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December 23, 2010

IPSAS Board Issues Conceptual Framework for Public Sector Financial Reporting

Posted by Abdul Khan

As part of its project to develop a conceptual framework for general purpose financial reporting by public sector entities, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) recently issued the attached exposure draft (ED) [here] and four consultation papers (CPs) [here, here, here and here] for comments from interested parties. The ED deals with:

• Role, Authority and Scope of the conceptual framework;
• Objectives and Users of general purpose financial reports (GPFR) in the public sector;
• Qualitative Characteristics of, and constraints on, information included in GPFR; and
• The definition and use of the concept of Reporting Entity and the Group Reporting Entity.

The two CPs deal with, respectively:

• definition and recognition of the elements of financial statements; and
• measurement of assets and liabilities in financial statements.

The conceptual framework would provide the concepts to be applied in developing IPSAS, and should be considered non-authoritative guidance. While the conceptual framework does not override the requirements of existing IPSAS standards, it can provide guidance in dealing with financial reporting issues not dealt with by already issued IPSAS standards (e.g., PPPs).

The underlying concepts of statistical reporting, and the potential for convergence with them, are also being considered by the IPSASB in developing this conceptual framework. The Board is committed to minimizing divergence from the statistical financial reporting models where appropriate.

In what many would see as a positive development, GPFRs are defined more broadly than financial statements. Although financial statements including the related notes remain at the core of GPFRs, the latter can report information about the past, present, and the future—including financial and non-financial quantitative and qualitative information about the achievement of financial and service delivery objectives in the current reporting period (i.e., performance information), and anticipated future service delivery activities and resource needs (i.e., sustainability).

Comments on the ED and the CPs may be submitted online by June 15, 2011:

http://web.ifac.org/my/exposure-draft/comments/create/147

http://web.ifac.org/my/exposure-draft/comments/create/149

http://web.ifac.org/my/exposure-draft/comments/create/150

Download IPSA CP Conceptual Framework; Download IPSA SB ED Conceptual Framework; Download IPSASB Conceptual Framework; Download IPSASB CP Elements & Recognition; Download IPSASB CP Measurement;

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.

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