All local governments in North Carolina are required by law to prepare annual financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which are then subjected to an independent audit conducted by a certified public accountant. These statements provide a wealth of information on the local government’s financial position at fiscal year end. However, additional analysis is needed to move from financial position to financial condition in local government. Faculty members at the School of Government responded to this gap and created a systematic, comprehensive, and manageable model for assessing the financial condition of local governments. The model is systematic by addressing financial condition as reported in government-wide statements and as reported in major fund-level statements. It is comprehensive by analyzing the major resource flow dimensions as provided on operating statements and the major resource stock dimensions as provided on balance sheets. It also is manageable in terms of the time required to assemble the data, to calculate the financial indicators, and to present them with a dashboard layout that accommodates trend analysis and benchmarking. Beyond the development of the model, we have worked with the North Carolina State Treasurer’s Office to develop an online management tool for creating these financial condition dashboards for every local government in the state. Citizens, elected officials, and administrators now have an easy button to quickly create financial condition reports so that they can analyze the financial condition of their respective local governments. The online management tool can be accessed by clicking on Dashboard from the menu on the left. More information about the model and other resources can be found by clicking on Resources.
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