There is an old axiom that “numbers don’t lie”. When these numbers are handled by Ballwin’s finance department, they often lead to things that truly transcend money. This was quite evident at the February 14 meeting of the Ballwin Board of Aldermen.
For the seventh consecutive year, the search for figures on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (ACFR) led Ballwin to land the award known as the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. In an email response, finance manager Denise Keller said this was an audit report for the year ending December 31, 2020.
City Administrator Eric Sterman was quick to pay tribute to Keller and his staff.
“As you may remember, we get a certificate of achievement for the budget every year (six in a row) as well,” Sterman said. “Few cities get these awards, and fewer actually get them both. I just wanted to acknowledge the hard work of Denise and her team, and not just provide the basic set of budget numbers and the basic set of financial reports. It’s a really rigorous process that requires a wealth of information for our budget book. It takes a lot of time and effort and provides a lot of valuable information to the public that many cities don’t. Congratulations to our finance staff! »
While the ACFR report is only 80 pages, that of the budget report peaks at almost 200 pages. This achievement is known as the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. Keller said both are distributed by the International Government Finance Officers Association.
“The booklet contains financial statements for all of the city’s accounting funds presented in three different formats, footnotes to the statements, management’s discussion and analysis, statistical data presented over 10 years, and a letter of d ‘introduction,” Keller explained.
She added that there are detailed criteria that must be met and that the documents are peer reviewed outside of Missouri.
Winning the award is a validation of the quality of the report. Beyond that, reviewers also submit feedback with recommendations for improvements that Keller says helps her and her staff improve each year.