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Ohio Auditor of State’s Office Wins National Award for ‘Fiscal Physical’ Tool
Columbus – The Ohio Auditor of State’s “Financial Health Indicators” (FHI) tool has earned a Government Experience Award from the Center for Digital Government, recognizing the office for its achievement in technology.
The Center announced today that the Auditor’s office is among five government entities from across the country to win the award in the organization’s Government-to-Government Experience category. The award will be presented on Sept. 28 in Austin, Texas.
Auditor of State Dave Yost launched the online FHI database in January 2017 to help Ohio’s cities and counties gauge their fiscal health and steer clear of fiscal distress. The tool was designed and developed in-house by the Auditor’s Information Technology Department, Financial Audit Section and Local Government Services Section.
“We’ve seen numerous cities and counties turn to their financial health indicators to guide them in making well-informed fiscal decisions,” Auditor Yost said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team that worked tirelessly to make this valuable resource available to Ohio’s communities.”
The tool generates a “fiscal physical” report for every city and county based on the annual financial statements they submit to the Auditor’s office. The reports contain up to 17 indicators, each analyzing an important piece of financial information.
Depending on the data, each indicator is designated as either having a “critical outlook,” “cautionary outlook” or “positive outlook.” The financial stress of a city or county is higher as the number of critical or cautionary indicators increases.
To establish the benchmarks for the financial health indicators, staff researched cities and counties that had been placed in fiscal caution, fiscal watch or fiscal emergency, studying their financial data from the preceding years. Those data points and trends were used to determine which indicators were indicative of future or current financial stress.
The FHI reports are generated twice a year for each entity: When the city or county submits its unaudited financial statement data for a preliminary report, and after any adjustments are made following the audit.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on information technology policy and best practices in state and local government. The Government Experience Awards recognize the achievements and best practices of states, cities and counties that have gone to the web and beyond to radically improve the experience of government and push the boundaries of how citizen services are delivered.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.