Cost Accounting in Local Government

Cost Allocation Plans

Allocating Administrative Functions in Other Departments

Allocating Administrative Functions in Other Departments

Supporting Your Interfund Transfers

Living within the Terms of Proposition 218

It’s time to think about updating your Cost Allocation Plan

If you use a Cost Allocation Plan (CAP) to recover General Fund costs from your Enterprise Funds, then it’s time to start thinking about updating that CAP for the 2012-13 budget year.  If you do it during the relatively calm period after the auditors leave and before the budget process starts, then you will be […]

Long-Range Financial Plans

I got a call recently from a California city interested in consultants that did long-range financial plans (LRFP). I couldn’t remember the last time I had a similar call even though LRFPs had once been the rage. I mumbled something about how our approach was completely different than the historical LRFP process and left it […]


Cost Allocation Plan vs. Internal Service Fund

In last month’s article I wrote about what happens when you write a Program Budget and no one cares. In other words, you have identified the full costs of providing various services to the community but it does not affect funding decisions. So depending on your resources you will want to ask yourself, What do […]

To ISF or not to ISF?

Being someone who allocates costs for a living, it has become an axiom that if you can allocate costs then you do it. But is more information always a good idea? Or in other words, has the allocation of central costs merely become an academic exercise?

Caltrans A-87 Cost Allocation Plan

Everyone has heard of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87. And everyone feels they need an A-87 Cost Allocation Plan to recover the administrative costs of any federal grants that they may have. But when you get into the detail of the A-87 Circular there is a lot of detail about […]

What type of CAP should I use?

The A-87 CAP was created because our profession (Municipal Finance Officers Association, at the time) wanted overhead reimbursement on Federal Grant programs which we knew cost us (Finance Directors) additional work. The result was the proverbial “half a loaf” as we were allowed to charge general overhead but not costs related to the legislative function […]