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5 things that keep comptrollers up at night

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Get ahead of future challenges in your CAFR process. These are the top 5 concerns state comptrollers have about the future of CAFR reporting. To find out more, visit www.workiva.com/industries/government.

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5 things that keep comptrollers up at night

  1. 1. 5 things that keep comptrollers up at night
  2. 2. In early 2016, the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers surveyed members across all 50 states about their current processes for the developing the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The survey sought to provide state comptrollers with an opportunity to voice the top barriers, technology applications, and staff concerns associated with the preparation of the CAFR each year.
  3. 3. These are the top 5 concerns raised by survey respondents about CAFR reporting.
  4. 4. 1 FUTURE STATE OF FINANCIAL REPORTING 54% of survey respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned about the accuracy of their current CAFR, while nearly 79% expressed concerned about future accuracy. EXPRESSED CONCERNED
  5. 5. 1 FUTURE STATE OF FINANCIAL REPORTING These numbers reveal a need for a close consideration of current processes, and more importantly, a sense of urgency about finding solutions to the increasing challenges in the near future. EXPRESSED CONCERNED
  6. 6. 2 GETTING ALL THE DATA 96% of respondents stated that they gather data from more than 16 individual sources, ranking data collection as one of the most time-consuming steps in the CAFR process. STEPS ARE TOO TIME-CONSUMING
  7. 7. 2 GETTING ALL THE DATA Gathering information from third parties was reported as one of the biggest worries for survey respondents. Collecting unstructured data provides opportunity for errors in data accuracy and possible security issues. STEPS ARE TOO TIME-CONSUMING
  8. 8. 3 DATA ACCURACY A concerning 75% of respondents said they found errors in their CAFRs—a clear symptom of a process in need of improvement. FOUND ERRORS
  9. 9. 3 DATA ACCURACY FOUND ERRORS Errors in CAFR data are most often a result of adjustments or late revisions to numbers from component units, errors in fund roll-up, and inaccurately reported capital assets. Across all instances, the common factor in these errors is a reliance on manual processes for gathering and entering data.
  10. 10. 4 INCREASING LEGISLATION The DATA Act is coming, and with it will come new reporting requirements for already overburdened financial reporting teams. Wisely, over 66% of respondents reported being somewhat to very concerned about the looming legislation. CONCERNED
  11. 11. 4 INCREASING LEGISLATION CONCERNED The impact from the 2018 rollout of DATA Act requirements will trickle down to the state and local level in many ways. One of the most pressing concerns for CAFR teams is being able to manage compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements for new GASB standards.
  12. 12. 5 HAVING THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB One of the top 5 barriers to producing a quality and timely CAFR is the technology used to gather the data and produce the report. Here are tools being used. They prevent timely audit, opening the door for reporting errors. Excel and Word are a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries
  13. 13. To gather To compile To review Excel Email Excel Word Excel Email 96% 78% 96% 89% 75% 64% Microsoft ® Word and Excel, while the most widely-used tools in the CAFR process for compiling charts and tables, are not meant to speak to each other—requiring hours of manual transposing and grouping information from document to document. Excel and Word are a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries Having the right tools for the job
  14. 14. A close analysis of this information reveals agencies need to start taking action to improve their processes in order to meet the challenges ahead. The results of the survey indicate a consistent theme—a technology solution that provides a single, collaborative work space would alleviate all of these challenges. Where to go from here ?
  15. 15. Most respondents stated that the best solution would address problems with ineffective tools and technology, which would also increase the effectiveness of their workflow processes. The ideal solution
  16. 16. The full survey A close consideration of the results covered in the survey can serve as a good starting point for agencies of any size or type to begin identifying how to improve their CAFR processes and prepare for future challenges. The survey also provides input from respondents on characteristics to look for in a technology solution. Click here to get your copy of the 2016 Survey of State Comptrollers and Their CAFR Processes.

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