For years, Wright County officials have expressed the desire to have full transparency with the public on how they conduct business. At the core of that pledge is making their financial books accessible to the public to scrutinize.
On Jan. 28, the Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office was notified that, for the fifth straight year, it was being awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
The Certificate of Achievement is the highest honor bestowed by the GFOA in recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The award is given to counties, municipalities, universities, school districts, enterprise funds and public employee benefit funds throughout North America. Wright County received its award for its comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year 2018.
The judging for those deemed worthy of receiving the Certificate of Achievement is done by an impartial panel that evaluates whether a potential recipient has met the high standards set forth in the program. Wright County Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala said the bar is set high to win the award and that full disclosure is a necessary component of being eligible to win the award.
“There is a standard in which you need to disclose financial information,” Hiivala said. “That standard is the information you need to have out there and full disclosure to the public.”
The primary benefit of receiving GFOA recognition is to improve the county’s bond rating. In doing so, it gives those looking to competitively bid to provide bonding funds more confidence that the county is trustworthy and a solid investment by exceeding the standards of excellence in financial reporting needed to win the Certificate of Achievement.
Hiivala said that this isn’t an individual honor for him, but rather a recognition of his entire staff, all of whom deserve credit for playing a role in winning the award – for the most recent reporting period and continuing its five-year run of success.
“This is a group award,” Hiivala said. “This award is the result of the work of the finance people all over the county that all contributed toward the information needed to get that report put together to get the award. Thanks go to all of the accounting staff.”