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IPSAS 40, Public Sector Combinations, Improves Reporting of Government Restructurings

Jan 31, 2017 | New York, New York | English

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board® (IPSASB®) today issued a new accounting standard—IPSAS 40, Public Sector Combinations. IPSAS 40 provides the first international accounting requirements that specifically address the needs of the public sector when accounting for combinations of entities and operations.

Public sector combinations—for example, reorganizations of government departments or restructurings of municipalities—occur frequently. In the public sector, these transactions raise different accounting issues from those encountered in the private sector.

“In the past, governments either had to develop their own approach for combinations, or refer to private sector accounting standards. Yet our stakeholders have told us that these private sector standards are not suitable for the public sector,” said IPSASB Chair Ian Carruthers. “IPSAS 40 responds to our stakeholders’ concerns, and fills an important gap in the IPSASB’s literature. Governments now have appropriate, public sector-specific requirements they can apply. This ensures they can provide users of financial statements with relevant information about combinations.”

IPSAS 40 recognizes two types of public sector combinations: amalgamations and acquisitions. By contrast, International Financial Reporting Standards, used by private sector entities, treat all combinations as acquisitions, which requires obtaining fair value information. Amalgamations, which are much more common in the public sector, do not require this information. The accounting requirements for amalgamations in IPSAS 40 are based on existing information, which enables public sector entities to avoid unnecessary valuation costs, while still meeting users’ needs.

IPSAS 40 applies from January 1, 2019, with earlier adoption encouraged. To help governments understand the new requirements, IPSASB staff have developed an At-a-Glance summary and an introductory webinar.


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

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.