The Island Government Finance Officers Association (IGFOA) held its Winter Meeting in Honolulu from February 14-17, 2023. This was the first time since 2019 that the IGFOA had an opportunity to meet in person, and the theme for this year's conference was "Resetting."
The conference was a resounding success, as finance leaders across the U.S.-affiliated insular governments, including American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, FSM National Government, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Yap, Guam, Republic of Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands, came together to share their experiences, exchange ideas, and discuss strategies for managing their respective island's financial situations.
Honorable Bosede Bruce, Commissioner of Finance from the US Virgin Islands, opened the conference with welcoming remarks, underscoring the significance of IGFOA in uniting various islands and fostering collaboration among finance officers. Marina Tinitali, Acting Deputy Director for the Policy Division at the US Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, extended a warm welcome to all participants on behalf of Interior, and stressed the crucial role of the audit and finance function in ensuring effective governance. She reiterated DOI-OIA's support for IGFOA and its commitment to promoting financial and audit best practices across all insular governments. Jason Aubuchon, Senior Director of Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives, welcomed participants and expressed gratitude to the Department of Interior for its invaluable support of the conference.
The conference featured informative discussions and updates on various relevant topics, including:
- Updates from each of the insular governments on the status of their single audits, financial management information systems, and recent challenges and accomplishments;
- Review and discussion of 12 IGFOA finance office performance measures, with more comprehensive follow-up discussion planned for future IGFOA meetings;
- An analysis and review of federal grants currently utilized by insular governments and territories to raise awareness of potential grant opportunities;
- Current and forthcoming GASB standards updates likely to affect the insular areas;
- New Performeter results for insular governments that have issued their FY20 single audits; and
- An overview of Palau’s recent tax reform efforts, including shared implementation challenges and lessons learned.
The conference included a panel discussion highlighting current finance office needs, with the "resetting" theme as a central focus. In addition to ongoing capacity development needs, the discussion emphasized the importance of insular governments collaborating to address shared issues. To close the conference, each insular government developed and presented an action plan, which will be tracked and updated at future IGFOA meetings.
The next IGFOA meeting, scheduled to take place in Portland, Oregon, in May 2023 during the GFOA's 117th Annual Conference, will be an opportunity for governments to share progress in implementing their action plans and provide updates on their performance measures. For more information about IGFOA and its upcoming events, please visit the PITI-VITI website at https://pitiviti.org/igfoa.
The Island Government Finance Officers’ Association (IGFOA) is supported by the Graduate School USA's Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives (PITI-VITI) with funding assistance from the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs (www.doi.gov/oia). Additional information can be found at https://pitiviti.org/igfoa.