The IPSASB’s objective is to serve the public interest by developing high-quality accounting standards and other material for use by public sector entities around the world in the preparation of general purpose financial reports.
This is intended to enhance the quality and transparency of public sector financial reporting by providing better information for public sector financial management, accountability and decision making. In pursuit of this objective, the IPSASB supports the convergence of international and national public sector accounting standards and the convergence of accounting and statistical bases of financial reporting where appropriate; and also promotes the acceptance of its standards and other publications.
In fulfilling the above objective, the IPSASB develops and issues, under its own authority, the following:
- International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) as the authoritative standards to be applied in the preparation of general purpose financial reports (GPFRs) of public sector entities.
- Other non-authoritative material such as the following:
- The Conceptual Framework establishes the concepts that are to be applied in developing IPSASs.
- Recommended Practice Guidelines (RPGs) applicable to the preparation and presentation of GPFRs to provide guidance that represents good practice that public sector entities are encouraged to follow.
- Studies to provide advice on financial reporting issues in the public sector. They are based on study of the best practices and most effective methods for dealing with the issues being addressed.
- Other papers and research reports to provide information that contributes to the body of knowledge about public sector financial reporting issues and developments. They are aimed at providing new information or fresh insights and generally result from research activities such as: literature searches, questionnaire surveys, interviews, experiments, case studies and analysis.
The official text of the IPSASs and other material is that published by the IPSASB in the English language.
The members of the IPSASB, including the Chair and Deputy Chair, are appointed by the IFAC Board on the recommendation of the IFAC Nominating Committee , with consideration of advice from the Public Interest Committee (PIC). The IFAC Board provides the PIC with a written report and documentation supporting the application of the nomination due process.
The IPSASB has 18 members, of whom no less than three shall be public members. A public member is expected to reflect, and be seen to reflect, the wider public interest. Members may be nominated by governments, IFAC Member Bodies, the Forum of Firms, public agencies, international organizations, or the general public.
The selection process is based on the principle of “best person for the job,” the primary criterion being the individual qualities and abilities of the nominee in relation to the position for which they are being nominated. However, the selection process also seeks a balance between the personal and professional qualifications of a nominee and representational needs, including gender balance, geographic representation, sector of the accountancy profession, knowledge of institutional arrangements encompassed by its constituency, size of the organization, and level of economic development.
IPSASB members may be accompanied at meetings by a technical advisor. A technical advisor, with the consent of the IPSASB member he or she advises, has the privilege of the floor and may participate in projects. Technical advisors are expected to possess the technical skills to participate, as appropriate, in IPSASB debates and attend IPSASB meetings regularly to maintain an understanding of current issues relevant to their role.
The IPSASB may appoint as observers, representatives of appropriate organizations that have a strong interest in financial reporting in the public sector, provide ongoing input to the work of the IPSASB and have an interest in endorsing and supporting IPSASs. Observers are expected to attend IPSASB meetings regularly. They have the privilege of the floor, and may also participate in projects. Observers are expected to possess the technical skills to participate fully in IPSASB debates. The IPSASB will review the composition and role of observers on a periodic basis.
IPSASB members and technical advisors are required to sign an annual statement declaring they will not submit to undue influence, whether financial or otherwise, which might impair their ability to serve or act as a member or technical advisor with independence, integrity and in the public interest. Nominating organizations of members of the IPSASB and the employing organization of the chair of the IPSASB (as applicable) are asked to sign similar independence declarations.
The Chair of the IPSASB Consultative Advisory Group (CAG) may attend IPSASB meetings, or appoint a representative of a CAG member organization to attend. The Chair of the IPSASB CAG, or appointed representative, has the privilege of the floor at IPSASB meetings.
Members of the PIC have the right to attend, or be represented at, all meetings.
The IPSASB Chair
The IPSASB Chair is selected by the Nominating Committee, with consideration of advice from the PIC, and recommended to the IFAC Board for its approval.
Where the IPSASB Chair is a remunerated position, IFAC holds a contract for service with the Chair as part of IFAC’s support of the IPSASB.
The IPSASB Deputy Chair
The appointment as IPSASB Deputy Chair is considered a leadership position in support of the Chair and does not imply that the individual concerned is the Chair-elect. In the event of a vacancy, such as by reason of the incapacity, resignation, removal or death of the Chair, the Deputy Chair shall assume the duties of Chair as acting chair, having full power, authority and responsibility of the role of the Chair to manage the Board’s agenda and work program until the appointment of an interim or a new Chair.
Terms of Office
Each term of office for an IPSASB member shall be for a period of not more than three years, with an intention for approximately one-third of the membership rotating each year. A member may serve consecutive terms, for up to an aggregate of six years.
