financial reporting

Taking the Mystery Out of Fund Balance

Municipal officials are often asked to explain to constituents the mystery around unreserved fund balance. Questions abound surrounding this complex topic, especially during the development of the budget and the annual meeting process. To assist the electorate in understanding unreserved fund balance, this article will explain the function of fund balance in government while keeping the citizen perspective in mind.

The GASB’s New Pension Accounting and Reporting Standards

On June 25, 2012, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) approved new accounting and reporting standards for pensions provided by state and local governments. GASB Statement No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, applies to state and local pension plans established as trusts or similar arrangements. GASB Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions applies to governmental employers that sponsor or contribute to pension plans.

Demystifying Impact Fees

The development of land often creates an increased need for capital improvements such as new or improved roads and intersections, water and sewer extensions, and street lighting. New Hampshire towns and cities may charge the developer for these costs in two different ways: off-site exactions and impact fees. This article looks at what impact fees are, how they work, and what has changed over the past year.

Impact Fees v. Off-Site Exactions

Fund Balance: New and Improved

There is probably no single item in a typical state or local government’s financial statements that attracts more attention than fund balance. In February 2009, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued GASB Statement No. 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions. This latest GASB standard will not affect the calculation of fund balance, but will fundamentally alter the various components used to report it.

New Rules for Fund Balance: What GASB 54 Means to New Hampshire Municipalities

The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) recently issued Statement 54, titled “Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions.” A companion article on page 15, authored by Stephen J. Gauthier, director of the technical services center at the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), summarizes the significant changes in the focus, classifications and terminology of fund balance. As he rightly notes, few, if any, sections of a municipality’s financial statements draw as much attention as does the fund balance of the general fund.

Annual Reports: A Town’s Year in Review

By Kimberly A. Hallquist

The annual report is as much of a town meeting tradition as the moderator’s gavel, the old wooden ballot box and the rows of chairs facing the moderator’s podium. Prominently depicted in the 1942 Norman Rockwell painting Freedom of Speech, the annual report plays an important role before, during and after the annual town meeting.

Reporting Tax Abatement Interest to the IRS

Q. When a taxpayer receives a property tax abatement, must the municipality report the interest paid on that abatement to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?

Better Understanding the Financial Statement Audit

For most local governments, the annual financial statement audit is as much a part of the yearly round of public finance as the approval of the operating budget. Despite its routine character, however, the financial statement audit appears to remain something of mystery to most outside the auditing profession. This article will attempt to dispel the cloud of mystery by first briefly reviewing the nature and purpose of the financial statement audit and then examining ten specific points of misunderstanding commonly encountered in practice.

Nature and Purpose

Are You Ready to Implement GASB 45?

By Barbara Reid

The following is a summary of the GASB 45 session presented at the LGC annual conference on November 8, 2007.

Is There a Missing Link in Your System of Internal Controls

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued Statement on Auditing Standards number 112, commonly referred to as SAS 112, in May 2006. SAS 112 will affect all auditees, including local governments—cities, towns, counties and school districts—and is effective for audit periods ending on or after December 15, 2006. SAS 112 defines how auditors will communicate matters related to your entity’s internal controls over financial reporting.

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