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WHAT'S NEW?

Last Updated August 21, 2007

GASB 45 OPEB

Announcing ACOPEB, the Alternative Calculation for OPEB, an approach for meeting the requirements of GASB 43 and 45 for small OPEB plans. ACOPEB is on-line, user-friendly software for calculating other postemployment benefit obligations and accounting information. Take the test. See if your plan qualifies for the Alternate Calculation. For more information, click on http://www.cafr-online.com/ACOPEB/

CAFR-ONLINE

Announcing CAFR-ONLINE, on-line, user-friendly software for compiling GASB 34 compliant statements or a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). If you want to prepare your own financial statements, then this software is for you. For more information, click on http://www.cafr-online.com/

Upcoming Classes

  1. The half-day GASB Statement No 34 Basic Statements and MD&A Overview workshop will be conducted on Friday morning December 14, 2007 at the Assabet Valley Regional School District in Marlborough. This workshop will provide an overview of the two government wide statements, the eight fund perspective statements, and the Management Discussion and Analysis. If you want an overview of the new reporting model, this workshop is for you. For more information, please click on http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_GASB34.htm

  2. The next DOE/DOR Roundtable will be conducted on Friday afternoon, December 14, 2007, at the Assabet Valley Regional School District in Marlborough. This roundtable features Jay Sullivan from the Department of Education and Ellis Fitzpatrick from the Department of Revenue to discuss and answer your accounting and reporting questions. Find out when the 2:00 bus leaves or if the mileage varies on the 2:00 bus. Learn about the latest DOR IGRs, Circuit Breaker accounting regulations, and other accounting treatments. We will also review the latest DOR Bulletin annual bulletin 2006-05B that addresses issues cities, towns and regional school districts may consider in development of budgets for fiscal year 2009. This roundtable is offered free of charge. For more information, visit http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_DOE_DOR.htm

  3. The next six-day Uniform Massachusetts Accounting System (UMAS) course will start on September 21, 2007 at the Natick Town Hall. UMAS is offered to municipal and school officials and private sector individuals and related staff that desires a basic course in current Massachusetts' governmental accounting. The course will focus on UMAS system as promulgated by the Bureau of Accounts in their updated UMAS Manual, including the latest revisions to the capital projects and enterprise fund chapters. UMAS is the "preferred" accounting system for municipalities; regional school districts; water, sewer, fire and other districts; and municipal school departments. The course integrates Department of Education budgeting, accounting and reporting requirements, the new reporting model, Statement No. 34 of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and water, sewer, fire, and other district requirements. The class is scheduled to meet on September 21, October 4 and 19, November 9 and 30, and December 14, 2007. This class will rotate between the Natick Town Hall, Dudley Municipal Complex and Assabet Valley Regional High School in Marlborough. For more information, please click on http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_UMAS.htm

  4. Boot Camp, the three-day detailed general ledger journal entry course, will start on Friday, February 1, 2008 at the Avon Town Hall and will also meet on february 15 and March 7, 2008. This course is a detailed general ledger journal entry course designed to train accountants to learn the Uniform Massachusetts Accounting System (UMAS). This class is called Boot Camp because the journal entries are repeated over and over. This class helps prepare town accountants and city auditors for the Uniform Municipal Accounting System (UMAS) certification exam. If you need a class to teach you the day-to-day UMAS journal entries or if you are having difficulty preparing for or passing the UMAS certification exam, then this class is for you. Topics covered include tax recap sheet budget journal entries, reconciliation of treasurer's cash, capital project accounting, debt accounting, operating journal entries, adjusting journal entries, closing journal entries and free cash calculation. For more information, visit http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_BootCamp.htm

  5. The one-day Municipal Law Workshop will be conducted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at the Avon Town Hall. This session will focus on provisions in the Massachusetts General Laws pertaining to Municipal Finance. If you need a class to teach you the day-to-day basic legal requirements or if you are having difficulty preparing for or passing the Municipal Law portion of the UMAS certification exam, then this class is for you. For more information, visit http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_MunicipalLaw.htm

Net School Spending Workshops

  1. The next Basic Net School Spending Workshop will be conducted on Friday morning, September 17, 2007 from 8:30 – 12:30 at the Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School in Marlborough. This workshop is an introductory session on net school spending. This workshop will review the DOE website on the Chapter 70 program and the foundation budget covering net school spending regulations, Chapter 70 district profiles, foundation enrollment, NSS compliance, the compliance supplement, NSS worksheet and municipal costs paid on behalf of the school district. This session will introduce the FY08 Chapter 70 state aid spending requirement and provide an overview of local contribution, chapter 70 distributions, required net school spending, actual net school spending, foundation budget, local contribution apportioned to member districts and the like. This workshop is recommended for new school and town officials or individuals who would like a net school spending overview or refresher. For a direct link, please visit http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_Basic_NS_Spending.htm
  1. The Advanced Net School Spending Workshop will be conducted on Friday afternoon, September 17, 2007 from 1:30 - 4:30 PM at the Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School in Marlborough. This workshop will cover the FY08 preliminary net school spending numbers based on the final FY 2008 State Budget. This workshop will also cover regional financing including statutorty and alaternative assessments. Bring your laptops and follow along to compute your numbers. This workshop is recommended for individuals who have a basic understanding of the foundation budget, local contributions, Chapter 70 distributions, required and actual net school spending and the like. For a direct link, please visit http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/Courses_FY08_Advanced_Spending.htm
  1. The next Martha's Vineyard Net School Spending Workshop will be held from 1 - 5 PM on Friday afternoon, August 1, 2008 at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. For more information,
    http://www.TheAbrahamsGroup.com/Courses_MV_FY09_Final_Spending.htm
    .

