The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) today released for comment two Exposure Drafts related to its project to develop a Conceptual Framework for the general purpose financial reporting of public sector entities. The Conceptual Framework continues to be the IPSASB’s key strategic objective and is of fundamental importance to the future of global public sector standard setting.
Conceptual Framework Exposure Draft (ED) 2, Conceptual Framework for General Purpose Financial Reporting by Public Sector Entities: Elements and Recognition in Financial Statements, refines the issues highlighted in the Consultation Paper published in 2010 and reflects the IPSASB’s consideration of the responses to that Consultation Paper. Elements are the building blocks from which the financial statements are constructed.
The ED proposes definitions of eight elements: assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, deferred inflows, deferred outflows, ownership contributions, and ownership distributions. It also proposes deferred inflows and deferred outflows as elements in order to distinguish the flows related to the reporting period from flows which relate to another reporting period. Deferred inflows and deferred outflows apply to flows that are provided for use in one or more specified reporting periods and are restricted to non-exchange transactions. The ED also considers how to deal with the uncertainty that can arise over the existence and measurement of elements.
Conceptual Framework Exposure Draft (ED) 3, Measurement of Assets and Liabilities in Financial Statements, identifies the measurement concepts that should guide the IPSASB in the selection of measurement bases for International Public Sector Accounting Standards. The ED stresses the importance of selecting measurement bases that meet the objectives of financial reporting-decision making and accountability. Many assets in the public sector are held for their operational capacity and, therefore, entry values that reflect the cost of purchase are likely to be adopted in many situations.
For liabilities that arise from obligations to provide goods and services to citizens and other eligible beneficiaries, the appropriate measurement basis will often be the cost of fulfillment—that is to say, the current cost of meeting the obligations represented by the liability.
“The Conceptual Framework continues to be IPSASB’s main priority and, when finalized, will underpin IPSASB’s standard-setting activities for many years to come,” said IPSASB Chair Andreas Bergmann. “These two Exposure Drafts propose concepts that deal with key aspects of the financial statements—the elements and the appropriate measurement bases. We strongly encourage all stakeholders to submit comments on the two Exposure Drafts.”
How to Comment
To access the Exposure Drafts and the At-a-Glance documents, which provide summaries of the two Exposure Drafts, or to submit a comment, visit the IPSASB website. Comments on the Exposure Drafts are requested by April 30, 2013. The IPSASB encourages IFAC members, associates, and regional accountancy bodies to promote the availability of these documents to their members and employees.
About the IPSASB
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 United Nations, and the governments of Canada, China, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
IFAC 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. It is comprised of 167 members and associates in 127 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.
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