and thinking about the available revenues that are available to make these expenditures. The perceived lack of visibility for investment in current assets often yields annual budgets with unfortunate realities like deferred maintenance in the operating budget and losing the high-stakes annual capital improvement plan pageant to new projects in the capital budget. The deficit of investments in existing assets is a lack of stewardship that leaves jurisdictions vulnerable to the most expensive class of potential asset costs; emergency purchases for asset failure. This panel will explore the concepts and tools that finance departments can utilize to move thinking from Reactive to Proactive in the stewardship of assets like the master plan, consideration of levels of service, and the structure of decision making relative to the capital plan.
Washington DC Update
Removing Bias in Bid Evaluations: Best Practices in Evaluation Techniques
Marketing Your Financials: Communicating Accounting Data to the Masses
I Just Want You to Know Who I Am: Why I Became A Finance Officer
Explaining Governmental Accounting to Non-Accountants Without Making Them Dizzy
Better Days Ahead: Strategies for Financial Sustainability Amid Uncertainty
Building Understanding: How to Work with the Public Works Department
It is essential that Public Finance Professionals have a good working relationship with the agency's Public Works Professionals. In order to have an effective relationship, Public Finance Professionals need to understand how to communicate with Public Work Professionals, and communicate Public Finance realities, needs, and priorities in a manner that helps build the partnership between departments to meet mutual goals. This session will help Public Finance Professionals understand the Public Works Professional perspective and priorities, develop strategies to effectively communicate needs, and create a partnership dynamic with your agencies on how to best work together to define, fund, and deliver a level of service for a jurisdiction.
Hate this Place: Learning Not to Dread Your ERP Project
The fate of an ERP project can be determined up front. Preparation and planning are key to ensuring a positive outcome. Attend this session to learn ways to gather data properly before your ERP consultants engage. Participants will also learn how to anticipate risk and implement mitigation strategies through the contract process. Finally, attendees will learn how to plan resources and design effective governance and decision structures for a successful project.
The Importance of Cash Flow Forecasting
GFOA’s Best Practice on cash flow forecasting discusses the importance of developing forecasts to ensure your entity’s payables and liquidity needs are met. Governments can use simple tools to forecast their largest inflows and outflows to avoid liquidity risks, and develop practical short-term and long-term investment strategies. This session will give attendees key takeaways on the importance of cash flow forecasting, how to develop a simple forecast, peer examples of forecasting methods, and how to get started or improve your entity’s current cash flow forecasting program.
Politics in Budgeting: Don't Hate the Player, Don't Hate the Game, Change the Game
Budgeting is a political process. "Politics" is often considered a dirty word in our profession, but the finance officer needs to not just survive a political environment, but thrive in it. This can be done without succumbing to the worst aspects of politics. In this session we will talk about common political power plays the finance officer might encounter, the sources of the finance officer's own political power, and how to ethically exercise that power and redirect potentially destructive political impulses to more productive outcomes.
Federal Funds 101
“Micro” Economics: Is This the Missing Skillset Among Finance Officers?
Successful Supplier Diversity and Impact on Community
Sessions for Wednesday, May 24
Stopping Fraud Before it Stops You
Unscrupulous actors are attempting to infiltrate government’s treasury operations in many ways. GFOA has written extensively about fraud prevention in the treasury office, which will be highlighted during the session. Making sure your entity has both appropriate policies and procedures to prevent fraud and to have an action plan if it occurs, are both imperative. This session will provide ways for governments to have policies in place and help prevent all types of fraudulent practices, to best protect your entity.
What Does It Take to Rethink Budgeting?
The typical budget process is based online items and historical precedent. While this does have some advantages, it also has a host of disadvantages that have long been recognized. Those disadvantages are becoming more acute as our society evolves. Many intrepid finance officers have explored new ways of doing budgeting and GFOA's Rethinking Budgeting project is providing new guidance for doing budgeting differently. But what does it take for a local government to change the way it budgets and plans? In this session, we'll discuss what GFOA research is finding and hear from practitioners are who are rethinking their own budgets.
Variety is the Spice of Life: Options for Successful Capital Financing Strategies
Accounting for Federal Grants
Easier Said than Done: Attracting and Retaining Public Finance Talent in the New World of Work
Government Technology Roundtable
One positive outcome of the pandemic was the ability of governments to leverage technology in creative ways to solve complex problems quickly. Governments are continuing this trend long after the crisis. This session highlights examples of how peer governments are using technology to improve operations. Governments will explain why the technology was implemented, the resources required to implement it and provide an honest assessment on whether or not the intended outcome was reached. Participants will learn when and how to implement technology solutions or when not to.