New Classes

  1. The next How to Prepare Massachusetts Financial Statements class will be conducted on Friday, September 7 and Thursday, September 27, 2007, at the Natick Town Hall. This class is scheduled to prepare your FY 2007 financial statements in September 2007 thereby assisting you with implementing SAS 112. This two-day class is offered to municipal and school officials and private sector individuals and related staff that desire a hands-on course in preparing financial statements including the Combined Balance Sheet for Free Cash or E&D Certification, Basic GASBS No. 34 Statements including the eight Fund Perspective and two Government Wide Statements and the Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A). This is not an overview class; this is a how to do it class using Excel combining and combined spreadsheets to prepare the combined and fund perspective statements. Bring your trial balances and laptops to these workshops.  This class is limited to the first 14 registrations.  For more information, click here.
  1.  The next School Fund Accounting course will be conducted on Friday, December 7, 2007 at the Needham School Administration Building.  This session will focus on fund accounting requirements based on the provisions in the Massachusetts General Laws pertaining to School Finance. The focus of this class is on Chapter 71 of the MGL, school special revenue, student activity accounts, and other funds. If you need a class to teach you the day-to-day basic school fund accounting requirements, then this class is for you. This class will focus on the school finance laws and accounting requirements for municipal and regional school districts. This class is limited to the first 24 registrations. For more information, click here.
  1. The next Performance Based Measurement and Budgeting class is scheduled this fall to help you develop performance measures and integrate the measures into your FY 2009 budget. This class will meet on Thursday, October 18 and Friday, November 16, 2007, at the Natick School Administration Building. This class will focus on the performance measurement and performance budgeting movement that is sweeping the country.  This session will update you on the latest Government Finance Officers Association’s management and budgeting guidelines and recommended practices and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s latest guidance on Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting including their 16 criteria for performance reporting.   This class is limited to the first 24 registrations. This class will also discuss MUNIS’ new performance budgeting and activity based costing module for you MUNIS users. For more information, click here.

  2. The CitiStat phenomenon hits Massachusetts. The City of Somerville with the assistance of Mark Abrahams in conjunction with the Kennedy School of Government and the Rappaport Institute is implementing SomerStat, performance measurement and performance budgeting as a way to Manage for Results. For more information, visit http://www.theabrahamsgroup.com/SomerStat.htm.

  3. The Government Accounting Standards Board has issued a new Research Report entitled "Reporting Performance Information: Suggested Criteria for Effective Communication". The purpose of this special report is to provide guidelines to state and local governments to enhance the production of external accountability reports through use of sixteen suggested criteria. These criteria were developed by studying state and local governments currently using performance measures and studying the work of other national and international organizations. Each criterion includes the purpose, a description, the rationale for such a criterion, and several examples from existing performance and accountability reports. The report highlights performance measurement within a performance management or Managing for Results context. Mark Abrahams is a contributor to this Report. For a direct link, visit http://www.seagov.org/sea_gasb_project/suggested_criteria_report.pdf.

  4. The Government Finance Officers Association has recently emphasized performance management by issuing two recent recommended practices. The first is Using Performance Measurement in a Performance Management or Managing for Results capacity. For a direct link, visit http://www.gfoa.org/services/rp/budget/budget-performance-management.pdf. The second is Costing Government Services; that GFOA recommends that governments calculate the full cost of the different services they provide. For a direct link, visit http://www.gfoa.org/services/rp/budget/budget-measuring.pdf.

  5. With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Association for Government Accountants is launching the Certificate of Excellence in Service Efforts and Accomplishments Program that evaluates performance reports at the state and local level. The purpose of the reviews will be to evaluate how well the government or other organization informs the public about its performance, consistent with the suggested criteria issued by the GASB. The review is not intended to evaluate the quality of the government or its performance. Rather, the focus is entirely on the report's usefulness to the public and other decision-makers who have a stake in the effectiveness of the government's services. Mark Abrahams is an SEA Program Reviewer. For a direct link, visit http://www.agacgfm.org/performance/sea/.

Managing for Results -- performance based management, including strategic and program planning, performance measurement and management, service efforts and accomplishments reporting and activity based costing and management.

Budgeting for Results -- activity based, program based and performance based budget projects in Massachusetts and nationally along with rate setting studies.

Accounting for Results -- accounting implementations in Massachusetts and nationally.

Auditing for Results -- audits of performance information, the Compliance Supplement, Student Activity Accounts and the like.

Courses --
Announcing the course and workshop schedule for 2005. Click here for further details.

GASB 34 Implementation -- the first GASB Statement No. 34 implementation in the country and the first Massachusetts municipal early implementation.