The final schedule for sessions at the 2018 annual conference is listed below. All speakers and session outlines will be added to the site by 4/24. Slides and other handouts will be availble for download on 5/1.
Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia
The need for more civic engagement is largely in opposition with the complex financial information governments need to convey. Visuals are excellent for effectively communicating intricate ideas and data in a way that’s accessible to stakeholders who are not familiar with accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, investing, debt management, pension, and other financial information. In this session attendees will learn how and when to transform data sets into visual graphics, such as charts, bar graphs, scatterplots, heatmaps, infographics, and more. Expert presenters will also explain how to use different tools to enhance your storytelling and increase audience comprehension.
Small governments face numerous hurdles in their debt management program including in-house subject expertise. This session will focus on effective strategies for issuing debt, hiring outside professionals, meeting disclosure requirements, and utilizing checklists and policies and procedures to best manage these responsibilities through the lens of a small government.
Governments that issue tax exempt debt often include their audited financial statements in official statements issued as part of offering process. This session will examine what options governments have regarding the level of auditor involvement with their tax exempt bond issues, as well as recent changes to professional standards governing what external auditors must do when their audit clients are issuing tax exempt bonds.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear a South Dakota case this spring involving the collection of sales taxes from online retail sales is expected to break the current gridlock on an issue that has divided members of Congress. This session will describe both the progress of the legislation to date and the potential outcome of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. Listen to panelists discuss the potential outcomes of both for local governments.
Pension-related balance sheet and income statements have become increasingly volatile, while regulatory requirements have expanded and become more complex, heightening the risks of incurring large costs. To address these problems, pension sponsors have been reducing risk and/or transferring it to another party. Presenters will discuss ways to diagnose and inventory pension risk factors, determine which risk factors to address, decide which approaches to use in mitigating risk (benefits, investments, contributions, insurance), and examine the overall impact on the pension system and its members.
Accounting for Investments is a complex and evolving area of government accounting. GASB has issued at least 15 statements that govern some aspect of accounting and financial reporting for investments. This session will cover the current accounting and financial reporting requirements for investments, including the definition of an investment, valuation of a variety of types of investments, external investment pools, investment derivatives, securities lending and repurchase agreements, as well as a preview of forthcoming guidance from GASB on majority equity interest holdings.
As systems become integrated and more government information is housed on the internet, finance officers must be aware of the security risks and mitigating strategies for safeguarding sensitive information. This session will feature internet security experts to provide an overview of key elements of a security strategy focused for a non-technical audience.
GFOA’s Urban Forum provides an opportunity for members of large governments to network and exchange information on topics unique to the demands of managing their large and complex entities. The forum is currently open to GFOA members in urban jurisdictions from the United States and Canada with metropolitan area populations of 1,000,000 or more. Delegates from urban jurisdictions are invited to attend, network, discuss current topics, and become part of ongoing discussions among GFOA members from large urban jurisdictions.
Rarely, if ever, do governmental organizations have sole access and discretion in who or what they tax. With continued pressures to do more with less, governments make do with the revenue sources that are most readily accessible, often not taking into consideration how other governments may be drawing from the same "pool." This session will focus on how to collaborate with other governments within the same location to best optimize revenue sources and lessen the burden on the local tax base. Speakers will discuss examples from their organizations and tactics they used to effectively work with other overlapping jurisdictions.
One strategy to address employee engagement and retention is to offer mentorship programs. But what does an effective mentoring program look like in a finance office? Speakers will discuss how they have developed their mentorship programs and their effect on engagement, retention, and overall professional development of employees.
Cyberattacks on governments are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated, creating a risk that governments can no longer afford to ignore. Cyber insurance can help mitigate the financial risk associated with a cyberattack by covering expenses, such as legal defense costs, computer forensics, and breach notification and remediation. Experienced practitioners and industry experts will explain what cyber insurance does, what’s covered and what isn’t, why governments have problems buying coverage, what to look for in a cyber-insurance carrier.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is in the midst of research involving whether the framework for going concern needs to be updated in light of many governments experiencing financial difficulty or oversight, but without the legal ability (or desire) to declare bankruptcy. In addition, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has released new auditing standards (SAS-132) updating the attestation and auditing of going concern. Learn about these new projects from the experts.
