Published: May 3, 2021
It’s that time of year, local governments are busy finalizing their annual financial reports and filing them with our Office. There’s a lot to remember and effective reviews are very important to ensure a quality product.
As you work to wrap up your reporting year, we want to remind you about resources you might find helpful. The resources covered in this article are specifically for governments preparing statements under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
SAO Year-end closing checklist
Year-end closing checklists are a great tool to help you remember all those important details! If you don’t have your own checklist, we have a tool to help you get started. This tool has sections to help you double-check important steps that relate to preparing and reviewing your statements, schedule of federal expenditures, and note disclosures.
You’ll find this downloadable spreadsheet tool. After your financial statements are prepared, we recommend you check out the post-reporting reflection section of this checklist so you can consider improvements for your procedures for next year!
GFOA Review checklist
If you are looking for a checklist to perform a thorough review of your financial reporting package, consider the Government Finance Officer Association (GFOA) comprehensive general-purpose checklist available to anyone at: Comprehensive General-Purpose Checklist (gfoa.org). While this checklist is used as part of GFOA’s award program, anyone can use it for their own internal review processes. A few words of wisdom:
- You don’t have to participate in the award program. Just skip the sections that pertain only to the award program (Introductory section, combining and individual fund information, and statistical section).
- There is now one checklist for most everyone. Stand-alone business type activities have been combined into this general purpose checklist
- The checklist might seem overwhelming. Focus on the starred questions as they are typically more important than the non-starred ones.
- It might be too much for a single reviewer. Consider breaking up the checklist and assigning different sections to multiple employees. If it’s still too much, focus on the checklist sections for the aspects of your financial report you feel are at the most risk for inaccuracies.
- The checklist can be a great training tool. It has citations and references so staff can research questions and learn more about the requirements.
Other SAO resources
Remember, we are here to help. If you have specific technical accounting questions, submit them using our help desk in the client portal.
We also have financial management specialists at the Center available to talk through projects you might be working on that affect your internal control systems, such as projects to improve financial statement preparation or financial reporting. For assistance, reach out to the Center for Government Innovation at Center@sao.wa.gov.