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Summary of This Commentary
Why is financial management so important? As stewards of the taxes collected from our communities, our local governments are required to give an accounting to the public of how their tax money is being used. Yet, despite this senior-government mandate, in far too many communities, there is dissatisfaction from elected officials, from staff, and from the public. The good news is that there are some excellent solutions available to address many of the challenges associated with local-government financial management. In this commentary, we examine the ABC (activity-based costing) solution by considering the following questions: Should your organization adopt ABC? How many times a year are your elected officials asked to make a decision with only a rough estimate of the actual cost consequences? How many times are staff or consultants asked to estimate costs that are not currently measured? How many times is the public asked to accept such estimates because actual costs are not known? Is your organization able to make apples-to-apples comparisons with your peers using your existing costing system? Does your existing system enable you to identify subsidies, both internal and external? Why should subsidies be eliminated? How can dependence on subsidies be reduced? This issue will assist you to find the answers to these important questions and to advance the transformation to a financial-management system for the 21st century.
As always, we welcome your comments.
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VFC (View from the Cordillera) is an electronic publication serving those who govern, administer, manage, support, and sustain our local governments. Since its inaugural issue, this publication has presented commentaries on a variety of topics vital to local government. For more information on VFC, click here. About the Cordillera Institute
The Cordillera Institute is an independent research and public policy organization dedicated to excellence in local government. Since our founding in 1994, we have studied many high-performance organizations to learn what makes them successful. From this research, we have distilled a set of principles, paradigms, policies, programs, and practices which are the key elements of their success. Our mission is to be a catalyst to empower municipalities, school districts, public utilities, and other local public agencies to achieve excellence by adopting and applying these success elements. For more information on the Institute, click here.