By Anne Rosivach
The best undergraduate accounting, finance, and business students in the country are invited to compete in the fifth annual Government Finance Case Challenge, sponsored by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). Student teams will collaboratively analyze and offer a written response to a case involving a local government. The written response should be a citizen-centric report that details government finances in a visually appealing, clear, and understandable document.
AGA prepares the case for the challenge based on a local government's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) information, said Jennifer I. Curtin, director of public affairs for the AGA. "We give the students eight days to take the CAFR information and to convert it into a four-page citizen-centric report. They also construct a two-page report to accompany their citizen-centric report offering their justification for the choices that they made in connection with their final submission. We like to partner with a local or a state government that has an interest in creating a citizen-centric report for their entity for the first time with the case competition."
Many governments struggle to communicate the business of government to residents, according to the AGA Web site, "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." The AGA: Citizen-Centric Reporting
initiative and the case challenge are intended to foster innovative means of communication between governments and their citizenry.
One team of three to four members is eligible to enter from each school. Teams may have a faculty advisor if they like. Twenty three teams participated in the 2009-2010 competition.
The registration deadline for the College Government Finance Case Challenge is Wednesday, October 19, 2011. All members of the three highest-scoring teams will receive a stipend to attend AGA's National Leadership Conference set for February 16-17, 2012 in Washington, D.C. At the conference, the three teams will present their finalized solutions before a panel of federal/state/local government leaders, corporate partners, and CFOs. The winning teams will be announced at the awards luncheon on the final day of the conference.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning team. Each student participant will also receive a free one-year membership to AGA.