NEWS RELEASE 07/14/10

GASB Issues Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of Service Efforts and Accomplishments (SEA) Performance Information

Norwalk, CT, July 14, 2010—After more than two decades of extensive research and constituent outreach, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued its Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information. The purpose of this document is to provide state and local governments with suggested guidelines intended to provide a common framework for the effective external communication of SEA performance information.

The reporting of SEA performance information—indicators of a government’s actual performance in providing services to its citizens—is a valuable complement to the information currently included in traditional financial statements and is an important method of demonstrating accountability. The Suggested Guidelines are intended to help state and local governments that choose to communicate SEA performance information to citizens, elected officials, and other interested parties to do so effectively.

Regarding the issuance of the Suggested Guidelines document, Robert H. Attmore, chairman of GASB, observed “The release of the Suggested Guidelines after more than twenty years of research and outreach is an important step toward the reporting of a more complete picture of how well government officials are managing the financial resources that have been entrusted to them. The reporting of SEA performance information better meets the needs of users of governmental financial information by enhancing both accountability and transparency of those governments who choose to report this information.”

The Suggested Guidelines include what the GASB has identified as the four essential components of an effective SEA report, the six qualitative characteristics of SEA performance information, and three keys to effective communication.

The four essential components identified are purpose and scope, major goals and objectives, key measures of SEA performance, and discussion and analysis of results and challenges. The six qualitative characteristics, as set forth in GASB Concepts Statement No. 1, Objectives of Financial Reporting, are relevance, understandability, comparability, timeliness, consistency, and reliability. The three keys to effective communication are intended audiences, multiple levels of reporting, and forms of communication.
The document is available for purchase at www.gasb.org.


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.