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Major financial impacts of the merger of local councils


Today, Wis Partners attended the PUBLLIC SECTOR ANNUAL BREAKFAST hosted by CPA Australia. Three guest speakers, including Steve Orr (Executive Director, Local Government Reform, Department of Premier and Cabinet), Rob Noble Chief Executive Office, Central Coast Council)and Tino Caltabiano ( Chief Financial Officer, Georges River Council) discussed the recent reforms in NSW Local Government and how a transformation vision was enabled, the benefits realised, and what lessons can be learnt for the future.

The part most relevant to accountants and Wis Partners would like to share is the financial impact of the merger presented by Mr. Caltabiano. Here is the area of the financial impact he highlighted:

·         New ABN number and other tax implications.

·         Non-standard cut-off date for financial statement v 30 June 2017 financial year for budget

·         Appointment/change of external auditors.

·         Finance Policies and procedures harmonisation. E.g. Investments, procurement and rates and other debtor recovery.

·         Consolidated system implementation.

·         Budget consolidation.

·         Council reporting consolidation. E.g. Investment report and quarterly budget review.

·         Contract management consolidation.

·         Internal and external reserves review and consolidation

Mike Liang, the founder and managing partner of Wis Partners, used to work at PwC and dealt with a lot of council’s external audits and risk management services. He commented “managing financial risks and providing solutions to financial issues are an integral part of the transformation of councils. A working-together approach must be taken to ensure those risks are identified in the first place and well managed.”