On September 25, 2019, Maria Walls, CPA, Beaufort County Treasurer, was awarded Thomson Reuters' Office Holder of the Year award, part of Thomson Reuters Public Sector Champion Awards. The only recipient to be awarded this prestigious honor twice, Public Sector Champion Awards recognize government jurisdictions and officials that have achieved excellence in planning, leadership, and service.
As Treasurer, Ms. Walls serves as the County's chief banker and investment officer, charged with the responsibility of investing funds that are not needed for immediate expenditure. Treasurer Walls was selected from Thomson Reuters government customers worldwide for her successful implementation of several technology and data initiatives designed to improve investment results.
"The Thomson Reuters Public Sector Champion Award winners are selected each year via a nomination process open to our customers," said Joe Jackson, Senior Vice President, Government, Tax and Accounting Professionals at Thomson Reuters. "We receive nominations from across the nation and those nominations are reviewed by a panel of association professionals to determine the winners. The outstanding achievements of each winner make our communities better and stronger."
The Treasurer's Office had utilitzed the services of a financial advisor to make investment decisions for decades. Upon taking Office, Treasurer Walls began reviewing the efficiency and performance of the relationship. That fiscal year had ended with general fund investment earnings of $425,673. For a County as large as Beaufort, Treasurer Walls believed there were opportunities for improvement.
Beginning in fiscal year 2017, Treasurer Walls transformed the Office's investment strategy by establishing a formal investment policy and a liquidity management plan; working closely with the County's bank and three+one advisors.
"Our goal is to make sure every dollar is working, but we are limited in what we can invest in so we really had to look at it from different angle," said Treasurer Walls. Deviating from historical practices, rather than use a traditional investment advisor to hand select investments, Treasurer Walls looked to develop a cash flow management plan that was more focused on liquidity needs.
"When cash flows are ineffectively projected, investment earnings will be limited because the County's funds are then underinvested," said Treasurer Walls. "By redirecting our strategic focus to cash flow management, we have become extremely agile and able to identify available funds quickly and invest them. What we used to earn for the whole year, we are now earnings per month."
"I am honored to receive this award and so proud of my team and the work were doing for Beaufort County," said Treasurer Walls. "Through innovative thinking, we have earned a significant amount of money that, hopefully, will equate to fewer dollars coming out of the pockets of our taxpayers."
To learn more, watch Treasurer Walls' presentation of investment earnings to County Council or visit www.beaufortcountytreasurer.com. For frequent updates and information, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
To learn more information about Thomson Reuters' Public Sector Champion Awards, visit tax.thomsonreuters.com/publicsectorchamps.