The Transparency Stars program recognizes government entities that further their transparency efforts by providing clear and meaningful financial information through documents, visualizations and other formats.

The Transparency Stars program features:

  • A streamlined application process. A short web form enables you to submit applications with minimal data entry and a few mouse clicks. Various types of software can be used to meet program requirements. The Comptroller’s office does not partner with or endorse vendors for the Transparency Stars program.
  • Adaptability. You can apply for one or more Stars:
  • Honorary distinction. The program recognizes great breadth and depth in the information presented for each specific Transparency Star awarded, making each star a prestigious achievement. The Stars stand on their own and are not awarded along a continuum or with an expectation that entities should be attaining six out of six stars.

There are no application deadlines for Transparency Stars.

Transparency Stars are granted and maintained on an ongoing basis. The Comptroller's staff conduct regular reviews of each awardee and may revoke an award should they determine an awardee's transparency information no longer meets the criteria or is no longer in keeping with the program's goals and intent.

Overview of Requirements

Below is an overview of the Transparency Stars criteria. Please also review the detailed guidelines for the area(s) for which you would like to apply.

Page or Section of Website

Provide a page or subsection within the finance or transparency section of your website to show how your entity has made efforts to open its books and present information in a user-friendly, understandable format.

The page or website section should include a general narrative overview of the transparency area and other pertinent items. This page, and all items within, should be accessible by no more than three clicks from your entity's home page.

Transparency Area Summary

Post a summary table or listing separately from audits and financial reports and provide citizens with a short list and narrative overview of facts or figures for your entity's activities in this transparency area. You may optionally include a list of terminology on your page for any unfamiliar words or phrases in your summary, as well as comparisons with benchmarks or historical figures as appropriate. The Comptroller's office provides a form in the Optional Tools sidebar on each Star’s webpage to help you post this information to your website.


Post at least two charts or interactive visual tools providing a snapshot of your local government's activities for this transparency area. The Comptroller's office prescribes requirements for the charts — for example, a time trend going back at least five years — and provides templates you can use. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself or linked directly and must be — like all the required information on the transparency page or section — easy to view and interpret. Note, all linked visuals need to be labeled according to the criteria provided on each Star's webpage.


Post documents specific to each transparency area, in addition to the sponsoring entity's audits and annual financial reports. Pertinent documents vary by transparency area, but in general, post documents for the last five fiscal years, or going back to the entity's first year if the entity is younger than five years.

Downloadable Data

Make at least two downloadable datasets available. The Comptroller's office prescribes the general topic areas datasets must focus on — for example, check register data going back at least three fiscal years (i.e., 36 months). Additionally, as applicable, datasets should be available in a spreadsheet or other machine-readable format that's searchable and conducive to analysis.

Other Information

Applicants must make contact information clearly accessible on their sites and must also link their transparency information to the Comptroller of Public Accounts Transparency website. Additionally, applicants should link to any other applicable content, including reference information, such as GASB statements pertaining to the transparency area under consideration.