The Chair ordinarily may serve consecutive terms (as Chair or as a member for one or more terms preceding the appointment as Chair), for up to an aggregate of nine years. In exceptional circumstances, to be specified by the Nominating Committee, the Chair may serve for one additional consecutive term, for an aggregate term of twelve years.
Each IPSASB meeting requires the presence, in person or by simultaneous telecommunications link, of at least twelve appointed members.
IPSASB meetings shall be chaired by the Chair, or in his/her absence, by the Deputy Chair. In the event of the absence of both, the members present shall select one of their number to take the chair for the duration of the meeting, or of the absence of the Chair and Deputy.
Each member of the IPSASB has one vote which can be exercised only by the appointed member. The affirmative vote of at least twelve of those present at a meeting in person or by simultaneous telecommunications link is required to approve or withdraw IPSASs, RPGs, or the Conceptual Framework, and to approve Consultation Papers, strategy documents, and exposure drafts.
IPSASB meetings to discuss the development, and to approve the issuance or withdrawal of standards or other technical documents are open to the public. Matters of a general administrative nature or with privacy implications may be dealt with in closed sessions of the IPSASB; no decisions that would affect the content of the IPSASs and other pronouncements issues by the IPSASB are made in a closed session. Agenda papers for open sessions, including minutes of the meetings of the IPSASB, are published on the IPSASB’s website. The meetings and agenda papers are in English, which is the official working language of the IPSASB.
The IPSASB is required to be transparent in its activities, and in developing IPSASs to adhere to due process, which is set and agreed based on advice of the PIC. The IPSASB provides the PIC with documentation supporting the application of due process for all new or revised IPSASs before their release. The PIC’s consideration of due process may require the IPSASB to take further steps to address concerns regarding the application of due process, if raised.
The IPSASB provides the PIC with documentation supporting the application of due process followed to develop the strategy and work plan and obtains the views of the PIC on whether due process has been followed effectively.
In setting its strategy and work plan, the IPSASB also obtains the PIC’s advice on the appropriateness of the items on the work plan, and on the completeness of the strategy and work plan from a public interest perspective. The IPSASB adjusts its final work plan to reflect the public interest views of the PIC or explains to the PIC how it has taken into account its advice. The IPSASB also discusses progress on its strategy and work plan with the PIC on a regular basis.
The IPSASB issues exposure drafts of all proposed IPSASs and RPGs for public comment. In some cases, the IPSASB may also issue a Consultation Paper prior to the development of an exposure draft. This provides an opportunity for those affected by IPSASB pronouncements to provide input and present their views before the pronouncements are finalized and approved. The IPSASB considers all comments received on Consultation Papers and exposure drafts in developing an IPSAS or RPG.
The IPSASB cooperates with national standard setters in preparing and issuing IPSASs and RPGs to the extent possible, with a view to sharing resources, minimizing duplication of effort and reaching consensus and convergence in standards at an early stage in their development. It also promotes the endorsement of IPSASs and RPGs by national standard setters and other authoritative bodies and encourages consultation with users, including elected and appointed representatives, Treasuries, Ministries of Finance and similar authoritative bodies, and practitioners throughout the world to identify user needs for new standards and guidance.
In developing its pronouncements, the IPSASB seeks input from its Consultative Advisory Group and considers and makes use of pronouncements issued by:
- The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to the extent they are applicable to the public sector;
- National standard setters, regulatory authorities and other authoritative bodies;
- International organizations responsible for the development of statistical bases of financial reporting;
- Professional accountancy organizations; and
- Other organizations interested in financial reporting in the public sector.
The IPSASB will ensure that its pronouncements are consistent with those of IASB to the extent those pronouncements are applicable and appropriate to the public sector.
The objective of the IPSASB Consultative Advisory Group (CAG) is to provide input to and assist the IPSASB through consultation with the CAG member organizations and their representatives at the CAG meetings. The CAG provides advice on the IPSASB’s agenda and work program, including project priorities and timetables, technical advice on projects and advice on other matters of relevance to the activities of the IPSASB.
The IPSASB annual report outlines its work program, activities and progress made in achieving its objectives during the year.
The IFAC Board will review the terms of reference of the IPSASB at least every five years, considering advice from the PIC. The PIC may also on an ad hoc basis provide advice on proposed changes to the terms of reference.
IFAC provides financial, operational and administrative support to the IPSASB and, if applicable, in consultation with the PIC. IFAC does not interfere with the independent decision-making process of the IPSASB as the IPSASB carries out its public interest function under these terms of reference.