Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Awards for Excellence?
The GFOA Awards for Excellence recognize outstanding and innovative contributions in the field of government finance.

Within this program are two special recognition awards:

  • Small Government Awards are given to organizations with fewer than 200 full-time employees.
  • The Louisville Award for Innovation in Government Finance recognizes an exceptional accomplishment that introduces a new concept or technique with enduring value to the government finance profession.

Why Should I Enter? 

Winning the GFOA’s Award for Excellence is an honor — the highest level of professional acknowledgement within the public finance profession today. Winners also can be proud that their creativity and innovation will provide examples for other jurisdictions to follow, promoting best practices in government finance.  


Who Can Enter? 

All GFOA members are eligible to participate. Non-members may also submit entries, but their applications must be sponsored by an active GFOA member.  


How Much Does It Cost?
There are no fees or charges associated with the program; however, winners must be present at the GFOA’s annual conference to accept the award in person. The 2014 annual conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 18-21.


What Projects and Programs Are Eligible? 

Any project or program that takes the practice of government finance to a higher level of excellence is appropriate for submission. Each application must specify the category and subcategory in which it will be judged. Click here for descriptions of each category to help you determine which are most appropriate for your entry. The bullet points under each category are intended as examples only — they are not all-inclusive.  


The GFOA will review all applications to make sure they are categorized appropriately. The GFOA reserves the right to reassign submissions to a more appropriate category.  


Previously submitted entries cannot be re-submitted.  


How Do I Submit an Application? 

Complete the official Awards for Excellence application form, which is available on the GFOA’s Web site at under “Award Programs.” Please respond to all of the application questions, adding additional pages as needed.  


Submit the application electronically, along with all documentation, to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


When Is the Deadline?
Your application form and any supporting documentation must be submitted by December 15, 2013.

How Are Entries Judged?  Applications are reviewed by a panel of experienced government finance professionals. Panel members are assigned to review applications in categories in which they have expertise.  


What Criteria Are Used to Evaluate the Entries?  Applications are reviewed using standard evaluation criteria that include technical significance, transferability, documentation, originality, cost effectiveness, and finance officer involvement.   An Award for Excellence will not necessarily be awarded every year in each category and subcategory.  


How Can I Improve My Chances of Winning? Awards for Excellence winners showcase true innovations, as opposed to well-executed versions of established practices. Clearly document all the benefits the innovation provides to the jurisdiction and its citizens, explaining the local need being addressed and how the idea can be translated to help others in similar situations. Benefits should be quantified in real terms such as budget savings or operational efficiencies.   In addition, the materials submitted by the winners of the 2010 awards are available on the GFOA’s Web site at under “Award Programs” (click on the title of the program). Reviewing these documents can provide a good understanding of how to present an innovative project or program. 


What Do I Do If I Win?  Award winners will be notified by April 1, 2014. Winners must accept the award in person at the GFOA’s annual conference. Winners also will be asked to write an article for GFOA’s member magazine, Government Finance Review.