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Oklahoma State University

OSU attracts representatives from 10 tribes to inaugural finance, accounting training

Monday, December 3, 2018

Attending the Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate Program were, front row, from left, Julie Wall, Carrie Rogers, Deborah Dotson, Sondra Lytle, Dustin Stubblefield, Rachel Crawford, Mary Chisholm, Susan Blair, Atheda Fletcher; back row, Amber Spence, Kristen T. Mankiller, Loretta Keener, Vanessa Vance, Lancer Stephens, Mike Wood, Matthew Watkins, Jason Murdock, April Welch, Meghan Snead and Angela Palmer.

A groundbreaking pilot program recently kicked off at Oklahoma State University that will assist many of the Native American tribes throughout the state with tribal accounting and finance training.

The Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate Program attracted 20 participants representing 10 tribes or organizations from across the state. The program is an effort of the OSU Spears School of Business, the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium (OKTFC) and the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA), and sponsored by the OSU School of Accounting and the Department of Finance.

“The program was created to address financial education needs expressed by the 38 tribal nations who are members of the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium,” said Victor Flores, president of the group. “The purpose of this program is to strengthen the financial acumen of tribal leaders and tribal employees, which in turn advances tribal nation economics and strengthens tribal finance. Members of the OKTFC worked with the OSU Spears School of Business and NAFOA to develop this program tailored to Oklahoma tribal nations and specific to the needs voiced by our membership.”

Participants attending the 28-hour pilot program represented 10 tribes or organizations: Absentee Shawnee Tribe, Bank2, Cherokee Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Delaware Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Osage Nation and Wichita & Affiliated Tribes.

“This introductory program is an excellent tool for any finance staff looking to expand tribal accounting knowledge,” said Loretta Keener, supervisor of accounting and finance for Cherokee Nation. “It provides a variety of training that directly impact tribal government programs. I highly recommend this training to anyone beginning a tribal finance career or to anyone interested in tribal governmental accounting.”

"I highly recommend this training to anyone beginning a tribal finance career or to anyone interested in tribal governmental accounting."

Loretta Keener, Cherokee Nation

Program subjects addressed federal Indian law, tribal government accounting and finance, grant practices and compliance, internal controls and compliance, fraud protection, government accounting, auditing procedures and regulations, preparing for an audit, tribal financial statements, effective record keeping, tax guide, cost principles, federal general uniform administrative requirements, closing out grants, ethics, indirect cost calculation, schedule of expenditures of federal awards and preparing budgets.

“The topics included in the program are relevant and are designed to assist entry level finance and accounting personnel as well as those leaders interested in the area of tribal government who would like to learn more about accounting and finance for governmental tribal practices,” said Rachel Domnick, OSU School of Accounting instructor and program facilitator.

Speaker experts on the tribal accounting and finance program were from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, Austin, Texas; BKD CPAs & Advisors, Tulsa/Oklahoma City; Dorsey& Whitney, LLP, Costa Mesa, Calif. and Minneapolis, Minn.; Finley & Cook CPA’s, Shawnee, Okla.; Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium, Norman, Okla., OSU’s School of Accounting, Stillwater, and REDW, Phoenix.

Beyond the Introductory Program, participants can apply to be a graduate of the OSU Tribal Institute. To be a graduate of the OSU Tribal Institute participants will complete the Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate Program (four days, 28 hours) and the Tribal Leadership Certificate Program (four days, 24 hours).

Topics for the Leadership Certificate Program are Influence Skills; An Employee’s Guide to Advancement and Success; Increasing Effectiveness through Goal Setting; Legal Topics; Time Care: Getting Control of Your Time and Life; and Emotional Intelligence. These leadership programs are one-day offerings in Tulsa or Oklahoma City.

“We are very excited to have developed this program for the tribal governments throughout the state and we hope to attract others tribal participants in the region as well,” said Lindsey Ray, program coordinator in the OSU Center for Executive and Professional Development. “We are fortunate to have experts in the tribal accounting and finance industry involved in teaching the program and the Orange Book (provided by NAFOA) highlighting accounting practices for tribal government is also distributed to each participant.”

Ray also noted that an Intermediate Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate Program will be announced soon.  For more information, see or contact Ray with the OSU Center for Executive and Professional Development at 405-744-5208.

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