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Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Automation Success – State of Maines’ Story

Jamie Black, President of F.H. Black & Company Inc., interviewed the State of Maine to learn about their experience upgrading from Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Unlimited to Caseware’s automated solution. Below are some of the highlights from the interview...

Interviewee names and titles:

  1. Sandy Royce, Director of Financial Reporting
  2. Thomas Randall, Financial Management Coordinator/Principal Audit Analyst

What is a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report? Why is it so important to the State overall, and you in particular?

A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is a thorough and detailed presentation of the state’s financial condition. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is reviewed by the Government Finance Office Association (GFOA) and is measured against the standards set forth by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Quality Comprehensive Annual Financial Report reports receive a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the GFOA. For the State of Maine, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is used by bond rating agencies to establish Maine’s bond rate.

What was your business process to tackle the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report previously and how much time did it take?

With the previous Comprehensive Annual Financial Report reporting software, there was a significant amount of time involved in generating the report. The previous process was to:

  1. Import a trial balance from the accounting system
  2. Request information from numerous state agencies and other sources for the purpose of posting adjustments to account balances
  3. Compile other information for note disclosures, required supplementary information and statistical information
  4. Convert multiple documents into PDF format
  5. Consolidate numerous PDF documents into one published document

The entire process began with some “prep” work in August, with the deadline of December 31 for a Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Excellence.

What product were you using before and why did you want to switch?

“Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Unlimited” was the product we were using prior to Caseware. Although the product was simple to use and worked well, support was discontinued and it was without desktop publishing capabilities.

What are the biggest benefits of the Caseware tool vs. your old system?

The biggest advantages of Caseware are:

  • The desktop publishing capability
  • The ability to reference values between statements to ensure all values agree
  • A real-time view of the draft report during the report compilation period
  • The unlimited diagnostics and analytics to ensure the completeness, accuracy, and integrity of the final report
  • The creation and organization of customizable reports
  • The capacity to import trial balances, budgets, revenue forecasts, performance measures, and adjustment data from properly formatted Excel workbooks

Would you recommend Caseware to other state or local government finance departments and why?

We would absolutely recommend Caseware. After conducting research and experiencing the product first hand, Caseware seems to be the most comprehensive reporting application available.

Want to hear the full story? Watch the video!

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