City finance department nationally recognized for excellenceFeb 05, 2024 02:48PM ● By By Elisa Eames
Surrounded by Hales, city officials, Mayor Palmer, and members of the Herriman City Council, Maurer poses with the Certificate awarded to the Herriman City Finance Department. (Herriman City)
Jan. 10 was an exciting day for Herriman City and its Finance Department.
During the city council meeting that evening, President-elect Nick Hales of the Utah Government Finance Officers Association presented Herriman’s finance department with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Hales acted on behalf of the National Government Finance Officers Association. The award recognized the city’s superior Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.
The GFOA, based in Chicago, stated, “The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive ‘spirit of full disclosure’... The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”
Herriman completes the ACFR at the end of each fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. Hales noted that this is the eighth time that Herriman City has received this award, which represents an entire month of hard work on the part of the city’s financial officers, plus additional time spent by the city’s external auditors.
“Preparing the ACFR is a high priority for the Finance Department and demonstrates to the mayor, city council and residents that high-quality financial reporting and transparency is important to the city,” said a spokesperson for the Herriman Finance Department.
The national ACFR program was first implemented in 1945 to aid and encourage local and state governments to strive to exceed the minimum accounting requirements for full disclosure and transparency in financial reporting.
“[The ACFR is] a very long report, hard to read, and very technical. I don’t even like to read mine,” joked Hales, who is also the chief accountant for West Valley City.
The city budget and spending for the year make up a significant portion of the data that goes into the ACFR. Herriman’s website states, “The city council approves the budget prior to the beginning of each fiscal year. A tentative budget is produced in the spring prior to adoption, which includes a period for residents to review and provide public comment on the budget.”
The Certificate of Achievement bestowed by Hales also recognized Herriman’s first-rate Popular Annual Financial Reporting. The PAFR condenses the ACFR down to 10–20 pages and is not as labor-intensive as the ACFR, though Herriman’s PAFR still required two weeks of work with its Communications Department. The PAFR includes graphics, photos and community information and is a more easily digestible report. This is the fourth time Herriman has received an award for its PAFR, and because of the arduousness in preparing the report, the city is one of only eight in Utah that submitted their PAFR and received an award.
“I assure you that this is a very significant endeavor for your team,” Hales said. “So congratulations. I wanted to… recognize the Herriman Finance Department for a job well done.”
Receiving the certificate on behalf of the finance department was Herriman’s Director of Finance Kyle Maurer.
“I did want to mention that the ACFR is a tremendous amount of work,” Maurer said with a smile. “… I do want to thank Trevor Coburn, our accountant, and then also Amy Stanger, our senior accountant, because they were integral in preparing the ACFR, and also the PAFR really was Jon [LaFollette] in Communications. It was his diligent work to put that together… That really is his award… on the PAFR.” Herriman’s website remarks that the PAFR is intended “to be friendly to everyday residents who may be unfamiliar with government finance.”
Though Herriman submits its ACFR to the GFOA each year, Maurer has opted not to continue submissions for the PAFR award “for the foreseeable future” due to the cost of the application and the time constraints of the city’s finance officers.
Mayor Lorin Palmer also acknowledged the finance department’s achievement.
“Thank you everybody involved with this award…,” he said. “We’re very fortunate with our staff out here.”
The city’s website asserts, “The Finance Department safeguards Herriman City’s assets and supports operations by maintaining a fiscally sound organization that meets legal requirements and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles… The department keeps a consistently updated record of the city’s funds and debts through monthly audit preparation and account reconciliation.”
Michele Mark Levine, director of technical services for the GFOA, expressed her wish that other cities were like Herriman.
“We hope that your example will encourage other government officials in their efforts to achieve and maintain an appropriate standard of excellence in financial reporting,” she said.
For more information, or to read Herriman’s PAFR, ACFR or budget report, visit herriman.org/finance. λ