Thursday, September 25, 2008

Auditor-Controller helps build better financial officers

Robert Byrd

(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) For more than five years Robert E. Byrd, Riverside County’s elected Auditor-Controller, has sponsored an educational teleconference for financial professionals to review the past year’s developments affecting accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments.

For the past 13 years The Government Finance Officers Association has offered its Annual Governmental GAAP Update teleconference to educate accounting and auditing professionals of changes, and on Thursday, November 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., more than 3,000 accountants and auditors will participate from sites across the U.S.

The GAAP Update will offer a comprehensive and practical overview of all of the major developments in accounting and financial reporting during the past year that affect state and local governments, with special emphasis on the activities of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

The Inland Empire site for the GAAP Update teleconference is in Moreno Valley at the Riverside County DPSS Training Center at 22690 Cactus Ave., Suite 100.

The term GAAP, or "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles," has a specific meaning for accountants and auditors. GAAP is the basis for preparing all financial statements so that financial professionals and investors can trust the results.

Specific topics that will be addressed at this year’s teleconference include:

1. Components of fund balance and definitions of governmental fund types (new GASB statement)
2. Derivatives (new GASB statement)
3. Recognition and measurement attributes (active GASB project)
4. Implementation guidance (recent changes to the GASB’s Comprehensive Implementation Guide)
5. Common reporting deficiencies and practice clarifications (based on experience in the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program)
6. Best practices in accounting and financial reporting (GFOA recommended practices)
7. GASB Technical Plan
8. Service efforts and accomplishments (SEA) reporting (amendments to GASB concepts statement and proposed guidelines for voluntary reporting)
9. COSO Update (new guidance on monitoring internal control)

Other topics include: emphasis on the activities of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, along with a look at governmental funding types, recognition and measurement systems and recent changes in the board’s Comprehensive Implementation Guide.

The GAAP Update will also review common reporting deficiencies, best practices in accounting and financial reporting and new guidance on monitoring internal controls.

To register for the GAAP Update, association members may go on line at The registration fee is $135.00 for active members and $185.00 for nonmembers or other accounting professionals in the private sector. These costs are for registration prior to October 3, 2008. After that date, the fees will be $185.00 for active members and $235.00 for nonmembers.

“I believe in Riverside County,” Byrd says, “and I want the entire area to be better informed and knowledgeable. I am willing to contribute wherever I might be of benefit.”

Sponsoring the Annual Governmental GAAP Update teleconference is a natural contribution to financial professionals involved in state and local governments for Byrd. “The more we all train, learn and share knowledge,” he explains, “the better we can help our communities. This teleconference goes a long way toward that objective.”

The Government Finance Officers Association Director of Technical Services, Stephen Gauthier, will host the event. Gauthier is an instructor at the association’s national training seminars and is the author of numerous association publications including “Governmental Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting.”

In 2002, Robert Byrd became the county’s elected Auditor-Controller with more votes cast than in the entire history of the office. In so doing, he was the California’s first African American elected to that office. He was subsequently re-elected to a second four-year term in June of 2006.

Byrd virtually revolutionized the office of the county’s Auditor-Controller by restructuring it to provide optimum customer service while improving the quality and flow of information to the county’s management. He adds, “We refocused Riverside County’s audit function to not only serve its regulatory mandates, but also to incorporate flexibility to audit proactively,” thus bringing fresh standards to the county’s processes and functionality.

He sees his professional contributions as going beyond what’s expected of his office, however. He has been chair of the Riverside County Employee Campaign and Legislative Chair for the State Association of County Auditors. Additionally, Byrd has been a commissioner on the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission, and members of the Society of Municipal Finance Officers, the Government Finance Officer’s Association and the State Association of County Auditors.

Committed to his community, he’s a member of Riverside Rotary, board member of the Next of Kin Registry, is on the International Relations Council for Riverside and performs as Finance Chairperson for La Sierra Academy’s Board of Trustees.
For details on the Riverside County Auditor-Controller's office call (951) 955-3800.

The Office of the Auditor-Controller is headed by Robert E. Byrd, CGFM, who is elected by the voters of Riverside County. The Auditor-Controller staff and management teams are dedicated to providing sound financial accounting, auditing, and reporting in order to serve the citizens of Riverside County. More information is available on the Web at