NEWS RELEASE 04/24/08

GASB Revamps 2008 Technical Plan
Adds Projects on Retirement Benefits, Public/Private Partnerships, and Reporting Units

Norwalk, CT, April 24, 2008—At its meeting last week, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) added three projects to its current agenda—a review of existing postemployment benefits standards, public/private partnerships, and a reexamination of GASB Statement No. 14, The Financial Reporting Entity, including consideration of establishing reporting standards for government departments, agencies, and other units smaller than a complete reporting entity. The additions were announced by GASB Chairman Robert Attmore following discussion among GASB members at the public Board meeting last week.

The added agenda items are as follows:

  • Under the Postemployment Benefits Accounting and Financial Reporting project, the GASB will assess the effectiveness of its existing standards for accounting and financial reporting for postemployment benefits—focusing on a review of existing pension standards in GASB Statements No. 25, Financial Reporting for Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Note Disclosures for Defined Contribution Plans, and No. 27, Accounting for Pensions by State and Local Governmental Employers—and consider whether improvements need to be made.
     
  • Through the Public/Private Partnerships project, the Board will explore whether existing authoritative guidance is sufficient to address the accounting and financial reporting issues resulting from public/private partnership arrangements—such as contracting with private companies to operate or build toll roads or other major infrastructure assets—or if new standards are needed.
     
  • The Reporting Unit Presentations/Statement 14 Reexamination project has two main objectives. First, the GASB will consider developing generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for separately issued financial statements of reporting units that comprise less than a separate legal entity as defined in Statement 14. Second, the GASB will reexamine the requirements of Statement 14, as amended, to determine its effectiveness and to consider whether improvements are needed.

"While it is not common for three projects to be added to the current agenda at once, the GASB staff’s extensive research on these three major projects concluded at approximately the same time. The schedule also allowed the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council to provide timely input on project priorities before this action was taken," said GASB Chairman Robert Attmore. "I am confident that these important projects will result in users of financial reports having access to better information, which will allow them to make better informed decisions about the entities they are evaluating."

In addition, the GASB will be addressing three new practice issues:

  • The AICPA Omnibus project will incorporate accounting and financial reporting standards currently found in the AICPA Statements on Auditing Standards into the GASB’s literature, including the GAAP hierarchy.
     
  • The ARC Adjustment project will consider providing guidance that would allow the annual required contribution (ARC) adjustment to be based on actual amounts associated with the amortization of past contribution deficiencies or excesses.
     
  • The Derivative Instruments Implementation Guide project will provide assistance to practitioners in applying the forthcoming derivative instruments standard.

Research also will begin in two areas:

  • Identifying provisions in Financial Accounting Standards Board Statements and Interpretations, Accounting Principles Board Opinions, and Accounting Research Bulletins of the AICPA, issued on or before November 30, 1989, that do not conflict with or contradict GASB pronouncements, for possible codification into the GASB literature
     
  • Further development of the definition of fair value, the methods used to measure fair value, and potential disclosures about fair value measurements.

About the Governmental Accounting Standards Board

The GASB is the independent, not-for-profit organization formed in 1984 that establishes and improves financial accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments. Its seven members are drawn from the Board's diverse constituency, including preparers and auditors of government financial statements, users of those statements and members of the academic community. More information about the GASB can be found at its website, www.gasb.org.