NC Finance Connect is an online community portal that allows local and state government professionals to exchange information related to budgeting, financial management, purchasing, taxation, community and economic development, and other finance-related topics (collectively referred to as local government finance). Users may ask and answer questions, voice concerns, share resources, advertise open positions, and get peer-to-peer support. The portal facilitates real-time conversations among local and state officials, while simultaneously capturing the information in a format that aids in future retrieval and use by others. It also provides ready access to the UNC-CH School of Government’s resources, as well as those from other partner organizations.
The keystone of NC Finance Connect is its discussion forum. (The discussion forum replaces the ncfinance, and other listservs, as the primary vehicle for intergovernmental information sharing about finance across the state.) The discussion forum is organized by Category and Subcategory. Users ask questions or post other information in a subcategory within each category. There may be multiple discussion topics within each subcategory.
By default, users will receive email notifications of all new discussions and replies within each category. Users, however, may opt to receive email alerts of discussions only within selected categories. Users may further tailor email notifications to only receive emails when a new topic is posted or to receive emails whenever there is a reply to each post. To respond to an existing discussion topic, users may click on the link in the email notification. Alternatively, users may log into NC Finance Connect and reply within the specific category and subcategory.
The right-hand column of each discussion forum includes links to the most recent School of Government blog posts and other resources corresponding to the discussion category. Users may copy and paste links to blog posts, documents, or other resources directly into the forum discussions.
Sharing documents—such as policies, ordinances, past course and conference materials, and other practical resources—is an invaluable function of the local and state government finance professionals’ network. NC Finance Connect makes the process of uploading, identifying, and retrieving documents easy. Documents will no longer be lost in an endless stream of listserv emails. Instead, they will be clearly labeled and categorized for future search and retrieval. Once a document is uploaded, a user may link to it in a forum discussion.
Similarly, recognizing the increasing importance of multi-media, users may upload informational, tutorial, and other relevant videos by category. Videos may be uploaded from YouTube, Vimeo, or a user’s computer.
Want to know what percentage COLA raises or tax rate increases other units are adopting this year? Or how many units prepare a CAFR each year? Or which tax collection software programs other units are using? NC Finance Connect provides a simple mechanism to poll fellow users. Results are compiled automatically and displayed in a chart format for all to view.
NC Finance Connect makes it easier to hire local talent! Users are able to post and view job openings in finance-related positions across the state. Positions are sorted by county, municipal, public authority, and other. Job listings will be deleted on a periodic basis to keep the list as current as possible.
Keep up to date on the latest educational opportunities. NC Finance Connect alerts users to courses and conferences currently open for registration, as well as future offerings.
The Groups feature provides dedicated space for government and non-profit finance entities (such as the Department of Revenue, Department of State Treasurer, NCGFOA, CAGP, etc.) to communicate with NC Finance Connect users. It also facilitates interactions among subsets of users. For example, purchasers could form a group to compile resources and post information of specific interest to its members. Smaller towns and cities could form a group to help each other navigate through the unique problems faced by their units. Users interested in spearheading specific initiatives and/or proposing legislative changes could form groups of like-minded peers. These are just a few examples. A user may participate in an existing group, or start a new group, at any time.
What if a user identifies a discussion thread that is of particular interest or that may be helpful to him or her in the future? NC Finance Connect allows a user to subscribe to a particular topic thereby logging the discussion thread(s) within the topic on the user’s personal NC Finance Connect page (My NC Finance Connect). This will facilitate easy retrieval of the information in the future. A user’s own discussion posts also will automatically be included on this page.
Click here and complete the registration form to sign up for NC Finance Connect today.