Journal Entries

This recurring website feature highlights articles from The GASB Report, the GASB’s monthly newsletter. The current article appeared in the December 2012 issue.

GASB: 2012 Year in Review

While each year at the GASB is marked by a number of significant accomplishments and changes, 2012 was a particularly eventful year. As such, a recap of some of the key events that took place at the Board over the course of the year is provided below.

James M. Williams Retires from GASB

On June 30, 2012, James M. Williams retired from the GASB upon completing his second five-year term on the Board. Mr. Williams joined the GASB on July 1, 2002, and served the maximum 10 years allowed as a Board member.

Robert H. Attmore, chairman of the GASB, in recognizing Mr. Williams’ efforts, said, “Jim’s tenure on the Board is marked by a series of advancements in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments that has brought about significantly enhanced transparency, accountability, and decision usefulness for users of financial reports. His role in seeing those enhancements through—from inception to completion—was substantial and the mark he leaves is indelible. His professionalism, friendship, and keen wit will be missed.”

Prior to joining the GASB, Mr. Williams was a partner and the national director of public sector accounting and assurance services with Ernst & Young LLP. He has participated extensively in professional activities and committee service. Mr. Williams represented the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC) from 1999 to 2002.

Chairman Attmore Announces He Will Retire in June 2013

In September, GASB Chairman Robert H. Attmore announced that he will retire in June 2013. Mr. Attmore has served as GASB chairman since July 2004. His term was due to extend through June 2014.

“Serving as the GASB chair has been a distinct honor, particularly as we’ve worked through some key areas of financial reporting in the public sector,” Mr. Attmore said. “After balancing the GASB’s accomplishments and the ongoing work of the Board with my desire to devote more time to my family in the Albany, New York area, I made the decision to retire next year. While the GASB continues to have important work underway, the next several months will provide adequate time for us to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership,” the chairman added.

Mr. Attmore was appointed to serve as the chairman of the GASB effective July 1, 2004. On July 1, 2009, he began serving a second and final five-year term as chairman. Before joining the GASB, he worked for New York State for more than 23 years, serving as deputy state comptroller and state auditor from 1986 until 2003.

The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) is conducting a nationwide search for Mr. Attmore’s successor.

Two New Members Join the GASB

William W. Fish and James E. Brown were appointed in January by the FAF Board of Trustees. Mr. Fish, a senior municipal securities manager and analyst, was appointed to a term of four years and five months, which began on February 1, 2012. He replaced GASB member Michael D. Belsky, who resigned in October 2011. Mr. Fish served as chief investment officer of Chartis, U.S., a property and casualty insurance subsidiary of AIG, from 2004 until 2010, where he was responsible for managing $80 billion in assets.

Mr. Brown, a governmental auditing industry leader, was appointed to a five-year term which began on July 1, 2012. He succeeded Jim Williams on the Board when he retired on June 30. The recently retired Mr. Brown formerly served for more than 25 years as a partner at BKD, LLP, a large regional public accounting firm, which is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri. There, he was responsible for quality control and training for the firm’s government and not-for-profit practice from 1984 until 2011.

GASB Approves New Pension Statements

In June, the GASB approved a pair of related Statements that introduce substantial improvements to the accounting and financial reporting of pensions by state and local governments and pension plans. Statement No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, addresses financial reporting for state and local government pension plans. Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions, establishes new accounting and financial reporting requirements for governments that provide their employees with pensions. Both Statements are available for download free of charge on the GASB website.

The guidance contained in the new pension Statements will change how governments calculate and report the costs and obligations associated with pensions in important ways. It is designed to improve the decision usefulness of reported pension information and to increase the transparency, consistency, and comparability of pension information across governments.

Statement 67 replaces the requirements of Statement No. 25, Financial Reporting for Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Note Disclosures for Defined Contribution Plans, for most public employee pension plans. Statement 68 replaces the requirements of Statement No. 27, Accounting for Pensions by State and Local Governmental Employers, for most government employers. The new Statements also replace the requirements of Statement No. 50, Pension Disclosures, for those governments and pension plans.

The GASB has made a variety of resources related to the new pension Statements available on its website. Visit www.gasb.org to see a full listing of links to pension resources, which include audio and multimedia podcasts, a plain-language article, a series of fact sheets, and an article discussing various issues related to implementation of the new Statements.

Final Pronouncements Now Available as Free Downloads

Earlier this year, an accounting support fee to fund the annual budget of the GASB was established pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Now that a stable, long-term funding source for the Board is in place, the GASB is able to make final Statements and certain other pronouncements available for downloading at no cost on the GASB website, www.gasb.org.

Available documents include GASB Statements, Concepts Statements, Interpretations, and Technical Bulletins. It is important to note that these documents are posted as PDF files in their originally issued form and have not been modified to reflect any subsequent amendments.