Once again, the city of Stephenville has been recognized for superior financial reporting by a Chicago-based organization aimed at “enhancing and promoting the professional management of governments for public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and practices.”

For the 26th consecutive year, the city was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officer Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

The Financial Reporting Achievement was awarded to City Administrator Mark Kaiser and also stands as a testament to the hard work and open book approach taken by city management and its financial officers.

The recognition is the highest achievement for governmental accounting and financial reporting, and according to organization, “its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government.”

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including the demonstration of a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the government’s financial story.

Reports submitted to the CAFR program are reviewed by selected members of the GFOA professional staff and the GFOA Special Review Committee (SRC), which comprises of individuals with expertise in public-sector financial reporting and includes financial statement preparers, independent auditors, academics, and other finance professionals.

Kaiser said for him, the report had a two-fold purpose.

“It shows that we detail more than the required data to allow everyone, including the public, elected officials, city management, bankers and bond purchasers, a clear look into the city’s financial management practices,” Kaiser said. “Not every government takes part in such practices. Also, we use the status as a tool to help us maintain a very good credit rating and (it) can be used to illustrate our financial condition.”

Kaiser also said the panel grades the city’s audit reports and financial statements but does not rate the city’s overall financial condition. But the achievement does stand as an indicator of the condition.

According to the organization’s Web site, www.gfoa.org, the GFOA, which is a nonprofit association that serves approximately 17,500 government finance professionals, established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) Program in 1945. The purpose of the program is to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports, show transparency and full disclosure and to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.