Town receives ninth consecutive financial reporting award

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The Town of Stony Plain is on a winning streak.

For the ninth consecutive year, the Town has been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Canadian Award for Financial Reporting (CanFR) for its 2019 Annual Report.

The GFOA established the CAnFR program in 1986 to encourage and assist Canadian local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles, as set by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

“It is an honour to receive this award. We strive to be leaders in government financial reporting, and the Annual Report is one of many reports we use to educate our community and strengthen our relationship through transparency,” said Manager of Financial Services Teri Stewart.

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Each report is reviewed using a checklist designed to determine compliance with both generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), as set by the PSAB, and program policy. Reviews are performed by GFOA staff and selected reviewers from the government, the public accounting profession, and academics who possess specialized expertise in governmental financial reporting. An award is granted only if there is consensus among reviewers that a report substantially complies with both GAAP and program policy.

The Town received its first CAnFR in 2011 and has chosen to resubmit its Annual Report into the program each year since which Stewart said is a way for Stony Plain to celebrate its level of transparency and communication between the municipality and its residents and businesses. This particular recognition is for the Town’s 2019 Annual Report due to the fact that award applications must be submitted by June of the following year (2020). While statistics are not yet available for the 2019 program, Stewart said Stony Plain was one of 19 CAnFR recipients in Alberta the previous year. The total number of award recipients across Canada in 2018 was 83.

“I don’t know how many people apply and aren’t awarded. But being one in nineteen in all of Alberta between municipalities and institutions is quite an accomplishment,” said Stewart.

The continued success of the Town in receiving this award is a collaborative effort between its financial services, communications, and upper management. Each year, the GFOA reviewers provide feedback to all prospective applicants on their reports which are expected to be incorporated into the following year’s submission. Stewart said the Town is always striving for continuous improvement when it comes to financial reporting in order to maintain trust and transparency between the municipality and its residents.

While still in celebration mode for 2019’s achievement, the Town already has its sights set on claiming its tenth consecutive CAnFR for its 2020 Annual Report. Work toward completing the goal has already begun.

“We’re really excited to continue with submissions to this program. I think having a third-party reviewer outside of your auditor and internal department almost gives another layer of assurance that we are going above and beyond into what is produced out to the region,” said Stewart.

rhowell@postmedia.com

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