APIPA 2015 Conference Courses

Plenary Sessions

Economic and Fiscal Realities and the Need for Government Transformation

(David Walker, 4 Hours, Monday Morning)

This session will cover a range of macro-economic, demographic and other trends and how they are affecting the current and future finances of governments. It will also review the evolving role of government, changes in accounting and reporting standards, and the potential implications for the future. Finally, it will include the types of reforms that will be necessary to ensure fiscal sustainability and intergenerational equity. While the session will focus primarily on U.S. statistics, the material covered is also applicable to many governmental entities around the world.


The Future of Financial Reporting and the Role of Social Media

(Frank Crawford and Karri Perez, 4 Hours, Friday Afternoon)

Where do we go from here? Our current financial reporting models are typically based in a concept known as “historical cost”. However, is that information the most useful tool in analyzing the financial health and success of the government? What about performance, a bang-for-the-buck concept, or market values? This session will take a look at where the future of financial reporting might be going. The session will also examine the huge impact social media has had on the dissemination of information to individuals as well as to the general public. The pro's and con's of using social media in organizations as well as future trends in this area will be discussed.


Audit Track

Sharpening Your Presentation Skills

(Mark Gebicke, 4 Hours, Monday Afternoon)

You will acquire the basic knowledge necessary to make effective presentations with confidence. You will learn how to determine the audience’s knowledge of your topic and what they need to know. In addition, we will discuss how to organize your message and deliver it in a compelling fashion while maintaining complete control of your presentation. Specifically this class will teach you to (1) define your objective and build your message, (2) utilize the correct tone and style to convey your message, (3) analyze your audience, (4) organize your key points in a logical and concise manner, and (5) learn how to stick to the point and avoid rambling.


Verifying Government Programs and Developing High Impact Audit Issues

(Stephen Morgan, 8 Hours, Tuesday)

As soon as technically feasible in the audit project planning stage, auditors should use mapping to verify the program(s) potentially being audited. Mapping the program makes transparent the relationships between a program’s inputs (resources), processes, outputs, and outcomes enabling auditors to categorize measures to demonstrate program performance levels. Also, auditors need to validate, and in some cases develop, audit criteria that can be used to assess risks and vulnerabilities and focus the audit on high risk programs and issues. By taking this approach, auditors will select issues and develop audit objectives which will not only have impact but also be doable given constraints on audit resources.


Becoming a Better Auditor: What Skills, Abilities, and Mentalities Do I Need?

(Frank Crawford, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

Some people say that good auditors are born with the auditing gift; others say it’s a learned skill. I believe the latter, and hopefully you will too after attending this session. We will start at the basic level and work our way of the “ladder of skills” until we are at the top. Concepts like professional skepticism, overconfidence bias, estimating likelihoods, and confirmation bias, will be discussed at length. Remember, every good auditor is a good accountant too!


Interviewing Techniques for Auditors

(Mark Gebicke, 8 Hours, Thursday)

Interviewers need to establish a climate of trust and helpfulness and build as much rapport with the interviewee as possible. This class will help you to produce credible oral evidence. This is done by thoughtful planning, attentive listening, skillful use of questioning and paraphrasing, and managing the interpersonal dynamics that occur between the parties. Various instruction techniques such as lecture, class discussion and exercises, and demonstration will be employed. You will be able to (1) plan and conduct effective interviews using a proven 8-step process; (2) conduct effective individual and group interviews; (3) manage the interpersonal dynamics the occur between the interviewer and interviewee; (4) select an appropriate note-taking technique; (5) listen more effectively during an interview; and (6) use appropriate questioning and paraphrasing skills.


Fraud and Abuse: Focus on the Roles of Auditors

(Steve Morgan, 4 Hours, Friday Morning)

Auditors are in a unique position to not only fight fraud and abuse, but support the efforts of other stakeholders who should also be fighting fraud. Annually auditors need to assess the effectiveness of the organization’s integrity management systems including efforts to deter, detect, and investigate fraud. During program audits auditors have specific responsibilities under auditing standards to assess fraud risks and take action if “red flags” are identified. Auditors may either investigate fraud themselves or support investigative experts. Most importantly, auditors need to ensure the organization follows up and follows through to ensure the same fraud or abuse doesn’t reoccur.


