Citizen Auditor(s) of Ohio is committed to helping the citizens learn how their local government financial reports can be easily found, viewed, understood, or printed so that they can become a citizen auditor too! When citizens are informed and armed with knowledge they will understand where all their tax dollars are received from and on what programs they are being spent. With knowledge and facts they can determine how or if their tax dollars are being used in a cost effective way by their local government unit or will have intelligent information with which to ask questions of their government.
In Ohio annual financial reports are prepared primarily on a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) basis, however, smaller government unites may chose to prepare their financial reports on a 'cash basis' known as Other Common Basis of Accounting (OCBOA) as provided by the State Auditors office. Most local government units actually budget and operate during the year on the cash basis and then perform a conversion from cash basis to GAAP basis at the end of each year. The OCBOA financial statement is prepared on a modified non-GAAP cash basis and reflected in the audit opinion letter.
The three basic reports prepared annually are a GPFS (General Purpose Financial Statement), CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report), or the OCBOA-Cash Basis. The GPFS is the most summarized report and the most detailed is the CAFR. A CAFR provides additional detailed and combined minor individual fund financial information and a statistical section with ten years of historical trends for analysis. A CAFR is an indication that your community is providing exceptional transparency and accountability to its citizens in the preparation and release of a CAFR. The GPFS form of reporting is the minimum requirement in Ohio and without minor individual fund details and the statistical section found in a CAFR, requires additional work for a citizen auditor to analyze financial performance of the local governmental unit. A GPFS report does provide considerably more useful information and is preferred over the OCBOA report which is cash basis only and prepared on modified non-GAAP basis.
We are going to be using the audited General Purpose Financial Statements of the City of Twinsburg in Summit County as our sample dataset for now and expand the website in the future to look at a CAFR dataset.