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GFOA Newsletter
June 2, 2016
GFOA’s Annual Conference:
President, Past President Speeches Available

GFOA President, Past President Conference Speeches Available Online. View the addresses given by GFOA President Marc Gonzales and immediate past-president Heather A. Johnston at GFOA’s 2016 conference last week in Toronto.

Share Your Thoughts: GFOA Conference Session Evaluations. Please take a few minutes to provide feedback on the annual conference sessions you attended. Your feedback is important, and GFOA staff will take your comments into account when developing programming for next year’s conference.

Watch this SpaceIf you missed any annual conference sessions that interested you, or weren’t able to join us in Toronto, take a look at the audio recordings of each session. Information on ordering will be available next week.

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Association News
GFOA’s Black Caucus/Multicultural Coalition Survey

What should GFOA be doing to promote diversity and increase opportunities for underrepresented groups in the field of public finance? This survey seeks to identify the level of interest among GFOA members in participating in a group that would represent the interests and goals of all potentially underrepresented groups within GFOA and/or the public finance field. 

Please take a moment to fill out our survey and let GFOA know your thoughts.

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Just Say No: Financial Products and Strategies to Avoid

At “Just Say No: Financial Products and Strategies to Avoid,” a session at GFOA’s annual conference last week, the panelists discussed the pitfalls of newer, more “innovative” financial instruments that local governments have access to.

Pension and OPEB obligation bonds were discussed first. The prospective benefit of these “benefit bonds” is that the investment income that the government earns on the bond proceeds would exceed the interest paid out to the bond buyers, although gaining this benefit requires the government issuer to correctly time the market so that the time period of the borrowing takes place during a time period in the economy when the returns on investments exceed cost of borrowing—something that is easier said than done.

A relatively new investment that’s been getting a lot of press lately is social impact bonds. Most of them follow a basic formula – private investors pay a government to launch a new social program that’s designed to achieve a measurable result. If the program works, funders get their money back, and some or all of the savings attributable to that result. If it fails, the funders lose most or all of their investment. These investments are incredibly complex, multi-year undertakings. 

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Next Generation of Public Finance Officers Takes Broad Outlook

At GFOA’s “Next Generation Roundtable” annual conferencesession discussion, people in the early stages of a career in public finance exchanged views on a variety of topics. For example, when it came to how they got into public finance, there was a diverse range of experiences. For some participants, it was a public administration degree program, while others came from private-sector employers (and were, in fact, surprised to learn that public finance was a viable career path).

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Don’t Miss GFOA’s New Publication Release on Interpreting Local Government Financial Statements

We are all familiar with the notion of optical illusions like a mirage in the desert. Well, in local government financial statements, certain items are also not always necessarily what they at first appear to be. These “financial statement illusions” can easily lead to serious misinterpretation and bad decisions. GFOA’s new publication helps minimize that risk by examining 25 specific and commonly encountered mistakes.

Beyond serving those who seek to improve their own knowledge of local government financial reporting, Interpreting Local Government Financial Statements — How to Avoid 25 Common Mistakes also provides financial reporting professionals with a practical way to share their knowledge with others.

For information about quantity discounts, e-mail GFOA Publications.

Download the order form and mail, fax, or scan and e-mail it to GFOA, or order online.

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GFOA’s Accounting Academy: Network with Accountants and Auditors Who Are also New to the Public Sector

Accountants and auditors who are new to the public sector face the immediate and daunting challenge of familiarizing themselves with the highly specialized rules, guidelines, and practices applicable to state and local governments. GFOA’s Accounting Academy: An Intensive Introduction to Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting, August 1−5, 2016, at GFOA’s offices in Chicago, Illinois, is intended for those who already possess at least a basic knowledge of private-sector accounting and will combine lecture, discussion, and exercises to help newcomers make this difficult, but essential, transition.

Earn 32 CPE credits with your participation. If you have any questions about GFOA training, contact GFOA.

Register today! Registration form / Register online

Please note the revised schedule: The course will meet from 1 to 5 p.m. on August 1; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (including an hour for lunch) on August 2 to 4, and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on August 5. Check in and receive your seminar materials between 12:30 and 1 p.m. on August 1.

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New CPFOs Announced

The following individuals earned the Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) designation in spring 2016: Jennifer Evans, City Clerk/ Finance Officer, Cassville, MO; Norman Kildow, Assistant Controller, Tulsa, OK; Tomislav Raguz, Director of Finance, Cleveland Heights, OH; Kenton Tsoodle, Assistant Finance Director, Oklahoma City, OK; and Ray Waaraniemi, Investment Compliance Administrator, Minneapolis, MN.

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News Links
Tips for Improving Your Cyber Workforce

State and local agencies face a number of significant challenges in educating, training, and recruiting an adequate cyber workforce, including limited resources and a lack of advocacy for cybersecurity on the part of elected officials, according to GovLoop.com. The former chief information security officer of Arlington County, Virginia, shared insights on improvements the state and local cyber workforce need to make, including the importance of states having an information security executive position and the importance of emphasizing the security component of every employee’s job.

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Moving into Leadership

“One of the most critical aspects to being an effective leader is to make the transition away from being an individual contributor to a facilitator and supporter of followers,” according to GovLoop. The article notes that leaders need to make a psychological shift, figuring out your leadership values and remembering that your performance is now about the success of your team rather than you as an individual. Find a way to project comfort and confidence in the role of being a leader, and avoid regressing to non-leader actions like participating in office gossip.

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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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