Understanding the CAFR

Page updated on Nov 30, 2018 at 4:32 PM

The City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) provides detailed information on the City’s financial status at the end of a fiscal year and reports on the City’s activities and balances for each fiscal year. The City’s fiscal year operates from July 1 through June 30 the following year. The CAFR is comprised of four sections: introductory, financial, statistical, and single audit.

Introductory Section

The introductory section includes information about the City’s principal officials, the City’s organizational chart, and the Finance Department’s transmittal letter. The transmittal letter provides information about City government, the local economy, the City’s financial condition, fiscal policies, general government functions, budgetary accounting & internal controls, the independent audit, and reporting requirements.

Financial Section

The financial section includes the management’s discussion and analysis, basic/fund/component unit financial statements, notes to financial statements, budgetary comparison schedules, required supplementary information for public employee retirement systems, and the independent auditor’s report. The management’s discussion and analysis provides a quick guide to using the financial section of the report and summarizes much of the data to be found therein, including the City’s assets, debts, revenues, and expenditures. Through the budgetary comparison schedules, readers are provided a quick view of how the City’s actual revenues and expenditures compare to both the approved budget from the beginning of the fiscal year and the amended budget modified during the fiscal year. The budget is amended during the fiscal year as more information becomes available about trends affecting revenues and expenditures. For example, an unexpected dip in the economy will require the City to lower its revenue estimates in some categories.

Statistical Section

The statistical section includes selected financial and demographic information for the City which is generally presented on a multi-year basis. This section assists readers in understanding how the City’s myriad financial indicators impact them. The City’s indicators would include: Financial Trends which show how the government’s performance and well-being have changed over time; Revenue Capacity assesses the government’s most significant revenue source, the property tax; Debt Capacity assesses the affordability of the government’s current levels of outstanding debt and the government’s ability to issue future debt; Demographic and Economic Information provides insight into the environment within which the City’s financial activities occur; Operating Information is comprised of service and infrastructure data which delineates how the information in the City’s financial report relates to the services and activities the City performs.

Single Audit

The single audit section provides information on City and School programs that are financed by federal grants.