While perhaps not the most exciting aspect of the treasury function, it is one of the most important - receiving and depositing monies. New tools to help with check processing, card processing and even handling actual currency are emerging in the marketplace, and governments should be aware of these options to help with this essential duty.
ERP systems traditionally have focused on finance, procurement, human resources, and payroll. However, governments do much more than what has been labeled as the "core" scope for an ERP project. Governments building a truely integrated system are able to connect with treasury management, utility billing, permitting, work management, inventory, tax systems and more. Attend this session to learn how to create a more efficient enterprise wide system that leverages your ERP system and provides opportunities for other departments throughout the organization.
With the implementation of GASB's pension and other postemployment benefit (OPEB) standards, some of the largest numbers and most detailed disclosures in a government's financial statements are calculated by actuaries. Yet, accountants and auditors must understand and work with these numbers - and the professionals who calculate them. In this session you will hear from actuaries and accountants about their respective roles and how to most effectively manage inter-dependency to facilitate timely and reliable pension and OPEB reporting.
When it comes to ethics, most people know the "right" thing to do. The problem is actually doing it in the face of pressures to do the "wrong" thing. In fact, ethical tragedies are usually the result of people who sit silently on the sidelines afraid or uncertain of what to do about a transgression. At this session you will learn a distinctive new approach to ethics, called "Giving Voice to Values," which is focused on how to enact the values that we already know-- think of it as a "self-defense class for your soul."
The cloud is no longer a novelty. The number of mature cloud customers is growing and the entire market is evolving creating both significant benefits for government, and lessons learned to discover both strengths and weaknesses. This session will address effective contract management practices for cloud services. Factors that will be discussed include service-level agreements, data and product ownership, liability, and transfer of services. Speakers will offer advice on how to avoid pitfalls in subscription contracts and how to best use cloud services to your benefit.
Local governments offer financial incentives to private firms in hopes of encouraging development, creating jobs, and enhancing the local tax base, which will ultimately improve the community. However, the effectiveness of many of these incentives are questionable. The finance officer should take an active role in the analysis of development incentives and integrate this analysis into more comprehensive financial planning efforts. Overall, finance officers must ensure that any incentive offered creates a positive net impact on the community. At this session you will learn about how finance officers can and should contribute to the analysis of development incentives and play a vital role in economic development programs.
This session, long a staple at the annual conference, will be joined this year by the GASB Chairman. Speakers will provide a comprehensive overview of the key developments in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting that affect state and local governments. Topics covered will include recently promulgated standards, upcoming implementations and related practice issues, as well as developments related to current GASB projects likely to affect issuers and auditors in the near future.
The market has seen greater fluctuations over the last year than in the recent past. Experts will address the factors that are affecting the market and the types of products that are being used by governments to manage a changing interest-rate environment.
This session will cover why continuous improvement is essential for Canadian municipalities to survive and thrive. The City of Saint John will share the successes and lessons learned from its continuous improvement journey.
GFOA recently released best practices on many facets related to a government’s investment program, stressing the importance of having robust and clear investment policies. This session will be split into two parts. In the first, speakers will discuss the essential components of an investment policy and the pros and cons for various strategies used by governments of all types and sizes. The second part will feature roundtable discussions where finance officers can trade lessons learned, ask questions of their peers, and compare investment strategies in use in your government.
Public participation in government is an essential part of our democratic tradition. Local government, as the government closest to the people, is uniquely positioned to rehabilitate our democratic capacities. However, the conventional approach to public engagement is often painful for all involved and produces little useful insight for decision making. Fortunately, it doesn't need to be that way. At this session you will hear from local governments who have used unconventional models of public engagement. You will learn what they did, how it helped them, and how you can do the same for your community.
In a recent survey, GFOA asked members questions about recent job changes and results touched on an interesting point: the primary factor driving many finance officers to change jobs was their boss. It isn’t easy to manage people, so how can we be effective managers and still create an environment to retain employees and keep them engaged? Learn about common mistakes that managers make and strategies on how we can positively shape the work environment.