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GFOA Newsletter
March 2, 2017
Additional Supplementary Information for Departmental Reports

Most governments report multiple departments within the general fund, and they commonly issue a separate financial report for one or more of these departments, drawing the information presented in the separate departmental report directly from the general fund financial statements. No government-wide financial information is presented. Independent auditors render an opinion on the fair presentation of departmental reports based on their conformity with all generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the data presented (e.g., relevant note disclosures).

Authoritative accounting and financial reporting standards have not specifically addressed the contents of separately issued financial reports of units that are not legally separate (e.g., departmental reports and reports of individual funds). As a result, there has been uncertainty about what additional information such reports should contain. It would appear that the presentation of certain supplementary information would benefit the users of departmental reports, just as it does the users of the entity’s financial report and the separately issued reports of component units.

GFOA therefore recommends including the following supplementary information in separately issued reports for departments of the general fund: a letter of transmittal, a departmental profile, information that will be useful in assessing economic condition, acknowledgments of those who played a significant role in preparing the departmental report, and trend data. The format and presentation should also follow certain guidelines. Specific recommendations are included in GFOA’s recently issued best practice, Additional Supplementary Information for Departmental Reports.

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Association News
Prepare for Tomorrow’s Challenges at GFOA’s Annual Conference

GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference, May 21–24, in Denver, Colorado, will feature leading practitioners and industry experts discussing recent changes and breaking developments on topics related to accounting, auditing, budgeting, capital planning, debt management, financial reporting, pension and benefit administration, and treasury and investment management. View a list of this year’s sessions. If you’re not yet registered, sign up now to take advantage of an advanced discounted registration fee!

With more than 460 “first-timers” already committed to attend the Annual Conference, the first-time annual conference attendee scholarship is an opportunity not to be missed! Click here for details on how to apply or share the information with a colleague. Please note that all 50 scholarships are committed for the States of California and Colorado.

If you have any questions about the Annual Conference, contact GFOA. See you in Denver!

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Learn How Current Debt Issuance and Management Trends Are Affecting Public-Sector Entities

The municipal marketplace is rapidly evolving after a push from investors and the federal government over the last few years for stronger disclosure requirements. Presenters for GFOA’s preconference seminar, Essentials of Debt Issuance, May 20, from 1:00–5:00 pm in Denver, Colorado, will guide participants through the responsibilities before, during, and after bonds are sold, common transaction stakeholders, rating agency expectations, as well as other functions of debt management.

The seminar will feature practical examples, highlight recent regulatory changes, and encourage interactive discussion on each topic. Relevant best practices, advisories, and resources created by GFOA’s Committee on Governmental Debt Management will also be discussed. Participants will gain a better understanding of the risks associated with issuing debt and how to navigate an increasingly complex marketplace.

Earn 4 CPE credits with your participation. Register today!

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GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program Surpasses 1,600 Submissions

GFOA’s Budget Awards Program has just surpassed 1,600 submissions. Your participation in the program has not only contributed to its growth, but to advancing the public finance profession.

A list of award winners for 2015 and 2016 are available on GFOA’s website. The listing of winners is accompanied by a PDF of their award-winning budget document. In addition, the list of winners identifies budget documents that received special recognition from GFOA for their effective use of performance measures or for their success at integrating information on the capital component of the budget. Thank you to the program’s more than 550 reviewers.       

For information about the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program, please contact John Fishbein, Senior Program Manager.

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March 14 to 15: Special Class for Virginia Local School Districts 

School Budgeting Best Practices, a special two-day seminar for Virginia local school districts, will provide participants with an opportunity to acquire hands-on, practical implementation of GFOA’s best practices in school budgeting. The program is structured around the new best practices in school budgeting, fostering collaboration between academic and finance staff to develop strategic goals and allocate scarce resources accordingly. The end goal of the new budget process focuses on aligning these scarce resources to focus on optimizing student achievement.

This special session will be held March 14 to 15, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern), in Hanover County, Virginia. Attendees will receive 16 CPE credits.

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News Links
Tackling Community Development a Different Way

Many communities would like to bring improvements to neighborhoods that haven’t seen much investment in quite some time—but funding is, of course, an issue. There is more than one way to approach development, though, and Governing points out that “it needn’t always take big public subsidies to begin turning a neighborhood around.” The articles asks, “If we know that developers are more likely to invest in neighborhoods with already established ‘third places,’ such as coffee shops and cafés, then why don't we get to work at creating those first?” This approach “is cheaper for cities, less risky for developers and less scary for long-time residents.” The article cites an example of this model at work in the Walnut Hills neighborhood in Cincinnati, which has seen “a small but still catalytic change to the neighborhood's historic commercial corridor.”

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Hiring Freezes Often Have Unintended Consequences

Given the massive percentage of a government’s budget that goes to personnel, instituting a hiring freeze can look like a good way to control expenditures during times of fiscal stress. “But not all hiring freezes are created equal,” Talent Economy Points out. “For instance, just as a halt in hiring may help stem short-term expenses, the strategy comes with long-term unintended consequences, from additional overtime costs to decreased company morale.” To address these issues, a government can keep the freeze short, boost communications about why the freeze is happening and how long it will be in place, and provide support for the existing employees who are affected. There are also strategic points; for example, “if the goal is to reduce the firm’s headcount, it’s best to freeze hiring in departments with high turnover.” 

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Middle Managers Can—and Should—Promote a “Fix It” Culture

The main job of a middle manager is to foster an environment where “spinning the truth, watering down feedback, omitting information that may trigger alarm, and manipulating data are replaced with openness, honesty, and transparency,” according to Careers in Government, which suggests five ways to make it happen:

  1. Make sure your meetings are discussions, not one-way information dumps. To encourage your employees to have tough conversations, you must make sure they understand that you’re willing to help fix things.
  2. Have real conversations about problem areas rather than putting your effort into covering them up.
  3. “Don’t treat bad news like a powder keg.”
  4. Fix it right the first time. Ask strategic questions to figure out what’s really wrong, fix it, and move on.
  5. Consciously cultivate a culture of bold truth-telling.
Read More.
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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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