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GASB 34

The final phase of GASB 34 implementation has brought many questions on applicability of the statement to various local governments, particularly if those local governments are not required to issue financial statements prepared in conformance with state and local governmental accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). For all state and local entities that prepare GAAP financial statements the requirements are now applicable. For those not preparing GAAP financial statements the Office of the State Auditor staff has prepared an article talking about the impact of GASB 34 on cities preparing on an other comprehensive basis of accounting. As part of our updating of our GASB 34 pages we have added that article and some other tools.

Additional Tools:

  • Worksheet for calculating amounts for capital assets and accumulated depreciation
  • An informational paper on the potential impacts of GASB 34
  • Crosswalk between the Minnesota County Financial and Accounting Reporting Standards (COFARS) and the IFS general ledger system
  • Discussion of GASB 34 reporting requirements for small cities reporting on other comprehensive bases of accounting.

To access these resources and others, please click on Implementations Tools.

Other Issues

GASB 45

In June of 2004, the GASB issued Statement 45, which deals with accounting and reporting for local government employers that provide other post-employment benefits (OPEB). For some entities the amount of the actuarial liability for these benefits can be significant. The basic reasons behind the GASB issuing these new requirements are:

From an accrual accounting perspective, the cost of OPEB, like the cost of pension benefits, generally should be associated with the periods in which the exchange occurs, rather than with the periods (often many years later) when benefits are paid or provided. However, in current practice, most OPEB plans are financed on a pay-as-you-go basis, and financial statements generally do not report the financial effects of OPEB until the promised benefits are paid. As a result, current financial reporting generally fails to:

  • Recognize the cost of benefits in periods when the related services are received by the employer
  • Provide information about the actuarial accrued liabilities for promised benefits associated with past services and whether and to what extent those benefits have been funded
  • Provide information useful in assessing potential demands on the employer’s future cash flows.

This Statement improves the relevance and usefulness of financial reporting by (a) requiring systematic, accrual-basis measurement and recognition of OPEB cost (expense) over a period that approximates employees’ years of service and (b) providing information about actuarial accrued liabilities associated with OPEB and whether and to what extent progress is being made in funding the plan.

In the near future we intend to add additional guidance on reporting OPEB by Minnesota local governments.

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