finance

Once In the Bank, Are Public Funds Safe?

As any auditor will advise, processing receipts, whether in the form of cash or checks, poses inherent risks of mishandling. Without proper internal controls, revenue accounts may not reconcile for a variety of reasons. That is why significant attention is paid during the audit process to the policies and procedures dealing with revenue collection operations throughout all municipal departments handling these types of transactions.

Procuring Quality Audit Services Through the RFP Process

Regardless of the type or size of your government, there are many advantages to having a high quality audit of your government’s financial statements. High quality audits can result in increased accountability over government programs and long-term improvements in public confidence in government. In addition, high quality audits can result in recommendations for immediate improvements in management operations and systems of internal controls.

New Hampshire Public Finance Consortium Fiscal Forecast Spurs Unique Partnership

As a group of local government finance directors gathered in Manchester last spring to discuss the current fiscal state of their communities, unbeknownst to me was the fact that author and competitive government expert David Osborne, in his 2004 bestseller The Price of Government, had already outlined the factors we were meeting to discuss—factors that he sees placing us “in a state of permanent fiscal crisis." Local and worldwide forces are at work right here in New Hampshire.

Important New Hampshire Wage and Hour Regulations

The right of an employee to receive prompt and full payment of wages for hours worked has historically been considered a “sacred cow" that is protected by both federal and state statutes. There are a plethora of wage and hour rules that can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming. The New Hampshire Department of Labor (DOL) closely monitors and enforces New Hampshire’s state regulations. Failure to comply may result in severe consequences to your organization.

Developing a Purchasing Policy

New officials are often surprised to learn that there is no state law requiring competitive bidding for town contracts and purchases (with the exception of a public official involved as one of the sellers or contractors). However, unlike their counterparts in the private sector, government purchasing officials are often required to publicly disclose prices paid, as well as the reasoning and justification for choosing a particular vendor or contractor.

The Optional Fiscal Year: Is It a Good Option for Your Municipality?

Cities and towns may change their budget year from a December 31 year-end to a June 30 year-end under RSA 31:94-a. Currently, eleven cities and seventeen towns in New Hampshire operate on a fiscal year running from July 1 to June 30. There are a number of advantages to adopting the optional fiscal year, as well as a number of ways to fund the transition to a June 30 year-end.

GASB Statement 45 and Its Impact on Your Financial Statements

After implementing the new financial reporting model prescribed in Statement 34 by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), many municipalities and school districts thought they were home-free in terms of financial statement changes. However, one area not addressed at the time of GASB Statement 34 implementation was the issue of reporting certain employment benefits other than pensions. In 2004, the GASB issued Statement 45 Accounting and Financial Reporting for Post-employment Benefits Other Than Pensions, requiring that these benefits be reported on an accrual basis.

How to Segregate Financial Duties in a Small Municipal Office

One of the most important internal controls for any organization to establish is the segregation of incompatible duties. The purpose of segregating incompatible duties is to insure that no one individual is in a position that allows such an individual to both commit an irregularity and then conceal that irregularity. Certainly in a large community with multiple employees within a department, there is ample opportunity to segregate functions so that employees, performing their routine duties, serve as a check on one another.

New Municipal Financial Data Tool Enables Historic Comparison

By Betsy McClain

Municipal managers and policy makers have labored over the gathering, analysis and presentation of local government financial data for as long as anyone can remember. Sound historic financial data is the underlying foundation of effective financial forecasting, decision-making and local policy development. Only with a comprehensive understanding of their past and current financial circumstances can municipalities formulate effective policies for navigating the choppy financial waters ahead.

Emerging Issues: What Will Be the ‘New Normal’ in Your City?

Use of the term “new normal” has become the new normal.

The idea that transformative economic change is occurring showed up recently, for example, in “Business Week,” a Brookings report, an ABC news series, the front page of “The Wall Street Journal” and “The Economist.”

The optimistic economic vocabulary that we conventionally use disposes us toward an expectation of continuity, not radical change. Standard metaphors of the business “cycle” and “recovery” suggest a return to the status quo ante, that is, to “normal.”

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