GASB issued its Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information. The purpose of this document is to provide state and local governments with suggested guidelines intended to provide a common framework for the effective external communication of service efforts and accomplishments (SEA) information.
GASB said the reporting of SEA performance information—indicators of a government’s actual performance in providing services to its citizens—is a valuable complement to the information in traditional financial statements and is an important method of demonstrating accountability. The Suggested Guidelines are intended to help state and local governments that choose to provide SEA performance information to residents, elected officials, and other interested parties to do so effectively.
The Suggested Guidelines include what GASB has identified as the four essential components of an effective SEA report, the six qualitative characteristics of SEA performance information, and three keys to effective communication.
The essential components identified are purpose and scope, major goals and objectives, key measures of SEA performance, and discussion and analysis of results and challenges. The qualitative characteristics, as set forth in GASB Concepts Statement no. 1, Objectives of Financial Reporting, are relevance, understandability, comparability, timeliness, consistency and reliability. The keys to effective communication are intended audiences, multiple levels of reporting, and forms of communication.
The document can be purchased at gasb.org.
FASAB’s Accounting and Auditing Policy Committee (AAPC) issued Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Technical Release (TR) 12, Accrual Estimates for Grant Programs, guidance that the board says provides a cost-effective framework for developing reasonable estimates of accrued grant liabilities.
TR 12 applies to grants that are paid by a federal entity to nonfederal entities. It does not establish new reporting requirements.
The guidance addresses materiality considerations, risk assessment and procedures for estimating accruals for grant programs, including acceptable procedures until sufficient relevant and reliable historical data is available for new grant programs or changes to existing programs. It also provides guidance on acceptable sources of documentation for grant accrual estimates; internal controls, including monitoring of internal controls and validation of grant accrual estimates; training of grantees; and monitoring of grantee reporting.
The TR is effective for periods beginning after Sept. 30, 2010. Early implementation is encouraged. TR 12 is available at tinyurl.com/2wgxx35.
FASAB issued Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) no. 39, Subsequent Events: Codification of Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards Contained in the AICPA Statements on Auditing Standards. The statement incorporates the AICPA’s Statements on Auditing Standards AU section 560, Subsequent Events, into FASAB’s authoritative literature. AU section 560 includes accounting and financial reporting guidance that is not discussed in the authoritative literature that establishes accounting principles followed by the federal government.
The statement does not establish new accounting guidance. It merely incorporates the existing guidance (to the extent appropriate in the federal government environment) into the FASAB standards.
“Incorporating authoritative accounting and financial reporting literature into a single source would more clearly convey the requirements for reporting subsequent events and better enable entities to prepare basic information and required supplementary information (RSI) in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles,” said FASAB Chairman Tom Allen.
Events or transactions that affect the basic information or RSI may occur subsequent to the end of the reporting period but before the financial report is issued. Some of those transactions and events require adjustments to the basic information or RSI while others may require disclosure in the basic information or RSI. SFFAS no. 39 addresses the circumstances that may require adjustments or disclosure.
SFFAS no. 39 is available at tinyurl.com/32gfz22.
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