APIPA Conference 2009
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APIPA 2009 Courses

The APIPA 2009 Conference is offering seventeen courses in four separate tracks. Note that the course descriptions below are listed in alphabetical order by track. You can register for the conference here, or view the current course schedule here.

PLENARY SESSIONS

Building and Maintaining a Strong Workforce in Tough Times
Bob Lavigna (4 hours, Friday Afternoon)

Nowhere is the need for talent more critical than in public sector financial management. The challenges to attracting and retaining talent include: The looming brain drain caused by impending retirements; How the worldwide economic crisis affects recruitment and retention; The impact of globalization on the work – and workforce -- of government; Changing employee attitudes about jobs and careers; Rapid change (e.g., in technology and work) that requires new skills; Limited compensation and financial incentives; and Complicated, slow, and user-unfriendly personnel and human resource systems. This session will focus not just on these challenges, but how to address them in ways that will enable organizations to have the right people with the right skills in the right places at the right times.

Maintaining Ethics and Accountability in Government
Marion Higa (4 hours, Tuesday morning)

Operating an audit or finance shop in a small jurisdiction, or operating a small audit or finance shop, or operating an audit or finance shop at all, can be “challenging,” to use the politically correct term. But public auditors and financial managers soldier on, and the opening plenary is intended to inspire attendees to the high calling of leadership in ethics and government accountability.

AUDIT TRACK

Effective Audit Report Writing
Mary Beth Saenz (8 hours, Wednesday)

Communicating audit results effectively requires both knowledge of the subject and knowledge of the audience(s). The new administration’s emphasis on transparency and goals to achieve “open government” will result in an increase in the amount and type of information being shared with the public as well as the medium for transmission. Not only is it important to employ a direct writing style, it is equally important to persuade the readers to take action and implement changes. During this one-day course, participants will identify and practice some of the key techniques that will increase the likelihood that the message will be received, understood and acted upon. There will be practice writing exercises, laptops would be helpful if participants prefer to type for speed and comfort.

Emerging Issues in Governmental Audit Standards
Stephen Morgan (4 Hours, Monday Afternoon)

Review and discuss an update and overview of critical emerging issues as auditing standards continue to evolve. Issues include defining auditor roles, interpreting standards for audit and non-audit services, linking appropriate and sufficient evidence to objectives and methodologies, assessing the benefits of certifications, and understanding the impact of management structures on auditor effectiveness. Attention will be given to the measurement based audit approach compared to one based on auditing organizational controls.

Fraud in Government
Frank Crawford (4 hours, Friday Morning)

In any size government, fraud does occur. This session will provide insight into common governmental frauds perpetrated by various levels of employees, managers, and officials. Insight will be given into the perpetrators motivations, their opportunities to commit the fraud, and the various rationalizations they make to convince themselves that their fraudulent actions are justified.

Risk-Based Performance Audits Project Planning
Stephen Morgan (8 hours, Thursday)

Reengineer your audit planning process and design audits to deliver maximum performance impact through the use of measurement-based risk assessment in selecting audit objectives. Participants conduct a risk assessment in class and develop objectives, sub-objectives, and potential methodologies for the conduct of the audit.

Statistical Sampling for Auditors
Jeanne Yamamura (4 hours, Tuesday Afternoon)

Audit sampling is commonly used in every audit; statistical sampling, however, is not. The limited use of statistical sampling arises in part to confusion regarding when, where, and how to appropriately use statistical sampling. This course starts with an introduction of the basics and goes on to discuss standard statistical sampling methods used by auditors including attribute sampling and PPS sampling. Coverage also includes how to select and evaluate samples while performing auditing procedures. As problems will be worked in class, participants should bring calculators (laptops would be even better!).

AUDIT SUPERVISORY TRACK

Auditing Performance Management Systems
Stephen Morgan (4 Hours, Tuesday Afternoon)

Understand how to audit a performance management system, specifically the four sub-systems used to hold government organizations and employees accountable for meeting or exceeding expectations—performance planning, budgeting, monitoring, and decision making. Participants will review the criteria used to audit a performance management system and develop appropriate audit criteria to apply to the government operations they are responsible for auditing.

Critical Thinking Skills for Auditors
Mary Beth Saenz (4 hours, Monday afternoon)

As agencies begin to increase focus on transparency and accountability, increasingly higher expectations will apply to our audit efforts. This course takes basic concepts of critical and analytical thinking and applies them to the standard audit fieldwork environment. The class is predominantly exercise/activity driven as participants practice applying tools, techniques, and concepts covered in the materials. Emphasis is placed on evaluating supportability of audit conclusions, assessing the logic in auditee written and oral responses to audit requests/questions, and evaluating and improving auditor communication skills.

Fraud in Government
Frank Crawford (4 hours, Friday morning)

In any size government, fraud does occur. This session will provide insight into common governmental frauds perpetrated by various levels of employees, managers, and officials. Insight will be given into the perpetrators motivations, their opportunities to commit the fraud, and the various rationalizations they make to convince themselves that their fraudulent actions are justified.

Getting an Audit from Project Initiatiion Out the Door: Internal Controls & Tips for Ourselves
Marion Higa (8 hours, Wednesday)

The sometimes daunting task of leading an audit engagement, especially a performance audit, can be made easier if we apply the same approach to our work that we expect of our auditees—a structured, organized process with checkpoints along the way. This session will include perspectives gained from three-plus decades of audit experience, including a piece that is often overlooked: communicating what we have found.

