Financial Literacy for Tribal Board and Council

If youíre an elected official or board member and desire a better understanding of your organizationís finances, this class is essential. Join Falmouth Institute and gain knowledge of the complex financial world of tribal governments and tribal enterprises.

During this important class, youíll learn what to look for in an audit report, how to understand a P&L from your tribal enterprises, questions to ask your organizationís financial officers and how to select an independent auditor. Youíll leave this session able to detect weaknesses in your current system and spot signs of trouble and fraud.

Attend this class and feel confident in your ability to provide financial oversight that will protect your community and help it to thrive.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
The Finance Director
  • Tips on hiring
  • Interacting with council
  • How to evaluate
  • Danger signs (job not getting done)
  • Amount of authority finance should have
Finance Committee
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Expertise
  • Advantages of having a finance committee
  • Reporting to council
Reports You Need and How to Interpret Them
  • Budget status
  • Financial statements
  • Frequency of reports
  • P-L statements
Banking Relationships
  • What your bank should be doing for you
  • Are you insured?
  • Services you shouldn’t pay for
  • When to change banks
Choosing an Audit Firm
  • What should be in the RFP
  • How rates are determined
  • Required experience
  • Large vs. small firm
  • Negotiating a fair price
Managing an Audit
  • Planning
  • Keeping costs under control
  • What the tribe should do before the audit team arrives
  • Dealing with inexperienced staff
  • The engagement letter
  • When the council should be called in
Reading an Audit Report
  • What to focus on
  • Understanding what the opinion means
  • Questions to ask the auditor
  • Why you should look at findings
  • What the findings mean
  • Five tips
Understanding the Audit Opinion
  • Modified opinion
  • Adverse opinion
  • Unmodified opinion
  • No opinion
  • How the opinion impacts federal funding
Indirect Cost Made Simple
  • How your rate is set
  • Who prepares
  • What it means to your General Fund
  • Decisions the council should be making
  • Questions to ask your finance director
  • Latest issues facing tribes
Evaluating Tribal Businesses
  • Reading a for profit audit report
  • Understanding the jargon of business
  • What to expect from enterprises
  • Key danger signals (when you must act)
Internal Controls
  • Importance of internal controls
  • Council responsibility
  • Why theft and fraud happen
  • Warning signs
  • Impact on audit
  • Are council salaries subject to FUTA?
  • What travel reimbursements are taxable to you
  • What the numbers really say
  • Red flags to look for
  • Authority to delegate to directors
  • Budget ordinance
  • Performance budgeting
  • Holding staff accountable


*Topics subject to change.

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