Published: December 9, 2020
It’s an understatement to say that COVID-19 has presented significant challenges this year. We have witnessed its devastating effects physically, prompting us to take extra health precautions and increase virus testing. At the same time, it’s important to take precautions fiscally to ensure local governments maintain financial health. With decreased revenue and increased costs, local governments must be especially vigilant and use reputable resources and tools to inform them when making difficult financial decisions.
Here are three ways the Center for Government Innovation can help:
- Financial Intelligence Tool (FIT) health indicators
- New projection feature in FIT
- Technical assistance available from Center financial management specialists
Check FIT health indicators
FIT offers an easy way to monitor common financial health indicators by comparing your trend data with recommended guidelines and the trends of your peers. Some local governments may rely on an audit for financial condition evaluation. However, because not every government receives an audit every year, this information could come too late. It is more important than ever that government decision-makers consistently stay apprised of their financial situation without waiting for an audit. One example of the FIT health indicators looks at cash balance sufficiency, calculating the number of days a government’s operations could continue based on the fund ending cash and investments balance. FIT also allows for comparison to similar governments using statewide median and mean data.
FIT uses recommended guidelines to display an assessment of good, cautionary or concerning based on a standard formula. But it is important to note that not meeting one benchmark does not necessarily denote fiscal distress. Rather, it should spark further conversation about ensuring sustainable fiscal health.
Take advantage of the new projection feature in FIT
New this year, FIT offers a feature for government authenticated users. This tool provides governments the opportunity to view various user-identified scenarios based on projected changes in revenues or expenditures.
The article “Locating Good Data for Revenue Forecasting,” from the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), provides more sources of information.
Reach out to the Center for assistance
The Center for Government Innovation continues to provide resources and assistance to help governments improve their operations. Whether you are new to government or a long-time government employee with a specific concern, please reach out to us with your questions and requests. We have professionals with experience specific to Washington government who can provide technical information or point you to existing resources.
If you have questions about health indicators, the new projection feature, why not take advantage of our free FIT personal training sessions? We will walk you through your specific questions or the basics in FIT, showing you tips and tricks to get the most out of its features. We would also be happy to answer your technical questions and point you to resources. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time.