The IPSASB develops accounting standards and guidance for use by public sector entities. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IPSASB are facilitated by IFAC. The IPSASB receives support (both direct financial and in-kind) from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the South African Accounting Standards Board, and the governments of Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
The IPSASB aims to enhance the quality and transparency of public sector financial reporting by:
- Establishing high-quality standards for use by public sector entities;
- Promoting the acceptance, and the international convergence to, IPSASs;
- Providing comprehensive information for public sector financial management and decision making; and
- Providing guidance on issues and experiences in financial reporting in the public sector.
The IPSASB follows a very structured and public due process in the development of all International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs). This process provides the opportunity for all those interested in financial reporting in the public sector, including those preparers and users directly affected by the IPSASs, to make their views known to the IPSASB, and ensure that their views are considered in the standard-setting development process.
- Exposure Drafts (ED) of all proposed IPSASs are developed, usually with the input of a task force or project advisory panel, and are available for download from the website. Exposure drafts are usually preceded by a Consultation Paper that explores the subject in detail and provides the basis for further discussion, development, and policy formation. All Exposure Drafts have open and finite comment periods.
- Comments received as a result of the exposure draft process are considered by IPSASB members, and are publicly available on the IPSASB website. If changes to the ED are made after the initial exposure, the IPSASB re-exposes the document for review and comment.
- Approval of exposure drafts, re-exposure drafts, and IPSASs are made by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the IPSASB members.
Since 1997, the IPSASB has developed and issued a suite of 31 accrual standards, and a cash-basis standard for countries moving toward full accrual accounting. Governments that report on a cash-basis do not account for significant liability, such as pensions and infrastructure development. The IPSASB encourages public sector entities to adopt the accrual basis of accounting—which will improve financial management and increase transparency resulting in a more comprehensive and accurate view of a government’s financial position. Many governments, jurisdictions, and international institutions have already adopted IPSASs—many more are on the road to convergence.