The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is working to improve both the quality and uniformity of financial information reported by public sector entities around the world. In pursuit of this objective, the IPSASB has issued a Consultation Paper entitled Accounting for Heritage Assets under the Accrual Basis of Accounting. The Consultation Paper includes a Discussion Paper, Heritage Assets: Can Accounting Do Better?, recently published by the United Kingdom's Accounting Standards Board (ASB).
Accounting for heritage assets is an area of particular interest for governments and public sector entities worldwide. Many assets of significant cultural, artistic and historical importance and outstanding natural beauty are controlled by public sector entities, including items and sites which are emblematic of particular nations. Diverse approaches to accounting for heritage assets have been developed by different standard-setters worldwide.
"The IPSASB recognizes the need to develop at an international level requirements and guidance on accounting for heritage assets and to harmonize those requirements across national jurisdictions," says IPSASB Chair Philippe Adhémar.
So that it can use its resources efficiently, the IPSASB has decided to benefit from the development work of some national standard setters, where possible, as a starting point in its approach to particular topics. The UK ASB Discussion Paper is a case in point. The proposals in the paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the IPSASB. However, they do suggest potential solutions to challenges in accounting for heritage assets that are likely to be faced in many jurisdictions reporting on the full accrual basis or in the process of migrating to that basis. The IPSASB Consultation Paper provides the international financial reporting community with the opportunity to respond to approaches that are being considered by the national standard setter. Responses received will be considered by the IPSASB as it commences its own due process.
How to Comment
Comments are requested by June 30, 2006. The Consultation Paper may be viewed by clicking here. Comments may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to the attention of the IPSASB Technical Director at +1 (212) 286-9570 or mailed to IFAC, 545 Fifth Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA. All comments will be considered a matter of public record.
IFAC is the worldwide 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's current membership consists of over 160 professional accountancy bodies in 120 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. In addition to setting international public sector financial reporting standards through the IPSASB, IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets ethics, auditing and assurance, and education standards. It also issues guidance to encourage high-quality performance by professional accountants in business.