The canadian financial reporting environment

Long-term financial planning combines financial forecasting with strategizing. It is a highly collaborative process that considers future scenarios and helps governments navigate challenges.

The canadian financial reporting environment


Long-term financial planning combines financial forecasting with strategizing. It is a highly collaborative process that considers future scenarios and helps governments navigate challenges.

Long-term financial planning works best as part of an overall strategic plan. Financial forecasting is the process of projecting revenues and expenditures over a long-term period, using assumptions about economic conditions, future spending scenarios, and other salient variables.

Long-term financial planning is the process of aligning financial capacity with long-term service objectives. Many governments have a comprehensive long-term financial planning process because it stimulates discussion and engenders a long-range perspective for decision makers.

It can be used as a tool to prevent financial challenges; it stimulates long-term and strategic thinking; it can give consensus on long-term financial direction; and it is useful for communications with internal and external stakeholders. GFOA recommends that all governments regularly engage in long-term financial planning that encompasses the following elements and essential steps.

A long-term financial plan should include these elements. A plan should look at least five to ten years into the future. Governments may elect to extend their planning horizon further if conditions warrant. A plan should consider all appropriated funds, but especially those funds that are used to account for the issues of top concern to elected officials and the community.

Governments should update long-term planning activities as needed in order to provide direction to the budget process, though not every element of the long-range plan must be repeated.

A plan should include an analysis of the financial environment, revenue and expenditure forecasts, debt position and affordability analysis, strategies for achieving and maintaining financial balance, and plan monitoring mechanisms, such as scorecard of key indicators of financial health.

The public and elected officials should be able to easily learn about the long-term financial prospects of the government and strategies for financial balance. Hence, governments should devise an effective means for communicating this information, through either separate plan documents or by integrating it with existing communication devices.

A long-term financial plan should include these steps.

The canadian financial reporting environment

The mobilization phase prepares the organization for long-term planning by creating consensus on what the purpose and results of the planning process should be. The mobilization phase includes the following items: This step includes determining the composition of the project team, identifying the project sponsor, and formulating a strategy for involving other important stakeholders.

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This step also involves the creation of a high-level project plan to serve as a roadmap for the process. This step helps raise awareness of special issues among planning participants, such as the board or non-financial executive staff. A scan of the financial environment is common at this point.

Identification of Service Policies and Priorities. Service policies and priorities have important implications on how resources will be spent and how revenues will be raised. A strategic plan or a priority setting session with elected officials could be useful in identifying service policies and priorities.

Validation and Promulgation of Financial Policies. Definition of Purpose and Scope of Planning. The purpose and scope of the planning effort will become clear as a result of the foregoing activities, but the process should include a forum for developing and recognizing their explicit purpose and scope.

The analysis phase is designed to produce information that supports planning and strategizing. The analysis phase includes the projections and financial analysis commonly associated with long-term financial planning. The analysis phase involves information gathering, trend projection, and analysis as follows: This is where the government analyzes the environment in order to gain a better understanding of the forces that affect financial stability.

Improved understanding of environmental factors should lead to better forecasting and strategizing. After the environment has been analyzed, the planners can project various elements of long-term revenue, expenditure, and debt trends. The forecasts can then be used to identify potential challenges to fiscal stability e.

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