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July 8, 2015

CATAWBA COUNTY FINANCE OFFICE WINS 33RD STRAIGHT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Local government finance and budgeting is very exacting work. Once a budget is approved each year, a finance department must keep track of all expenditures and revenues to insure public funds are accounted for appropriately. A measure of the success of a finance department can be found in how its work compares to that of its peers.

The Catawba County Finance Department continues to achieve one of the nation's highest standards by this measure, as a winner of the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014. Catawba County has now won the award for 33 consecutive years.

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is presented to governmental units that the GFOA says "prepare and publish an easily readable, understandable comprehensive annual financial report covering all funds and financial transactions during the fiscal year."

Fewer than 250 government entities in the GFOA have received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 33 or more consecutive years. This places Catawba County in the top 10% of governments that have submitted Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports to the GFOA for consideration.

"This Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management," said Stephen J. Gauthier, Director of the Technical Services Center of the GFOA, in a letter to Catawba County officials. “Catawba County's report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive ‘spirit of full disclosure’ to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.”  

The 2014 Catawba County Comprensive Annual Financial Report may be seen online.

The County’s Finance Department also received the Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award from the GFOA, for its “Annual Financial Highlights” for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014.

“A panel of independent reviewers has completed its review of your Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR),” Gauthier said. “We are pleased to notify you that your PAFR for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, has substantially met the requirements of the PAFR program. In the absence of authoritative standards governing the presentation, these requirements were based on an evaluation of information presented, reader appeal, understandability, distribution and other elements (such as whether the PAFR is a notable achievement for the government given the government’s type and size, and the PAFR’s creativity and usefulness).”

Reports must receive a weighted average score of 75.00 percent or above to earn the award. Catawba County’s average score was 91.  The 2014 Catawba County Popular Annual Financial Report may also be reviewed online.

"We continue to receive these awards because of the strong support of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners, and the dedication of our staff and their desire to achieve this recognition," said Catawba County’s Interim Finance Director, Jeanne Jarrett. "Our staff is committed to producing a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report that is easy to understand by the average reader and paints a clear picture of the financial activities of Catawba County. In addition, our staff has shown great initiative by preparing a summary of financial activity that is a model for other local governments to emulate. Their work helps the County achieve and maintain an attractive bond rating, since these nationally recognized financial reports are well received by bond rating agencies.”

The Government Finance Officers Association is a non-profit professional association serving over 17,000 government finance professionals throughout North America.