AGA's Citizen-Centric Reporting Initiative
On May 8, 2013, at the joint Washington, DC Chapter and Greater Washington Society of CPAs training event, Joe Peter
, Senior Accountant, Office of Finance, Architect of the Capitol and Shirley Watt
, Senior Analyst, Office of Budget, Finance and Award Management, National Science Foundation, gave a presentation on the “Value of Citizen Centric Reporting,”
using their agency CCRs as the basis for their discussion.
The panelists outlined the guidelines, importance of accountability and transparency, lessons learned and benefits. Below are their slides for the presentation.
"Giving Citizens Numbers They Can Understand" - Citizen-centric financial reporting is a way for governments to improve transparency and accountability. It isn't hard, so why aren't more jurisdictions doing it? Governing
Many governments struggle to communicate the business of government to residents, particularly when presenting information about how taxpayers' money is allocated and spent. Traditionally, financial information has been presented in forms accessible only to trained accountants—reams of information, which, though vital, have little meaning for the average person.
AGA's Citizen-Centric Government Reporting Initiative is intended to foster innovative means of communication between governments and their citizenry. AGA believes that government financial information should be provided to citizens in forms that are clear and understandable, updated regularly and often, delivered to all, easy to locate, honest in breadth and technically accurate in detail. In fact, as the owners of government, citizens have a right to this information.
AGA's Citizen-Centric Reports detail government finances in a visually appealing, clear and understandable four-page document. The suggested format shows community information—such as population figures, regional characteristics and government goals for the community—on the first page, and the second page presents a performance report on key missions and service. The third page details cost and revenue information, and the fourth looks forward to the year ahead.
AGA believes that these reports will make governments more accountable to their citizens, and will help Americans become better educated and better able to participate in government activities.
AGA’s Citizen-Centric reports are designed to help remedy this. The program is an easily adoptable reporting option for all governments, including guidelines for content, design guidelines and completed reports.
We encourage you to take the initiative to work with your government employer or with the city, town or state where you live and persuade them to produce a similar report. AGA is ready and waiting to help with free consulting advice, a template and other tools to help you accomplish this goal.
AGA also offers a Certificate of Excellence in Citizen-Centric Reporting for entities that prepare and distribute high-quality Citizen-Centric Reports. To be eligible for the certificate, governments must incorporate into their report the program’s high standards of content, visual appeal, readability, distribution and timeliness in reporting. Learn more.