Financial Management

Introductory Tribal Finance & Accounting Certificate Program

The Introductory Tribal Finance & Accounting Certificate Program is offered in partnership by the Center for Executive Professional Development, Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. The program is offered in person and online.

In-Person Program

This four-day cohort program provides the opportunity to connect with other tribal peers while gaining knowledge and experience to help become a more effective tribal finance/accounting professional and leader. You will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from other tribal finance/accounting professionals throughout the state and across the country.

In-person program dates: May 16-19, 2023

Online Program

This eight-week cohort program provides the opportunity to connect with other tribal peers while gaining knowledge and experience to help become a more effective tribal finance/accounting professional and leader. Because all sessions are available virtually, you’ll be able to learn on your own time and set hours convenient to your schedule. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with and learn from other tribal finance/accounting professionals throughout the state and across the country. The Zoom chat room with instructors is available for discussion and questions about course material at the end of each week.

Online program dates: January 9 – March 3, 2023

Program Objectives

Many tribes consider their audit to be a necessary evil; it has to be done, but it disrupts their day-to-day operations. This session will break down the audit process and explain the various components of the audit, including providing insight into the different processes as it relates to the single audit as well as the financial audit. This session will also emphasize incorporating schedules and checklists into your monthly and year-end close process which can then be provided to your auditor as part of your PBC (Prepared By Client) list.


Attendees will:

  • Identify the tasks involved in preparing for an audit
  • Recognize schedules and checklists for the monthly and year-end close-out process

The federal government awards grants and other assistance awards for more than $500 billion annually. With those funds come a host of compliance obligations, regulatory and statutory requirements, and the potential for audits, enforcement actions, and investigations. This presentation will provide an overview of the rules of the road for federal grantees – the OMB Uniform Guidance – with an emphasis on those areas that create the most headache for tribes and create regulatory risk. This session will also introduce some of the types of federal grant programs most relevant to tribes, including the Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant.


Attendees will:

  • Identify the intent of what is the meaning of the Super Circular
  • List what the potential impacts of your organization are to noncompliance of a grant
  • Name at least two ways you can keep the mandatory disclosure rule and avoid harm to your organization

In this section, attendees will hear what tribal preparations are needed for the final months of participation in a federal grant. The topics covered include a suggested timeline to implement at your tribe, what tribes should consider regarding personnel responsibilities, no-cost extensions, fulfilling matching requirements, financial closeouts, and program elements.


Attendees will:

  • Recognize the components of a grant lifecycle
  • Identify components and important issues of grant management and grant close-outs
  • List components in the case study of FEMA to identify problems and solutions that could occur in the grant award and compliance process

This section provides an introduction to the cost principles that apply to tribal governments and other tribal-federal award recipients outlined in the OMB Uniform Guidance. This training will cover general principles governing cost – including costs that require prior approval, direct cost charging, indirect cost groupings and proper allocation bases. It will also identify unallowable costs, how to properly document expenses, and how agencies apply the costs principles as they administer the grant and cooperative agreement.


Attendees will:

  • Identify the concepts central to federal cost principles
  • Distinguish costs associated with direct and indirect costs
  • List cost principles and support answers on direct and indirect costs with citations

This session aims to assist tribal governments in understanding what information they are required to maintain and how having an accurate recording of information not only fulfills the OMB Uniform Guidance requirements but also protects the tribe.


Attendees will:

  • Recall what a “record” is in today’s tribal government
  • Identify federal grant and self-determination record retention time requirements
  • Recognize records a tribe is required to keep to maintain a strong financial management system

This session uses interactive case studies to explore methods for resolving ethical dilemmas. The session covers obstacles to making and carrying out ethical decisions, identifies pitfalls in ethical decision making and includes questions that can help clarify appropriate routes for dealing with dilemmas.


Attendees will:

  • Recall definition of “ethics”
  • Name at least five of the 10 steps in the AICPA’s Ethical Decision-Making Model
  • Identify six pillars of the AICPA code

The OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR § 200) streamlined and consolidated government requirements for receiving and using federal funds. 


Attendees will:

  • Identify the key Uniform Grant Guidance Subparts
  • Distinguish and recognize key aspects in regard to cost principles, record keeping, indirect costs and close out grants

It is crucial for the Tribe to be financially literate to best utilize its resources for the betterment of its people. Financial education efforts are linked to economic incentives. Government accounting standards and principles and how they are applied to tribes will be presented. This session will help leaders understand financial statements, including the statement of net position (balance sheet) and the statement of activities (income statement). This session will also help leaders understand the flow of information included in the financial statements, including required supplemental information and financial statement disclosures.


