financial reporting

So You Think GASB 45 Doesn’t Apply to Your Town?

State and local governments historically have provided health and life insurance coverage to retirees as a benefit to help in recruiting and retaining qualified employees. Over the past several years these costs have been escalating well beyond inflation and cost of living increases. Because the costs associated with these other post-employment benefits (OPEBs) are not recognized until actually paid, a potentially huge unfunded liability exists for the future costs of these benefits to employers for past and current employees.

Public Sector Audit Committees

A crucial but often overlooked component of an effective internal control framework is the audit committee. Although management is primarily responsible for making sure that the necessary controls are in place to achieve organizational objectives, the governing body ultimately must ensure that management is fulfilling this responsibility. The most effective means of oversight is the audit committee, which helps the governing body oversee the audit of financial statements, ensure that the auditor is independent of management, and address control and compliance weaknesses.

Recognizing Indicators of Fraud

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the national professional organization for certified public accountants. One of the objectives of the AICPA is to adopt uniform standards for CPA’s to follow during the conduct of an audit. Effective in 2003, the AICPA issued Statement on Auditing Standard 99 (SAS 99) addressing the auditor’s responsibility to consider fraud in a financial statement audit.

GASB Statement 45 and Its Impact on Your Financial Statements

After implementing the new financial reporting model prescribed in Statement 34 by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), many municipalities and school districts thought they were home-free in terms of financial statement changes. However, one area not addressed at the time of GASB Statement 34 implementation was the issue of reporting certain employment benefits other than pensions. In 2004, the GASB issued Statement 45 Accounting and Financial Reporting for Post-employment Benefits Other Than Pensions, requiring that these benefits be reported on an accrual basis.

New Municipal Financial Data Tool Enables Historic Comparison

By Betsy McClain

Municipal managers and policy makers have labored over the gathering, analysis and presentation of local government financial data for as long as anyone can remember. Sound historic financial data is the underlying foundation of effective financial forecasting, decision-making and local policy development. Only with a comprehensive understanding of their past and current financial circumstances can municipalities formulate effective policies for navigating the choppy financial waters ahead.