Audit Supervisory Track

Government Performance Management and Measurement: What Auditors Need to Know

(Stephen Morgan, 4 Hours, Monday Afternoon)

Auditors need to know the key components of performance management and measurement so they can assess, during audits or assistance projects, whether management has an effective approach. Types of performance measures need to be understood especially within the context of relevance and reliability. At the “big picture” level, auditors need to be able to determine the maturity of the organization’s performance management system both to encourage further improvements and to gauge the difficulty of conducting program performance audits.


Roundtable Discussion: Major Challenges and Opportunities of Running a Public Audit Office

(David Walker, 8 Hours, Tuesday)

This discussion will focus on challenges and opportunities relating to public audit offices. The discussion leader will review major transformational challenges and changes at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). He will then facilitate a wide-ranging discussion on issues facing the audit offices of Roundtable attendees.


Audit Office Leadership

(Mark Gebicke, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

You will acquire the knowledge and skills you need to be an outstanding audit leader, one who can influence audit teams to boost productivity and achieve positive results. We will discuss your specific audit responsibilities in each phase of the audit. You will learn concepts and techniques for managing your audit teams while making the best use of your valuable time. You will also learn how to supervise, lead, coach, and motivate your staff. Specifically after completion of this course, you will be able to: (1) comprehend the behavioral changes necessary to become a leader, (2) understand the skills you will need to become a leader, and (3) motivate your staff.


Auditing Grants Under the New Omni-Circular

(Mary Beth Saenz, 8 Hours, Thursday)

While the new Omni-Circular does include some changes to the Single Audit, the biggest change that will have a significant impact on audit approaches will be the shift in emphasis on grantee internal controls and performance. This one-day session will begin with a discussion of the changes from the prior A-133 circular, and continue with a brief inventory of the most significant changes in the regulations. This session will not exclusively focus on Single Audit, but identify many of the roles auditors will need to play during this transition.


Audit Office Leadership II: Helpful Hints for Supervisors

(Mark Gebicke, 4 Hours, Friday)

This course picks up where the Audit Office Leadership course left off. However, the Audit Office Leadership class is not a prerequisite to this class. This class will provide you with additional insight and many more helpful hints on how you can become a better audit leader. We will discuss many of the finer points of leadership. Some of the topics we will cover include: (1) applying the self fulfilling prophecy (2) fine tuning your communication skills, (3) better managing your scarce time, and (4) consistently applying the proven management tenets of people, principles, and products.


Finance Track

The Transparent Tidal Wave Approaches: GASB's New Pension Accounting and Reporting Standards

(Frank Crawford, 4 Hours, Monday Afternoon)

GASB Statement 68 (employer pension accounting) has rounded the corner, with implementation effective this year. If you’ve been thinking that this statement doesn’t affect you, think again, because whether you are a preparer or an auditor, it most definitely will. It’s the liability that nobody wants to claim, but everyone probably will. This session will utilize a case study approach to explain what it is that the auditor and the preparer must know in order to implement this standard correctly.


Understanding How to Read and Interpret Financial Statements

(Frank Crawford, 8 Hours, Tuesday)

As governmental financial statements continue to get more complex, the ability to read and interpret the information presented in a government’s annual financial statements becomes more difficult. In this session, we will dissect a few sets of government financial statements to see what we can see. At the end of the session, we will test your newfound skills by reviewing a set of financial statements from a government we are all familiar with.


Mapping Government Programs and Implementing Performance Management and Measures

(Stephen Morgan, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

Financial and operational managers need to understand what their organization’s programs consist of in terms of inputs (resources), processes, output, and outcomes. Mapping their programs makes transparent the relationships between these program components and provides a basis for establishing relevant and reliable performance measures. This approach then enables the organization to develop more mature performance management systems in terms of strategic and performance planning, performance budgeting, performance monitoring and analysis, and performance based decision making.