Attendees will:

  • Recognize the financial statements included in Governmental Funds, Proprietary Funds, and Fiduciary Funds
  • Identify the 2 methods of reporting Component Units

Indirect Cost can inevitably benefit your grant funded programs and organization fiscal health. Understanding these costs and how to manage them will help you prepare accurate budgets for your funding agencies. Most importantly, you will gain a thorough understanding of how Indirect Cost is charged to the programs, how the Tribe spends those dollars, and why it is so important to the Tribe.


Attendees will:

  • Recognize the definition of indirect cost
  • Recall how an indirect cost rate is determined
  • Identify indirect costs and how they are charged to programs

Internal controls are the key to success so an entity’s governing elected officials or board of directors, management and personnel may receive some assurance regarding achievement of objections related to operations, reporting and compliance matters. The objectives are affected by a control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication and monitoring. Fraud prevention is an ongoing cycle involving monitoring, detection, management of cases and learning to prevent further fraud in the future. Learn to recognize and protect finances when possible to avoid being vulnerable and take preventive measures to avoid risk.


Attendees will:

  • Define internal controls
  • Recognize the COSO framework components and definitions
  • List the primary areas of internal controls

This session will help you understand the basic framework of Federal Indian law, including tribal jurisdiction, Indian land holdings, and sovereign immunity. These concepts will be explored through a discussion of economic development in Indian Country.


Attendees will:

  • Recall what the term Federal Indian Law refers to
  • Recognize the different powers of Tribal Sovereignty
  • List what purposes tribal gaming net revenues are to be used for

Corporate finance and tribal finance has many similarities. However, tribal finance and accounting has its own particular characteristics. This session is an introduction to tribal finance and the anomalies associated with tribal finance operations. The objective of accounting is to collect, analyze and communicate financial information to financial statement users for decision-making and to raise and invest funds for their businesses. As the tribal financial and/or accounting officer, one must be as objective as possible and help others understand the financial scene in making political and financial decisions.


Attendees will:

  • Identify the characteristics that an organization may have one or more of to be a governmental organization
  • Recall examples of legally separate entities in financial reporting
  • Recognize the unique aspects of tribes that impact financial management

This session provides an overview of the IRS Division for Tribal Governments and its tribal specific publications that impact tribes, including guidance on Tribal Council member payments, payments to election boards, payments to tribal boards or committees, per capita payments, tribal gaming reporting – tips and winnings, 1099 versus W-2’s, and the Indian Tribal Governmental Tax Status Act. Also reviewed will be tribal government pensions under the Pension Act, and the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act provisions.


Attendees will:

  • Recall W2 and 1099 filings
  • Identify tribal government pensions under the Pension Act as taxable or non-taxable
  • Recognize the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act provisions

This session will explore how the principles of federal Indian law differs in Oklahoma. The legal status of “Indian country,” the organization of tribes and the administration of tribal land will be discussed.  We will touch on the unique history of Oklahoma tribes and the tribal-state jurisdictional relationship and contrast this to national norms.


Attendees will:

  • Recall the unique legal history of Oklahoma tribes
  • Match the discussed tribal cases to their content matter

All tribal nations need to be able to provide accurate, current and complete financial disclosures.  This session will address government funds, proprietary funds, and fiduciary funds. Government fund accounting may include the general fund, special revenue funds, capital projects, debt service, and permanent funds. Proprietary funds (enterprise funds) address the fact that tribes charge customers for the services it provides (external customers, or members/units of tribes). Fiduciary funds are used to report assets held in a trustee or agency capacity. Other accounting fundamentals covered in this session include budgeting, general journal, general ledger, statement of net position, statement of activities, accounts payable, payroll, receipts, cash vs. accrual accounting methods, etc.


Attendees will:

  • List the three bases of accounting and identify which is not used in GAAP
  • Match each fund type as either a Governmental Fund, a Proprietary Fund, or a Fiduciary Fund and what basis of accounting those funds use

Budgets are important to the operation of an enterprise whose budget cycle may include preparation and submission, approval, execution and audit and evaluation. In this course, you will gain an introduction to the budget process and learn elements of a budget cycle. You will learn about a mid-year budget review and year end budget review. Budget tools and a review of a budget worksheet will also be covered.  


