Alignment of IPSASs and Public Sector Statistical Reporting Guidance
The Task Force is: Ian Carruthers (Chair), John Verrinder, Lindy Bodewig, Marta Abilleira, Sagé de Clerck, Thomas Muller-Marques Berger, Tim Youngberry and Andre Schwaller, Bruno Fabrício Ferreira da Rocha and Karen Sanderson.
This project will involve an analysis of the differences between the revised Government Finance Statistics Manual 2008 (GFSM 2008) and pronouncements in the IPSASB Handbook of International Public Sector Accounting Pronouncements and an evaluation of the extent to which further harmonization between statistical reporting guidance and IPSASs might be feasible. The project will also involve the development of an illustrative Chart of Accounts that could facilitate compilation of reports based on the statistical reporting guidance and IPSASs and an evaluation of whether amendments should be made to IPSAS 22, Disclosure of Financial Information about the General Government Sector in the light of changes to System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA 2008) and updated GFSM and European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA 95).
A continuing emphasis on harmonization with statistical accounting is a component of the IPSASBs theme of public sector critical projects. The project will reinforce awareness of the linkage between statistical reporting guidance and IPSASs. Development of an illustrative Chart of Accounts would be an important contribution to the IPSASB’s strategic theme of Outreach and Adoption and would strengthen the likelihood of adoption of IPSAS by governments. The IPSASB has a standard related to this project. IPSAS 22 prescribes disclosure requirements for governments which elect to present information about the general government sector (GGS) in their consolidated financial statements. IPSAS 22 was issued in December 2006 and has not been revised for changes to IPSASs and changes to statistical reporting guidance.
Issues the project needs to take into consideration include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- Development of the broad description of relationships between accounting standards and statistical reporting guidance in time for inclusion as an Appendix in the revised GFSM and as a note for countries applying ESA;
- To ascertain the nature and extent of differences between IPSAS and statistical accounting guidance by updating the matrix that formed the core of the 2005 Research Report, IPSASs and Statistical Bases of Financial Reporting: An Analysis of Differences and Recommendations for Convergence;
- Analysing the extent to which the remaining areas of difference can be addressed, including whether there is further scope for harmonization between statistical reporting guidance and IPSASs;
- To consider whether IPSAS 22 is still robust in the light of the revisions to the GFSM; and
- To ascertain whether development of a Chart of Accounts that can be applied to both IPSAS and GFSM/ESA is feasible.
Task Force progress / Board discussions to date
June 2014:Task Force meeting held. Task Force Members reviewed (a) a draft paper on processes to give effect to the IPSASB’s approved policy considering differences between IPSASs and GFS reporting guidelines; and (b) a tracking table that shows differences between IPSASs and GFS guidelines and highlights areas where an IPSAS policy choice allows alignment. The Task Force decided on a due diligence review of differences, to ensure that there is a comprehensive record of all differences identified in the original 2004 matrix and their resolution. The process going forward will include monitoring of IPSASB projects’ progress on addressing differences and related decisions with alignment implications.
December 2013: The IPSASB heard back from the Alignment Task Force on progress made since the IPSASB’s review of responses to the Consultation Paper IPSASs and Government Finance Statistics Reporting Guidelines. The IPSASB then:
(a) Approved a policy paper, Process for Considering GFS Reporting Guidelines during Development of IPSASs;
(b) Decided that new projects with scope to reduce unnecessary differences between IPSASs and GFS reporting guidelines should be integrated into the list of projects included in the 2014 work plan consultation;
(c) Noted that where the IPSASB’s existing projects provide scope for alignment this should be considered by the staff involved; and
(d) Decided that development of guidance on managing differences will need to be considered in light of the IPSASB’s strategic deliberations with respect to its involvement with implementation guidance.
Next steps are for the policy paper to be finalized and issued, and a method to track progress on addressing differences to be developed, as envisaged by the policy paper.
September 2013: Task Force meeting held. Task Force Members reviewed three draft papers on (a) the IPSASB’s policies and process when considering differences between IPSASs and GFS reporting guidelines; (b) guidance on differences between IPSASs and GFS guidelines and ways to manage them; and, (c) possible next steps on IPSAS 22, Disclosure of Financial Information about the General Government Sector. Next the Task Force will develop the papers for the IPSASB’s December meeting.
June 2013: The IPSASB reviewed responses on the Consultation Paper (CP), IPSASs and Government Finance Statistics Reporting Guidelines. Based on that review, the IPSASB decided to ask the Task Force to (a) refine Table 2, (b) develop proposals on guidance (choice of options, and development of integrated Charts of Accounts), and (c) develop proposals for the IPSASB’s 2014 work plan consultation (GFS difference reductions, approach to considering options that reduce differences, during development of IPSASs, and future of IPSAS 22).
September 2012: The IPSASB approved the Consultation Paper (CP), IPSASs and Government Finance Statistics Reporting Guidelines. The CP will be issued in October, with comments due by March 31, 2013.
June 2012: The IPSASB reviewed a draft consultation paper on IPSASs and Government Finance Statistics reporting guidelines and approved, in principle, a revised version, which was developed during the meeting in response to members’ feedback. The “in-principle approval” related to the basic structure, overall direction, and consultation focus of the paper.
March 2012: Task Force meeting held. The Task Force reviewed a draft consultation paper, and discussed (a) IPSAS 22, Disclosure of Financial Information about the General Government Sector; (b) usage of IPSAS asset/depreciation information for Government Finance Statistics (GFS) reporting; (c) support for “dual use” Charts of Accounts that generate both IPSAS and GFS information; and (d) IPSASB procedure changes that could better support alignment.
December 2011: The IPSASB provided provisional sign-off on the draft Appendix for inclusion in the GFS Manual, which describes linkages between IPSASs and statistical accounting guidance. The IPSASB also reviewed a draft structure for the planned consultation paper, and identified future alignment work for possible inclusion in the IPSASB’s work plan.
November 2011: Task Force meeting held. The Task Force reviewed progress and discussed papers for the upcoming IPSASB meeting. Three documents were reviewed and revisions identified: a draft structure for the planned consultation paper, a draft GFS Manual Appendix on linkages between IPSASs and statistical accounting guidance; and a summary table showing progress and status of alignment issues.
September 2011; Task Force meeting held. The Task Force revised a summary of key differences between IPSASs and statistical reporting guidance in order to classify them in terms of their resolution and future scope to resolve; discussed inputs for the GFSM Appendix; and, planned the project’s next steps.
August 2011: Final IPSASB approval for the Project Brief received. Revisions prior to final approval included a revised project name; Alignment of IPSASs and Public Sector Statistical Reporting Guidance.
July 2011: Task Force teleconference discussed development of a GFSM Appendix on the relationship between IPSASs and statistical reporting guidance (GFSM Appendix),
June 2011: The IPSASB tentatively approved a Project Brief, Government Financial Statistics. The IPSASB identified the issues above as relevant to this project. The following four goals were identified as project components.
- To develop a broad description of relationships between accounting standards and statistical reporting standards for inclusion in the updated GFSM;
- To provide a review of the implications of revised statistical standards on IPSASs;
- To develop an illustrative chart of accounts that could facilitate the compilation of reports compliant with IPSASs and statistical reporting standards and act as a bridge between the two forms of reporting; and
- To update IPSAS 22 for changes to IPSASs and statistical reporting.
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