City of Cassville awarded for finances

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence credited to clerk’s work

Cassville was recently awarded with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence from the Government Finance Officers Association for going the extra mile to produce a financial report that is comprehensive and transparent.

“I am very pleased and proud to recognize Jennifer Evans, our City Clerk and Finance Office for receiving the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year 2017,” said Steve Walensky, Cassville city administrator. “This is the second year in a row Cassville has been recognized from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada for excellence in financial reporting. The level of effort that is put into our financial reporting is significant and to be judged by an impartial panel of experts in this area and then rewarded by them for meeting their high standards and full transparency on the city’s finances is a tribute to Jennifer’s talent and professionalism.

“Being financially sound positions our community for the future and provides solid credit ratings for any borrowing requirements we may have in the years to come. I appreciate the honor of receiving the award from the GFOA and thank Jennifer Evans for her determination and skill set she brings to her position here at City Hall.”

Evans said the Government Finance Officers Association is a professional organization that has guidelines and offers courses for all government finance from state level to local government and school districts.

“It is a national organization that many governments belong to that is headquartered in Chicago,” Evans said. “They offer education and certification programs.”

According to Evans, when an entity prepares a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) and submit it for review, it is reviewed by three different reviewers.

“They pick it apart, with a 32-page listed criteria that has to be met,” Evans said. “It means that we have put forth our financial reports in a format that is transparent, easy to read and is accurate to what out financial state is.”

Evans said every government is required by law to prepare financial statements and follow the government accounting standard board guidelines. Those financial reports have to be reported to the state auditor every year.

“The CAFR is just a more detailed report that has a few more sections to it,” Evans said. “It has a statistical section, and an interdictory section were we discuss what the state of the city is, where we are going and brings in some budgetary goals.”

Evans said she had to apply for the award within six months of the fiscal year end, so she had to submit it before June 30 for the 2017 reporting year.

“Once it is reviewed, you get the results within four to six months,” Evans said. “This is the second time we have received the award, I had applied the year before but we did not receive the award for the 2015 reporting year.”

Evans said the first time she applied for the 2015 financial statements, it was a learning experience.

“Once you receive the award, you get a list of things that can be improved upon or made better to help guide you for the next year,” Evans said. “It can be so difficult to obtain because it is a lot of work and criteria that has to be met.”

Evans said the statistical section gathers statistics from 10 years.

“It is a 100-page document, so there is a lot of information to check and double check to make sure you are providing an accurate picture of the financial situation,” Evans said. “Typically, a city the size of Cassville does not produce a CAFR because of the amount of work that goes into it.”

According to Evans, receiving this award also helps with the city’s bond rating, so when it goes to borrow money, agencies look a bit more favorably on those that have a CAFR.

“They know that what you are producing is accurate,” Evans said. “They know that you have gone through the trouble to produce that in a way that is easy to read.”

Evans said she wants to do everything with excellence, and her requirements are the same of those in larger communities.

“I take pride in my job and think that just because we are small town doesn’t mean we can’t strive for prestigious and excellent things,” Evans said. “I want to make Cassville proud, and let the citizens know that we are spending their tax dollars wisely, are responsible and care that our finances are in good standing.”

The CAFR is available at www.cityofcassville.com under the finance department for the public to view.

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