Attendees will:

  • Recall the budgeting calendar cycle
  • Match the components in mid-year and year-end budget reviews
  • Recognize budget tools and their levels

The Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA) is a report detailing the federal money spent by each agency during the audit period. This report is a vital piece of information for the auditors in their planning of your annual audit.


Attendees will:

  • Recognize components of the SEFA schedule workpaper
  • Identify how this report is used by federal agencies

Become an Effective Tribal Professional​

  • Who Should Attend
  • CEU and CPE credits available.
  • Earn a Digital Badge
  • Entry-level employees in tribal financial positions.
  • Professionals who need to acquire increased knowledge regarding tribal finance and accounting (i.e. accountants, lawyers, bankers, etc.)
  • Elected tribal officials and leaders who wish to better understand the financial side of a business decision.

The program content is appropriate for entry level employees and those looking to gain an understanding in tribal finance and accounting. For CPE purposes, the knowledge level of the course is "basic". There is no prerequisite education/experience. A pre-test will be shared with program participants by the program administrator after registration and prior to attendance.

In-Person Program

The following CPE Subject Areas are reflected in this program: 7.5 CPE credits of Accounting; 7.5 CPE credits of Accounting (Governmental); 3 CPE credits of Auditing (Governmental); 3 CPE credits of Business Law; 2.5 CPE credits of Finance; 2 CPE credits of Regulatory Ethics; and 2 CPE credits of Taxes. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a total of 27.5 hours of CPE credit. Participants are required to attend and participate in each complete session to receive CPE credit.

Online Program

The following CPE Subject Areas are reflected in this program: 13.0 CPE credits of Accounting; 13.0 CPE credits of Accounting (Governmental); 5.4 CPE credits of Auditing (Governmental); 5.2 CPE credits of Business Law; 3.0 CPE credits of Finance; 3.0 CPE credits of Regulatory Ethics; and 3.0 CPE credits of Taxes. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a total of 45.6 hours of CPE credit. Participants are required to attend and participate in each complete session to receive CPE credit.

The Center for Executive and Professional Development, Oklahoma State University, is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Participants are eligible to receive the OSU Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Digital Badge, which requires program completion to be added to your portfolio. The badge will note the sessions covered and serve as a validation of accomplishments, skills and quality you have learned throughout this program. In order to receive a certificate of completion, the participant must attend at least 90 percent of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

This program has a totally virtual format. The amount of time devoted to completing the program is about five hours per week. Note that there will be zoom sessions each Friday with instructors for the content reviewed for that week.

There are quizzes, short assessments, and discussion posts, throughout the sessions to help participants retain information.

Visit OSU’s program page to view the program agenda.

OSU does not offer discounts for the online program.

If a participant would like to cancel her/his registration less than 10 days prior to the program, you are welcome to send a substitute. A refund is available given notification no later than 11 days prior to the program. If you are cancelling your registration or transferring your registration to a colleague, please contact the OSU Center for Executive and Professional Development at 405-744-5208 or CEPD will send you an email confirming your cancellation and refund if applicable.

For more information on offering some of these programs through webinars or on-site at your organization, please contact the program manager.

Lindsey Ray
Program Manager
294 Business Building

2023 Program Details

Cost of Program

In-Person Program

$1,850 (NAFOA Member) | $2,000 (Non-Member)
Online Program
Registration includes digital instruction, materials, and certificates, one copy of the Financial Reporting and Information Guide for Tribal Governments, and Their Enterprises (Orange Book) as published by NAFOA will be distributed as part of the registration fee to each participant. The in-person program cost also covers breakfast, lunches, receptions, refreshments.


In-Person Program

May 16-19, 2023
The in-person Introductory Tribal Finance & Accounting Certificate Program is 4-day program from 8am-6pm daily. Participants spend 28.50 hours in session.

Online Program
January 9- March 3, 2023
This program has a totally virtual format. The amount of time devoted to completing the program is about five hours per week. Note that there will be zoom sessions each Friday with instructors for the content reviewed for that week.

In-Person Location

OSU Business Building
294 Business Building
Stillwater, OK 74078
Please note: Accommodations are not provided with the program fee. Participants are encouraged to find their own accommodations near the OSU campus.


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