New standard guides public-private partnership disclosures

The change is meant to ensure federal government accountability.

Federal reporting entities must make new disclosures about public-private partnerships on general-purpose financial statements under recently issued guidance from the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.

The board's Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards 49, Public-Private Partnerships: Disclosure Requirements, established a definition of a public-private partnership.

The standard identifies risk-based characteristics that need to exist before considering the partnership arrangement or transaction for disclosure. If these characteristics and other criteria are met, the standard requires disclosure of quantitative and qualitative information. The information is intended to assist users in understanding the nature of public-private partnerships, including:

  • The relative benefits/revenues received in exchange for the government's consideration.
  • The contractual terms governing payments to and from the government.
  • Related risks to the government, including those deemed remote.

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