Meeting the Challenge: Attacting and Retaining a World-Class Work Force
Bob Lavigna (8 hours, Thursday)

Effective organizations – in both the public and private sectors – understand that people are their most important resource. And nowhere is the need for talent more critical than in public sector financial management. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to meet the challenges of attracting developing and retaining talent. Instead, what’s needed is a multi-facetted strategy. This session will focus on practical solutions that public auditors and financial managers can use, including: · Recruiting aggressively and successfully; · Onboarding new employees to maximize retention and productivity; · Increasing employee satisfaction/engagement to maximize retention and results; · Developing a leadership pipeline; and · Building a strong partnership with HR.

FINANCE TRACK

Common Single Audit Findings in the Islands
Frank Crawford (4 hours, Tuesday morning)

Do you know which findings in your audit reports are shared by other insular governments? This session will review some of the more common single audit findings that continue to appear in your governments single audits. Participants will gain an understanding of how and why these findings continue to appear in many of their single audits.

Protecting Your Procurement Dollars from Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
Rob Knox (8 hours, Wednesday)

Spending funds for services and products is completed in almost every facet of our lives. We utilize funds for construction, maintenance, cleaning services, development, renovation, research, and much more. Join our discussion on how you can protect your limited funds, and hold those accountable for stealing your precious procurement dollars.

Government Accounting Standards Update
Frank Crawford (4 hours, Monday afternoon)

This session will take an in depth look at recent accounting standards changes issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. Specific topics will include: Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB), Pollution Remediation, Intangible Assets, Derivates, and Fund Balance. Participants will explore how these changes could affect their governmental accounting operations.

Implementing Performance-Based Management and Budgeting
Stephen Morgan (4 hours, Friday Morning)

In today’s government environment, performance based management is essential. This presentation focuses on lessons learned and best practices in implementing performance based management and budgeting. The presentation will include a “primer” on how management should define performance expectations (goals), identify means to determine appropriate resources to achieve the goals, design systems to measure achievements, and use performance reports to support decision making.

Single Audit & A-133: A Case Study; and Government Performeter Updates
Frank Crawford (8 hours, Thursday)

This session will review common A-133 Single Audit requirements and provide participants with an example case study to illustrate the audit compliance requirements of A-133. In the case study participants will assess risks of non-compliance and design appropriate procedures to test internal controls over compliance and compliance itself. Should be fun for all!

What has your government’s Perfometer score been doing lately? As you may already know the Performeter is a financial tool used by governments to measure the financial health and success of their government on an annual basis. This session will provide participates with an update on their government’s most recent Performeter information and will provide insight into how and why the scores are changing for each of the insular governments. We will also discuss how policy makers can use the information in the Performeter to make important financial management decisions.

ADVANCED FINANCE TRACK

Federal Grants Financial Management Compliance
Mary Beth Saenz (4 hours, Tuesday Afternoon)

Grants and grants management are high priority topics due, in part, to the economic stimulus funds being distributed. Compliance in the financial area goes beyond simple knowledge of the applicable cost principles. This course will include a brief discussion of cost principles, current relevant legislation affecting grants, anticipated impact of current and potential impending legislation, and an overview of compliance tools and techniques for financial management of federal grants.

How to Read Financial Statements and Disclosures
Frank Crawford (8 hours, Wednesday)

Have you ever been puzzled by where all the numbers in your financial statements are coming from? If so, you are not alone. This session will provide the participants with a much better understanding of why the financial statements are prepared and presented the way they are, and where all of those numbers and written disclosures are coming from. Tricks and tips will be provided to facilitate the participant’s ability to solve the complex puzzle now commonly known as your annual financial statements.

Implementing Performance-Based Management and Budgeting
Stephen Morgan (4 hours, Friday Morning)

In today’s government environment, performance based management is essential. This presentation focuses on lessons learned and best practices in implementing performance based management and budgeting. The presentation will include a “primer” on how management should define performance expectations (goals), identify means to determine appropriate resources to achieve the goals, design systems to measure achievements, and use performance reports to support decision making.

Procurement and Financial Assistance - Understanding the Risks Associated with Utilizing ARRA Stimulus Funds
Rob Knox (8 hours, Thursday)

In the face of an economic crisis, the magnitude of which we have not seen since the Great Depression, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 represents a strategic -- and significant -- investment in our country’s future. Over $787 billion have been identified by the U.S. congress to help stimulate the U.S. economy. This session is designed to discuss the risks associated with the distribution of these funds and how oversight is critical to ensure these funds are utilized for their intended purpose.

Weathering the Financial Storm; Evaluating Financial Performance
Jeanne Yamamura (4 hours, Monday)

Current fiscal and economic problems are wreaking significant havoc on government resources and their constituencies. As revenues and resources shrink, governments are called upon to not just maintain but to also increase services. In this trying environment, government accountants can offer valuable assistance in analyzing and evaluating government programs and operations. This course offers suggestions for government accountants on how to deal effectively with the current economic downturn, including suggestions for both short-term and long-term improvements.

Analyzing government financial performance is becoming increasingly important to governments and to their constituents and stakeholders. Why? Because governments can fail. In addition, an increasing number of governments are in fiscal crisis now exacerbated by the rapidly escalating economic downturn. Governments, however, unlike businesses provide essential services to their citizenry – we can’t afford to have them fail! This course introduces the components of “economic condition” and provides participants an opportunity to evaluate a governmental entity. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own entity’s financial statements to the class so that they can apply the analytical tools introduced to their own governments. The class introduces standard analytical techniques as well as commonly used ratios and other factors to consider in evaluating financial performance.

Please contact the Guam Office of the Public Auditor with any questions about courses (Email: info@apipa2009.org)

Association of Pacific Island Public Auditors (APIPA) 2009 Annual Conference
APIPA 2009 Secretariat: Guam Office of the Public Auditor
For additional information, contact info@apipa2009.org
©2009 APIPA, all rights reserved.