The User's Perspective

June 2010


New GASB Website Offers Wealth of Resources for Users

            The GASB recently relaunched its website, www.gasb.org, with a new design that makes it easier for visitors to navigate the site and to locate the information they are looking for. This article provides an overview of what is offered and where to find it.

            The design centers on a series of nine tabs that run along the upper portion of the site, each with a drop-down menu. In addition, information about recent GASB news and activities is available on the left side of the homepage with the GASB Store and links to other information located just beneath. The right side of the homepage offers links to key information areas including projects, due process, technical issues, information about the GASB, and the visitors’ register.

Board Activities

            This section of the website is designed to allow viewers to keep apprised of the when and the where of the GASB’s public meetings, the meetings of its advisory council, due process-related events, public appearances of Board members and staff, and selected events of the GASB’s constituent organizations.

Projects

            Projects on the GASB’s current and research agendas each have their own page in this section of the website. Each project page includes recent developments, major tentative decisions, articles, contact information for project staff, and work plan information. Many recently issued final pronouncements have pages as well.

            Documents issued for public comment are available for download at no charge through this section. These documents may be accessed by pointing your cursor over the Projects tab and clicking on the first menu item, Documents for Public Comment.

Technical Issues

            Information related to the GASB’s technical activities may be found in this section, which includes both full and summary versions of the GASB’s Technical Plan, resources related to the GASB’s standards on retiree health insurance and other postemployment benefits, summaries and status updates on GASB Statements, Concepts Statements, and Interpretations, and the GASB’s website on Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting.

            Do you have a question about GASB standards or state and local government financial statements? Through the Technical Inquiry System menu item, website viewers may pose questions to the GASB staff by filling out and submiting the online form. This feature gives you access to input on technical matters from the GASB staff. As resources allow, the GASB responds to these inquires in the interests of fostering relations with its constituents.

Education

            This section of the website provides users of governmental financial reports with a variety of resources designed to allow for a better understanding of the GASB’s standards-setting activities and its efforts to support implementation of standards and understanding of the information that results. These resources include plain-language articles, fact sheets, and short video presentations on GASB proposals and final pronouncements. In addition, it includes teaching resources, the GASB White Paper (which describes why governmental accounting and financial reporting is and should be different than private sector accounting and financial reporting), frequently requested materials, and information about upcoming GASB speaking engagements and constituent organization events. A brand new feature, Journal Entries, highlights selected articles from the GASB’s monthly newsletter, The GASB Report.

            The GASB’s plain-language articles are short pieces that explain proposed or new GASB standards using a minimum of technical language. The articles focus not only on what is required, but also on why the GASB established the requirements. The GASB is committed to communicating in plain language with constituents about its standards and standards-setting activities. All of the articles, fact sheets, and publications in this section are available for download free-of-charge.

Users

            The GASB’s mission involves establishing and improving standards of state and local governmental accounting and financial reporting that will result in useful information for users of governmental financial reports and information. This section offers key information for users about the relationship between the GASB and the user community, including past editions of The Users’ Perspective.

About GASB

            In this section, website viewers will find organizational information about the GASB—its mission, vision, and core values, its history and processes, as well as who sits on the Board and on the GASB’s advisory council. Also, visitors may register to be included in the GASB’s constituent database, which helps the GASB focus its efforts to obtain input on its research projects, involve a broader range of constituents in its standard-setting activities, and to target its educational and outreach efforts to the appropriate audiences.

News Center

            The News Center offers the latest news releases issued by the GASB and the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF).

Foundation

            The Foundation link gives the viewer access to organizational information about the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), including its officers and Trustees, corporate governance information, the annual report, and budget information.   The FAF trustees oversee the GASB’s activities.

GASB Store

            Individual GASB publications, annual subscriptions, and electronically based products are available for purchase through the GASB Store. The User Guide Series, which provides a nontechnical introduction to the financial reports of state and local governments and school districts, is also available through the GASB Store.

Visitors' Register

            You will find the Visitors’ Register in the lower right-hand side of the site. Take a few minutes to provide your information for the GASB's confidential constituent database. Sharing this information helps focus the GASB’s efforts to obtain input during the standards-setting process. It also makes you eligible to receive occasional email news updates, be picked for task forces and advisory committees, and participate in the GASB's research efforts.

Additional Information about the GASB website is available in the first

installment of the new website series, Journal Entries.