GASB’s new standard governing financial reporting for state and local government pensions will be implemented as scheduled after the board voted unanimously not to delay the implementation date.
As a result of the vote, the requirements of Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions, will still go into effect for periods beginning after June 15, 2014.
Stakeholder groups had requested an indefinite delay in the implementation date, according to a GASB news release. They said a delay was necessary to allow time for related auditing procedures to be implemented and were concerned that governments in multiple-employer pension plans would receive a modified audit opinion in their financial statements as a result, according to GASB.
But other individuals, organizations, and stakeholder groups wrote to GASB requesting that the implementation date remain the same.
GASB Chairman David Vaudt said in a statement that the board agreed that the issues raised warranted thoughtful consideration.
“The GASB is committed to doing everything it can to assist governments, pension plans, and their auditors with the implementation of Statement 68, including working with stakeholder groups,” he said. “However, the board does not believe that delaying implementation will benefit its stakeholders in general.”
Newly defined approaches for measuring assets and liabilities issued by GASB will guide the board as it sets accounting standards for state and local governments.
Concepts Statement No. 6, Measurement of Elements of Financial Statements, available at tinyurl.com/ox2fjze, establishes two approaches for measuring assets and liabilities:
- Initial amounts: These are determined at the time an asset is acquired or a liability is incurred.
- Remeasured amounts: These are determined as of the date of each year’s financial statements.
Previously, GASB has relied on approaches for measurement that were established by other standard setters and analogous examples from practice or previous standards. GASB was concerned that inconsistencies could develop if the board relied on concepts established by other standard setters that were not necessarily created with a governmental environment in mind.
Concepts Statement No. 6 also establishes four measurement attributes that define the characteristics of an asset or liability that is being measured:
- Historical cost is the price paid to acquire an asset or the amount received pursuant to the incurrence of a liability in an actual exchange transaction.
- Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.
- Replacement cost is the price that would be paid to acquire an asset with equivalent service potential in an orderly market transaction at the measurement date.
Settlement amount is the amount at which an asset
could be realized or a liability could be liquidated with the
counterparty, other than in an active market.