Finance Department wins top award, again

COVINGTON, Ky. - Covington’s 2016-17 CAFR (or Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) is a 135-page set of financial statements with arguably more numbers than words.
People who read it tend to be accountants, auditors, financial advisers, investors, and debt managers - numbers-oriented people who not only speak their own language but also scrutinize to fine levels every numeral, detail, and column.
Which is why it’s noteworthy that national experts say Covington goes out of its way to present its CAFR in a way that’s transparent, authoritative, and clear.
This week, Covington’s Finance Department was notified that - for what appears to be the 25th time in 26 years - it has been awarded the highest national honor in the area of government accounting and financial reporting.
The appropriately named Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is issued by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, an organization of over 19,000 finance professionals.
“(Covington’s) CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program which includes demonstrating a constructive ‘spirit of full disclosure’ to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR,” according to the GFOA.
Not every City puts together a CAFR, and the fact that Covington did (and won awards for it) is pretty amazing considering that the staff was down to about seven people at one point, half of the current staff levels, said Covington Senior Accounting Manager Jerome Heist, who as acting Finance Director led the team that put the CAFR together.
“The award is something we expect to get, but it’s still a big accomplishment given how short-staffed we were throughout the process,” he said. “It’s really something the entire staff worked on - everybody has their part.”
The GFOA’s review panel gave Covington high grades in 16 of 17 grading categories on its CAFR, which can be accessed HERE, and wrote detailed suggestions for future improvements.
As the City prepares its 2017-18 CAFR, Heist said Covington will study those suggestions on its way to pursuing its 26th award.

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