NEWS RELEASE 05/05/00

GASB Publishes Guide to Implementing New Financial Statements


Norwalk, CT, May 5, 2000—The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has issued an Implementation Guide to help the preparers and auditors of state and local government financial statements understand and apply the provisions of GASB Statement 34, Basic Financial Statements-and Management's Discussion and Analysis-for State and Local Governments.

The Implementation Guide is the centerpiece of the GASB's extensive efforts to assist governments with the preparation of the new financial statements required by Statement 34. That Statement, issued in June 1999, is one of the most comprehensive standards in the history of governmental accounting. All state and local governments will implement Statement 34 during the next two to four years.

"Throughout the process of developing these important improvements in financial reporting, the Board was fully committed to providing meaningful assistance to governments as they implement the changes," said GASB Chair Tom L. Allen. "Since the adoption of Statement 34, the GASB has been working diligently to make the transition period as smooth as possible."

This timely guide includes nearly 300 questions and answers developed by the GASB staff with the assistance of a 36-member advisory group. The guide also includes more than 50 illustrative financial statement exhibits, 10 "how-to" exercises, and the complete standards section of Statement 34.

The question-and-answer section of the guide addresses all aspects of Statement 34 and features dozens of questions about capital assets, depreciation, and the modified approach to reporting infrastructure. Several questions and related illustrations provide guidance with regard to alternatives that may be available to governments in meeting certain display or disclosure requirements in the Statement.

The guide includes sample financial statements for a state government, a municipal government, and an independent school district. The municipal statements include a complete illustrative management's discussion and analysis and selected note disclosures.

The "exercises" section offers practical, step-by-step suggestions on how to comply with some of the requirements of Statement 34, including:

  • Calculating composite depreciation rates 
     
  • Applying group depreciation to infrastructure assets at transition and in subsequent years 
     
  • Calculating net asset balances for governmental activities 
     
  • Reporting internal service fund balances and results 
     
  • Determining major funds 
     
  • Reconciling fund financial statements to government-wide financial statements 
     
  • Indirectly determining direct-method cash flows 
     
  • Estimating historical cost using current replacement cost 
     
  • Calculating weighted-average age of infrastructure assets at transition 
     
  • Determining major general infrastructure assets
In addition to the Implementation Guide, the GASB members and staff have spoken about Statement 34 at more than 100 conferences and meetings across the country in the 10 months since the Statement was approved. A schedule of future speaking engagements can be found at the GASB's website Calendar. The GASB's other implementation efforts also include the development of a series of guides to government financial statements written especially for the users of financial statement information. Publication of the first of these guides is expected later this spring.

The GASB is the independent private-sector 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 state and local government financial statements, users of those statements, and members of the academic community. More information about the GASB can be found at this web site.

Copies of the Implementation Guide (GQA34) can be obtained from the GASB Order Department by telephone (800-748-0659), e-mail (gasbpubs@gasb.org), or mail (401 Merritt 7, PO Box 5116, Norwalk, CT 06856-5116).