GASB addresses accounting changes and error corrections

By Ken Tysiac

GASB proposed changes Tuesday to its accounting and financial reporting guidance for accounting changes and error corrections that has been in effect for more than 40 years.

The current requirements for state and local government financial reporting on accounting changes and error corrections were established in the 1970s before being codified in 2010 in GASB Statement No. 62, Codification of Accounting and Financial Reporting Guidance Contained in Pre-November 30, 1989 FASB and AICPA Pronouncements. In researching the standard, GASB identified diversity in application of the existing standards in practice, including issues with selecting the appropriate category of accounting change or error correction.

The proposal is intended to result in information that is more understandable, reliable, relevant, consistent, and comparable across governments. Under the proposal, the following categories of accounting change or error correction would be defined:

  • Changes in accounting principles.
  • Changes in accounting estimates.
  • Changes to or within the financial reporting entity.
  • Corrections of errors in previously issued financial statements.

For each category, the proposal would establish accounting and financial reporting guidance, including guidance on display in financial statements, note disclosures, and presentation in required supplementary information and supplementary information.

Comments on the proposal can be emailed to director@gasb.org by Aug. 31.

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editorial director.

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