From the Chairman's Desk
By David A. Vaudt, GASB Chairman
Communicating with Our Stakeholders Survey Results:
What You Told Us, What We’re Doing
Last fall, we asked you—our stakeholders—to participate in a survey to let us know what you think about how we communicate with you—and how we can do it better in the future. Specifically, we wanted to find out:
- Who is using our communications resources?
- Are these the kinds of tools you need?
- Are we providing the right level of information?
- How do you prefer to receive the information?
- When and how often do you want hear from us?
- What could we do in the future that we’re not doing now?
Who Did We Hear From?We had a strong showing from a cross section of financial statements preparers (61 percent of total respondents), auditors (27 percent), and users (12 percent). Across these stakeholder types, the level of experience was high—more than 70 percent in each category had more than a decade of experience.
What Types of GASB Information Interest You?
Given the current types of information we’re now providing, we wanted to know what is of the most interest to you—and what are we not doing that you would like to see. Not surprisingly, almost 96 percent said they want information about new GASB pronouncements, 87 percent want information about new proposals, 70 percent want project information and updates, 55 percent want timely meeting highlights, and 54 percent want to be kept up to date on our research activities. We heard some intriguing ideas about other ways to keep you appraised of what the GASB is working on and what’s coming up. For example, you suggested providing illustrations of the practical application for the more complex GASB standards, offering more information about the Board’s rationale for particular standards, and posting more information on areas the GASB is researching. We’re giving these and other ideas additional consideration, so stay tuned for more on that.
Overwhelmingly, you told us that you want to receive or be notified about Board activities by email and want that information to blend high-level overviews with an appropriate level of technical detail. Just over half of our responding stakeholders said that they would like to receive updates from us as developments occur, while about 40 percent indicated a preference for monthly communications.
How Would You Rate the Usefulness of the Information on the GASB Website?
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
Regarding the GASB website, we were pleased to see that you find it useful and relatively easy to use. A key challenge for us going forward will be to find ways to make visiting our site more valuable and engaging for those who visit less than monthly.
Regarding the GASB website, we were pleased to see that you find it useful and relatively easy to use. Almost 14 percent of those who responded said they visit at least once a week and roughly 42 percent said they visit at least once a month. A key challenge for us going forward will be to find ways to make visiting our site more valuable and engaging for those who visit less than monthly.
What Does this Mean to Us?From our perspective, in the area of communications, the most valuable resource that you share is your time.
Based on what you told us, there are some things we can do right now that will make an impact and so we’re making some immediate changes. For starters, to keep you better informed on the projects coming up for Board discussion, we’ll be including in the GASB Outlook a list of the topics on the agenda at the next Board meeting—with links to the related project pages.
You said you’d like a graphic representation on our website of what the GASB’s standards address. During the first quarter of 2015, we posted a page that provides a graphic interface for our current agenda and research activities. This could serve as a prototype for our full body of guidance—so this is something we’ll be evaluating.
Striking the correct balance between costs and benefits has always been top of mind at the GASB—and through the survey, you let us know it is for you, too. Like our sister standards setter, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, we will soon begin issuing documents designed to provide insight into the cost-benefit balance that we strike on major new standards. Look for the first document later this quarter with the issuance of our final standards on Other Postemployment Benefits or “OPEB”.
We're developing a road map for a longer-range plan of continuous improvement. We’re continuing to examine what we heard and are beginning to prioritize and identify logical next steps.
The input you shared is enabling us to develop a road map for a longer-range plan of continuous improvement—and reminds us that change for change’s sake isn’t necessarily a good idea. With this in mind, we’re continuing to examine what we heard and are beginning to prioritize and identify logical next steps.
The completion of the survey doesn’t mean we’re not still eager to hear from you. I always look forward to hearing your ideas. As you’ve heard me say in the past, nothing is off the table if you bring it to our attention.
David A. Vaudt