IFAC Addresses Public Sector Financial Reporting

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) releases for comment an exposure draft (ED) and two Consultation Papers related to its project to develop a Conceptual Framework for the general purpose financial reporting of public sector entities. The Conceptual Framework is the IPSASB’s key strategic objective for 2010–2012 and is of fundamental importance to the future of global public sector standard setting for at least the next 10–15 years.


Conceptual Framework Exposure Draft 1 (CF-ED1), Conceptual Framework for General Purpose Financial Reporting by Public Sector Entities: Role, Authority, and Scope; Objectives and Users; Qualitative Characteristics; and Reporting Entity, refines the issues highlighted in a Consultation Paper published in 2008 and reflects the IPSASB’s consideration of the responses to that Consultation Paper. CF-ED1 proposes that the objectives of financial reporting should be to provide information for accountability and decision-making purposes. It also proposes that the scope of financial reporting should extend beyond the traditional financial statements to include more comprehensive financial and non-financial information.


The Consultation Paper, Elements and Recognition in Financial Statements, identifies alternative asset and liability-led and revenue and expense-led approaches to financial statements and considers the key characteristics of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses. It also discusses whether further elements should be defined and examines approaches to the recognition of elements.


The Consultation Paper, Measurement of Assets and Liabilities in Financial Statements, considers the measurement bases that may be appropriate for the elements that are recognized in financial statements. It discusses historical cost, market value, and replacement cost and then examines deprival value as an approach to select the most relevant measurement basis.


A staff draft, Key Characteristics of the Public Sector, identifies and provides an overview of some of the main characteristics of the public sector that distinguish it from the private sector and, therefore, have a potential impact on the development of a public sector Conceptual Framework. The IPSASB is not seeking comments on this draft at this time. This document will be further considered by the IPSASB in 2011 and, following approval, will be formally exposed for comment.


“The Conceptual Framework provides the set of principles that underpin the IPSASB’s standard-setting activities over the long term,” says IPSASB Chair Andreas Bergmann. "Given the central role that the Conceptual Framework will play in the IPSASB’s future standard-setting activities, I strongly urge all stakeholders to submit comments on this ED and the two Consultation Papers."




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