GASB Update: There's Way More Than Just Pension Stuff Going On

(Frank Crawford, 8 Hours, Thursday)

What happens when governments acquire, merge, dispose of operations, or guarantee obligations of others? New accounting standards from the GASB now address these significant events. In this session, participants will tackle and solve practical case studies in applying the following new GASB accounting pronouncements: GASB Statement 69 – Government Combinations and Disposals of Government Operations and GASB Statement 70 – Accounting and Financial Reporting for Non-exchange Financial Guarantees. Much like their non-governmental “real-life” counterparts, these could prove quite tricky! And yes, there is definitely more than just pensions and combinations. Several other possible changes are underway. This session will take a look at the principles most likely to become statements, and provide the participants with “what you need to know now” information related to easing the future implementation efforts needed. Topics to be covered include changes in accounting for OPEB liabilities, fiduciary responsibilities, a new financial reporting model and a few others at least worth mentioning.


Ethics in the Workforce: Doing the Right Thing

(Karri Perez, 4 Hours, Friday Morning)

Ethics are the foundation for integrity and trust in organizations. How is ethical behavior determined and demonstrated in the workplace? This session addresses the issues with ethics when culture may impact how the "right thing" is viewed through a variety of lenses.


Grants Management and Leadership

Emerging Issues in Grants Management

(Mary Beth Saenz, 4 Hours, Monday Afternoon)

Recent changes in Grants Management regulations are but a stepping stone in the journey towards enhancing transparency, accountability, and consistency in grants and grant-funded programs. During this ½ day session, participants will get a very high-level overview of the trend in recent regulatory changes as well as an opportunity to examine the impact of the current spotlight on Federal financial assistance of all kinds. Recent news reports, audit reports, and other sources will be examined and discussed to help define shortcuts to identifying potential weaknesses and vulnerabilities within compliance and performance of Federally funded grants. Emphasis will be placed on avoidance of “me too” findings – the same findings received in prior years or by others managing similar grants. Participants will also come away with an awareness of key players in compliance with the new regulations who are often left out of meetings, discussions, and dissemination of information. This session is especially designed for supervisors, managers, and directors who need a quick big-picture view of the challenges that lie ahead.


Grants Mangement Supercircular (OMB Circular Update)

(Mary Beth Saenz, 8 Hours, Tuesday)

The new Uniform Grants Management regulations combine and replace all or part of 8 different OMB circulars. This one-day session will highlight the key changes in the regulations, as well as identifying challenges that have already arisen in interpretation and implementation by examining the OMB Frequently Asked Questions. Emphasis will be placed on comparing/contrasting with prior regulations, and defining applicability and effective dates for various elements of the regulations. Participants will be given an opportunity to examine and interpret selected regulations as well as identifying the actions needed to conform to the requirements.


Compliance and Controls over Federal Funds (Includes Internal and Subrecipient Monitoring)

(Mary Beth Saenz, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

One of the biggest changes in the new OMB Omni-Circular is the shift in emphasis from compliance to performance. This doesn’t mean that compliance is no longer necessary, in fact this actually shifts the burden of ensuring compliance back to the grantee. The new Uniform Grants Management regulations identify a number of internal controls that must or should be implemented, while not defining the method of implementation. This 1 day session will examine the monitoring and internal control requirements presented in the Omni-Circular along with an introduction to the GAO Green Book guidelines to evaluating (testing) and enhancing internal controls.


Leadership and Management: Creating a Positive Workplace Environment

(Karri Perez, 8 Hours, Thursday)

The workplace is a reflection of the leader and a positive workplace sets the foundation for employee productivity. This session will assist you in developing tools and techniques for ensuring that employees are maximizing their potential as well as contributing to a positive and productive workplace.


Demonstrating Results in Federally Funded Programs

(Mary Beth Saenz, 4 Hours, Friday morning)

Recent reports indicate that grant-funded programs have been eliminated for not being able to “demonstrate results”. This means that they may have been doing good things, but did not have the documentation and reliable/verifiable data to support these successes. In addition, attention is focused more closely on outcomes over outputs. In this half-day class, participants will be able to define the difference between measuring performance and managing performance, as well as identify the keys to data reliability that will be necessary for their performance measurement to be valid.