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GFOA Newsletter
January 21, 2016
Register Today to Lock In our Early-Bird Annual Conference Registration Discount

Sign up by January 28, 2016, to lock in a discount on the registration fee for GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference, Sharing Solutions and Strategies, May 22 to 25, 2016, in Toronto, Ontario. Go to GFOA’s website and click on the “Annual Conference” tab to register for the conference and access the brochure, reserve your housing online through GFOA’s official hotel block, and sign up for tours. 

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Conference Session Topics Announced

Conference session topics have been posted to the GFOA website. Topics will cover current events, best practices, and case studies in accounting and financial reporting, budgeting, debt management, treasury and investment management, pension and benefit administration, financial leadership, and more. 

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Preconference Seminars

Enhance your technical skills and deepen your expertise by arriving to Toronto a day or two early to participate in GFOA’s preconference seminars on Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For example, take a look at:

Financial Leadership (Friday, May 20, 1 to 5 p.m.)

Finding solutions for many of the financial challenges facing local governments requires not only technical financial skills, but also competency in financial leadership. This preconference seminar will focus on identifying characteristics of financial leaders and helping develop and refine the skills needed at all levels of the organization (not just the CFO). Speakers will present case study examples and leading practices on how to identify and develop leadership skills in your organization and how to prepare the next generation of leaders to emerge with the tools, skills, and experience necessary to drive financial leadership. This seminar will also highlight work from GFOA’s task force on financial resiliency and identify specific ways that finance can be a driver for a more financially resilient government. Specific recommendations from the task force related to finance and strategic planning, budgeting, economic development, capital planning, and overall risk management will be discussed.

Additional courses and to register.
Apply for a First-Time Conference Attendee Scholarship

If you are a first-time annual conference attendee who is a GFOA active (government) member, we encourage you to apply for an annual conference scholarship in the amount of the full-conference registration fee. Fifty scholarships will be awarded per state or province in the order the applications are received. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please e-mail First Annual Conference.


Traveling to Toronto

Passports. All delegates traveling to Toronto from the United States will need a passport. Please plan ahead; obtaining a passport can take approximately 4-6 weeks.
     Information on applying for or renewing a passport
     Information for first-time passport application

Driving to Toronto. To get back into the United States, citizens need a U.S. passport, passport card, enhanced driver’s license, Trusted Traveler Program card (Nexus, Sentri, Fast), U.S. Military ID card (when on official orders), U.S. merchant mariner document (when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business), or form I-872 American Indian Card. Click here for more information.

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Association News
ACA and 2016 Tax Filing – GFOA Wants to Hear from You!

Upon implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the IRS was officially charged with implementing the numerous tax-related provisions. In preparation for each filing season, the IRS has done substantial work to ready business processes and systems to facilitate return filing and compliance with the ACA. GFOA would like to report back to the IRS about our members’ perspectives on support, readiness, and ease of use of the information return filing for ACA documents for 2016. Specifically, we would like to get your feedback on these three questions:

  • Readiness. Do you feel sufficiently prepared to file the necessary ACA forms for your entity with the IRS? If no, why not?
  • Support. Have you received direct support from the IRS on your entity’s behalf? If so, how was your customer service experience? Do you have advice for the IRS on how to enhance their customer support?
  • Challenges and Constraints. What are barriers (of local governments, etc.) that constrain GFOA members’ ability to furnish timely and accurate ACA information returns?
Take this very brief survey.
Thanks to GFOA's Budget Award Reviewers
GFOA wishes to thank the more than 525 professionals who completed a budget review this past calendar year for the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program. We appreciate their invaluable contribution to the goal of improving the quality of state and local government budget documents. Click here for a complete list of reviewers, along with an application form for individuals who wish to serve as budget reviewers. Questions can be directed to the program’s senior manager, John Fishbein.
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Critical Skills for New Budget Analysts

If you’re a new or an intermediate analyst, or new to government and looking to gain important budgeting skills, maximize your training opportunities by signing up for GFOA’s Budget Analyst Training Academy, March 15 to 18 at GFOA’s offices in Chicago, Illinois.

This immersion training course will focus on skills and techniques critical to public-sector budget analysts. Using a combination of exercises, discussions, and lectures, the course will provide an overview of the budget development process, including best practices and techniques required in effective budgeting. This course will cover essential elements of public-sector budgeting, such as goal setting, program development, revenue and expense analysis, position budgeting, capital budgeting, and more. Designed for budget analysts from both small and large organizations, this course will provide critical information for new analysts and allow veteran analysts an opportunity to hone their skills.

Earn 30 CPE credits with your participation. Click here to read more, view the list of course instructors, and register today. Please note the new course times: Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Wednesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you have any questions on the training, contact GFOA.

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GASB Seeks Volunteers for Field Test on Asset Retirement Obligations
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is encouraging governments that may be affected by the guidance proposed in its December 2015 exposure draft on Certain Asset Retirement Obligations to participate in a field test. Those potentially interested in participating may contact either Brett Riley (bjriley@gasb.org or 203-956-5216) or Jialan Su (jsu@gasb.org or 203-956-5339) by Friday, January 29, 2016.
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Don’t Miss These Opportunities to Train at Your Desktop

Enjoy the convenience of training at your desktop by viewing GFOA’s one- or two-hour webinar presentations:

Check out our other offerings.
Last Chance to Save on All GFOA Publication Orders in January!

Take 20.16% off all GFOA publication orders during the month of January. Go to GFOA’s publication webpage to check out our “must-own” publications, Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (GAAFR), GAAFR Supplement, and GFOA’s popular Elected Official’s Guides (recent releases include An Elected Official’s Guide: Internal Control). Download the publication titles listing and mail or fax the enclosed order form to GFOA or scan and e-mail the order form to GFOA Publications. Enter the promotional code GFOA2016 on the order form. (This offer expires on January 31, 2016, and cannot be applied when ordering online using GFOA’s e-store. The offer applies to new publication orders only and cannot be combined with any other discount.)

For more information on GFOA’s publications, contact GFOA.
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News Links
Get Recognition for Your Government's Bright Ideas

Since 1986, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School Innovations in Government Awards Program has recognized and disseminated the nations’ most creative and effective government initiatives through press attention and monetary grants. In 2010, the Innovations program launched its Bright Ideas initiative, which is designed to promote and provide further recognition of innovative and promising government programs and partnerships.

Nominate your Bright Idea.
Reserves Remain Short of Pre-Recession Levels in Most States

States have made some progress in rebuilding their financial cushions since the Great Recession. Overall, states had enough money in general fund budget reserves in fiscal year 2007—just before the economic downturn—to run government operations for a median of 41.3 days; that compares to 29.1 days in fiscal 2015, according to data collected by the National Association of State Budget Officers. 

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States Forecast Slower Tax Growth through 2017 and Beyond

A new brief released by the Rockefeller Institute indicates that a majority of states are forecasting slower personal income tax and sales tax revenue growth in 2016 and 2017. The sluggishness in tax revenues is partly due to expected slower growth in the economy and long-term demographic changes as well as due to volatility in the stock market and prolonged declines in oil and gas prices. 

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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Jeffrey Esser

The GFOA Newsletter (ISSN 1051-6964) is published weekly by
the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Correspondence regarding editorial and/or business matters should be sent to
GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210. Phone - 312/977-9700 FAX - 312/977-4806.


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