Cass County receives award of excellence for financial reporting

CASSOPOLIS — Cass County recently continued a more than 20-year tradition of excellence in financial reporting.

Last week, County Administrator Jeff Carmen announced Cass County recently received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2019. The announcement marked the 22nd consecutive year Cass County has achieved the distinction. Last year, Cass County was one of just 12 counties in Michigan to receive the award.

The GFOA established the certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting program in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal, according to the GFOA website. GFOA officials said the program’s goal is not to assess participating governments’ financial health but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to evaluate the county’s financial health themselves.

Cass County Finance Director Becky Moore said the award is based on extra steps the county takes in its financial reporting to complete a checklist determined by the GFOA.

“It’s just additional reporting,” Moore said. “We report at a more detailed and higher level. There is a lot of statistical information about the county in the audit, about taxpayers and demographics and things like that. That is the kind of information that makes it different than the average.”

Cass County has been applying for and being awarded the GFOA award since before Moore began working for the county. Still, she said she is happy to continue the tradition.

“When you start with the gold standard, you keep that going,” she said. “This is something the county has been doing forever, and we keep up the reporting.”

In a typical year, Cass County would have received the award much earlier, but this year’s award was delayed due to the COVID-19 virus. Already, the county is preparing its audit and financials for this year’s award. Moore said those would be submitted within the next 30 days.

During a Feb. 4 Cass County Board of Commissioners meeting, County Administrator Carmen said he was pleased with the award.

“We are particularly proud of that,” Carmen said.

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