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Business and Policy Areas
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GASB Requests Input on Financial Statement Disclosures

October 26, 2017

In an attempt to assess the effectiveness of certain note disclosures, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is asking financial statement preparers to participate in a survey.

The survey is part of a GASB pre-agenda research effort to evaluate disclosure requirements that have been in effect for at least three years. Consequently, significant new disclosures related to pension, other postemployment benefits, fiduciary activities, debt, and leases are not within the scope of GASB’s current research.

The objective of GASB’s research activity is to gather feedback on these broad questions:

  • What existing note disclosures are effective or ineffective in providing information that is useful for making decisions and assessing accountability?
  • What concerns exist regarding the application of standards?
  • What is the nature and extent of disclosures that governments currently include in their financial reports that are not specifically required by existing financial reporting standards?

Because disclosure requirements are currently extensive and constituent input is vital to GASB’s standard setting process, NACUBO encourages public institutions to participate in this survey. Specific survey questions can be directed to GASB staff: Pam Dolan or Lisa Parker.  

Background

GASB added the note disclosure project to its research agenda in April 2016 with an objective of assessing whether required disclosures are sufficiently meeting the information needs of governmental financial statement users.

GASB last conducted a comprehensive review of note disclosures in 1997. Since that time, dozens of accounting standards on many topics with extensive guidance, including note disclosure requirements, have been issued.

Existing guidance for notes to the financial statements identifies 17 distinct disclosures (including the summary of significant accounting policies, which itself comprises 13 or 14 required disclosures) that are essential to fair presentation (Codification Section 2300, paragraph .106) and 61 additional disclosures that should be presented if applicable (paragraph .107).  These possible 78 note disclosures are applicable to authoritative guidance through GASB Statement No. 72, “Fair Value Measurement and Application.”

GASB’s pre-agenda research plan is scheduled to conclude in July 2018, when research recommendations will be discussed with the Board.

Contact

Sue Menditto
Director, Accounting Policy
202.861.2542
E-mail