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IPSASB Publishes Consultation Paper on Public Sector Specific Financial Instruments

Jul 27, 2016 | New York, New York | English

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) today released for comment a Consultation Paper (CP), Public Sector Specific Financial Instruments.

International Public Sector Accounting Standards™ do not currently provide guidance on how to account for a number of monetary items that the IPSASB has termed “public sector specific financial instruments.” The lack of guidance leads to reporting that is inconsistent between entities and, as a result, users may not have the information they need for accountability and decision-making purposes.

“For entities responsible for public sector financial instruments, the topics in this Consultation Paper are critically important because users need better information to evaluate the impact of these significant items on government finances,” said IPSASB Chair Ian Carruthers. “This Consultation Paper is the first step in developing consistent financial reporting for public sector specific financial instruments. We look forward to receiving constituents’ views on the accounting approaches identified for each topic.”

The CP includes three main topics related to accounting for public sector financial instruments:

  • Currency in Circulation. The CP considers currency in circulation by reference to the definitions of the elements of a liability and revenue in The Conceptual Framework for General Purpose Financial Reporting by Public Sector Entities (the Conceptual Framework). The key issue is whether the issuance of currency gives rise to a present obligation, with two accounting approaches proposed, which depends on whether a liability should be recognized and, if not, alternatives for recognizing revenue.
  • Monetary Gold. The CP considers which gold assets meet the proposed definition of monetary gold and the appropriate measurement bases for initial and subsequent measurement of such assets. Two accounting approaches are proposed for monetary gold, each linked to the intention of a monetary authority in holding such assets:
    • Approach 1—Measurement at market value linked to an intention to hold gold because it can be traded in the global liquid markets; and
    • Approach 2—Measurement at historical cost when the intention is to hold gold for an indeterminate period of time to support economic stability.
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) Quota Subscription and Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The CP is informed by the Conceptual Framework, and puts forward the IPSASB’s view of the appropriate recognition and measurement of the IMF Quota Subscription, SDR holdings, and SDR allocations.

How to Comment

To access the Consultation Paper and the At-a-Glance document, which provides a summary of the Consultation Paper, or to submit a comment, please visit the IPSASB website at Comments on the Consultation Paper are requested by December 31, 2016. The IPSASB encourages IFAC members, associates, and regional accountancy bodies to promote the availability of this Consultation Paper to their members and employees.

About the IPSASB
The IPSASB develops accounting standards and guidance for use by public sector entities. It receives support (both direct financial and in-kind) from the Government Accounting Standards Board, the Asian Development Bank, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the South African Accounting Standards Board, the New Zealand External Reporting Board, and the governments of Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

About the Public Interest Committee
The governance and standard-setting activities of the IPSASB are overseen by the Public Interest Committee (PIC) to ensure that they follow due process and reflect the public interest. The PIC is comprised of individuals with expertise in public sector or financial reporting and professional engagement in organizations that have an interest in promoting high-quality and internationally comparable financial information.

About IFAC
The International Federation of Accountants® (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. IFAC is comprised of more than 175 members and associates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost 3 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.