August 7, 2017 | News

Gwinnett tax services manager earns highest level of finance officer certification

Writer: Curt Yeomans

Published August 4, 2017
Gwinnett Daily Post

A six-year employee of the Gwinnett County Tax Assessor’s Office recently received the highest level of certification available to a government finance officer, county officials announced this week.

Tax Service Manager Lisa Ballouk received Local Finance Officer Level II certification from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. As part of her work to get the certification, she took classes on government accounting and also took on an effort to overhaul the Tax Assessor’s Office website with a goal of making it more user-friendly while offering more information.

“You learn a lot but I didn’t feel overwhelmed,” she said in a statement. “It’s a huge amount of information. It’s a wonderful overview of all the different departments and all the laws the County has to abide by. It gives you a true understanding of governmental fund accounting.”

Ballouk is part of a small circle within Gwinnett County government because there have only been 11 county employees who have attained Level II certification from the Carl Vinson Institute.

Although she has been in the Tax Assessor’s Office for six years, she has been an employee of Gwinnett County government for 11 years. In her current role, she manages the Tax Assessor’s Office’s call center and service county.

She also manages teams that are tasked with maintaining the integrity of assessment data records, and with keeping a handle on deeds, plats, ownership changes, property exemptions and properties that located in community improvement districts.

As part of her certification coursework, she took classes on subjects such as revenue administration, internal controls, budget preparation and government accounting.

“Government finance is unlike any other accounting,” Gwinnett County Chief Appraiser Stewart Oliver said in a statement. “Government provides such a variety of services, and the rules are complex enough to make government financing an extremely challenging field. Lisa took on that challenge and mastered it, which will benefit the taxpayers of Gwinnett County. We’re very proud of her.”