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New Accounting Tool Available for Governments to Better Understand Impacts of COVID-19 Interventions

Jul 22, 2020 | English

Today, IFAC and the Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHAW), in partnership with IPSASB, have published a tool for governments and other interested stakeholders to apply best practices in public sector accounting when analyzing COVID-19-related intervention programs.

The COVID-19 pandemic led governments to deploy significant interventions to support individuals, businesses, the monetary system, and specific sectors, including healthcare. In view of the unprecedented scale of these interventions there is an urgent need to understand their full current and ongoing impacts on public finances.

The COVID-19 Intervention Assessment Tool includes:

  • A step-by-step process and assessment tool to help assess, evaluate and inform various types of government interventions related to the pandemic; and
  • An overview of the way it can support the pathway to accrual IPSAS for governments.

“We are seeing another example of where public sector finances are under great stress a result of a major economic shock – but the current pandemic stands out because of its magnitude and global impact. This increases the pressure on countries to improve their accounting infrastructure to support the tough decisions that will undoubtedly be needed,” said Ian Carruthers, IPSASB Chair. “High-quality financial information enhances government decision-making and supports better outcomes for citizens over the medium and longer-term.”

“Governments with accrual accounting information are better positioned to understand the true picture of their public finances,” said Ross Smith, IPSASB Program and Technical Director. “Understanding the pandemic’s impact on government finances is especially important when considering the need and ability to provide for additional interventions moving forward.”

The supplementary report “Impact Assessment and the Pathway to Accrual” provides high-level insights on the IPSAS adoption and implementation process, and the ways in which the Assessment Tool can support this, while emphasizing the importance that IPSAS adoption occurs within the context of broader public financial management reforms.  

About the IPSASB
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) works to strengthen public financial management globally through developing and maintaining accrual-based International Public Sector Accounting Standards® (IPSAS®) and other high-quality financial reporting guidance for use by governments and other public sector entities. It also raises awareness of IPSAS and the benefits of accrual adoption. The Board receives support from the Asian Development Bank, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the New Zealand External Reporting Board, and the governments of Canada and New Zealand. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IPSASB are facilitated by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). For copyright, trademark, and permissions information, please go to permissions or contact

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.