IPSASB Issues Consultation Paper on Reporting on the Long-Term Sustainability of Public Finances

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    Nov 24, 2009
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    IPSASB Issues Consultation Paper on Reporting on the Long-Term Sustainability of Public Finances

    There is a growing understanding that future generations of taxpayers will have to deal with the fiscal consequences of current government policies. Concerns about the ability of governments to meet future service delivery and financial commitments for health, pensions, debt-servicing, and other obligations have long existed, but have increased in the current economic environment. Uncertainty over the long-term financial consequences of government interventions, including the bailouts and stimulus packages that have characterized the global financial crisis, has added another dimension to concerns over the long-term sustainability of public finances in many countries.

    The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has just published a Consultation Paper, Reporting on the Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability of Public Finances. It seeks views on how information on the long-term sustainability of government programs, increasingly available in many jurisdictions, may complement information available in traditional financial statements, thereby increasing transparency and enhancing accountability and decision making.

    "The need for understandable information on the long-term sustainability of all governmental programs has become increasingly apparent from the work that the IPSASB has carried out in developing its own public sector conceptual framework and on accounting for social benefits," says Mike Hathorn, Chair of the IPSASB. "There is a growing awareness that such information can be crucial in allowing citizens to evaluate the scale of the fiscal challenges facing governments, so that the impact on future generations can be better understood. This Consultation Paper asks for views on how such information might be reported."

    The IPSASB's project has benefited greatly from the work of a task force, including representatives from governments, audit offices, accounting standard-setters, statistical accountants, and international organizations. Projects recently undertaken by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United States Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board have been particularly valuable.

    The Consultation Paper is available to download free of charge from the IFAC website (www.ifac.org/Guidance/EXD-Outstanding.php). The IPSASB encourages IFAC members, associates, and regional accountancy bodies to promote the availability of this Consultation Paper to their members and employees. 

    About IFAC
    IFAC (www.ifac.org) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 159 members and associates in 124 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.


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