The Government Finance Officers Association (or GFOA) is a professional association of state, provincial, and local government finance officers in the United States and Canada. They have recently published the Tenth Edition of Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting (GAAFR or “Blue Book”) in July 2020.
GFOA is an organization in which members can join to use the many different tools offered, such as learning and research materials in different areas, networking and consulting. There are also different awards that GFOA presents annually, such as the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) and Award for Excellence in Government Finance.
The GAAFR is designed to serve as:
A comprehensive introduction to public-sector accounting and auditing for experienced financial professionals new to state and local government; A practical introduction to governmental accounting and auditing for new staff members; A practical reference tool for accounting and auditing staff; and A practice-oriented textbook for college-level classes and seminars on governmental accounting, auditing, and financial reporting.
Included in the newest edition:
- Updates for 25 GASB Statements and 9 Implementation Guides issued since the 2012 GAAFR, including: Pensions, OPEB, Fair Value, Tax Abatements, Fiduciary Activities, Leases
- Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) literature references changed to cite the GASB Codification
- New/expanded chapters on Fair Value and Investments and on Environmental Obligations
- Reordered accounting and financial reporting chapters for a more logical flow: Concepts → Basic Financial Statements, including Note Disclosures → RSI → Other Supplementary Information in the financial section of a CAFR → complete CAFR
- Increased use of illustrative journal entries, including for pension and OPEB, defeasances using existing resources, irrevocable split-interest agreements, leases (lessor and lessee)
- Updated derivative reference rates to Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) and Effective Federal Funds Rate (EFFR) in place of LIBOR
- Explanation of answers to the review questions moved to the end of each chapter, immediately following the questions
There are often updates to GASB statements and codification, so this is a very helpful resource to find all current information and updates in one place. Having resources to updates and existing policies/standards is always important, for any profession. Governmental Finance and Accounting can seem like a monster, but with the right resources and networks, it can be broken down to the right levels for understanding across the board. In Arizona, we have GFOAz, who serves as the state chapter of the national Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona. GFOAz provides the same types of services as GFOA, with the training broken down to a State level so it is more custom to Governmental support in Arizona.