Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2009 Annual Report released, with interactive web site

The City is launching an interactive web feature that supports this year’s Annual Report.

The Annual Report web presence enables citizens to learn about some of The City’s 2009 accomplishments through an experience that simulates a ‘tag cloud,’ which highlights words and themes by making them stand out in a group.

The site, accessible at calgary.ca/annualreport, provides citizens with a new way of highlighting and navigating through key information and provides a different way to interact with the annual report.

“A more interactive and innovative approach to the online portion of The City’s Annual Report enabled us to shorten the print version by featuring some content exclusively online,” says Cindy Pickett, director of Customer Service & Communications.

If the interactive site isn’t your cup of tea, the PDF version is available. This is the first year The City has used an interactive approach to the annual report.

The City received an unqualified opinion from the external auditor, Deloitte & Touche, on the 2009 financial statements, demonstrating that The City is in good financial health, able to balance expenses with revenues with a small surplus.

Strong fiscal management is also confirmed by The City’s updated credit ratings from Dominion Bond Rating Service, which gives The City a AA (high) ranking and Standard & Poor’s AA+/Stable grade. These are among the best for Canadian Municipalities.

The Annual Report emphasizes corporate governance – exhibiting transparency and full disclosure consistent with Canadian best practices as applicable to municipalities. It provides a comprehensive view of the 2009 financial statements and summarizes major accomplishments that support Council’s priorities and corporate initiatives.

The City has implemented new accounting standards required by the Public Sector Accounting Board of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. These new standards include accounting for tangible capital assets (non-financial, physical assets) and a new financial reporting model; resulting in significant changes in the presentation of the 2009 financial statements. The 2008 financial results have been restated to align with the new presentation and provide a valid comparison between the two years.

Significant changes have also been made in the way the annual report is produced and distributed. This year the ‘Year in Review’ section of the report has been reduced by 33 per cent and has continued last year’s decision to print only 225 copies of the report.

The 2009 City of Calgary annual report was published in June 2010.

Highlights:
  • The annual report provides a comprehensive view of the 2009 financial statements and summarizes major accomplishments in support of Council initiatives.
  • The report emphasizes corporate governance, transparency and full disclosure, consistent with Canadian best practices as applicable to municipalities.
  • External auditors Deloitte & Touche have given the financial statements an unqualified opinion, which is the best evaluation an external auditor can give.
  • In addition to the financial statements, the annual report provides information on City governance, accountability and initiatives, as well as letters from the Mayor and the City Manager highlighting The City’s achievements.
Opportunities for Improvement:
  • The 2009 Annual Report reflects changes required by the Public Sector Accounting Board of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, including accounting for tangible capital assets (non-financial, physical assets) and a new financial reporting model. The implementation of Public Sector Accounting Board requirements (PS 3150) was an important change in managing The City’s assets, with implications across the corporation.
  • However, since this was the first year that amortization has been reported, amortization costs needed to be included in the budget. These are not currently budgeted for most tax-supported tangible capital assets, except water assets, which already include amortization costs.
  • The City is one among many organizations now working to refine and enhance implementation and sustainment efforts to maintain compliance with this new standard.

In order to support The City’s policies on fiscal restraint and environmental responsibility, and because a majority of citizens have shown a preference for online access, the 2009 Corporate Annual Report can be viewed at calgary.ca/annualreport.

Here is an instructional video showing people how to use the new interactive feature.

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