Volunteers Needed for OPEB Field Tests
July 25, 2014
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is looking for field testers for its proposed other postemployment benefits (OPEB) requirements. Field testers volunteer time to work through provisions of GASB's latest Exposure Draft (ED), "Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions," that will change accounting and financial reporting requirements for OPEB. Public institutions serving as volunteers will test provisions of the proposal for employers.
Field tests are part of due process activities that help GASB establish effective standards. Such field work helps uncover issues that preparers may have when implementing GASB's new guidance. Public institutions that volunteer have the advantage of practicing implementation while working directly with GASB staff. This experience can help sort out ambiguous or difficult aspects of the guidance and allows volunteers to provide feedback directly to the Board regarding process and challenges. Discoveries can benefit other higher education preparers by providing input to GASB's implementation guidance.
OPEB is considered a form of compensation, like salaries and pensions, which governments provide to their employees in return for work. The most common example of OPEB is postemployment health care. The ED for employers proposes that OPEB be accounted for and reported based on essentially the same approach and methods GASB recently required for pension benefits. The proposal would establish a standard for measuring, recognizing, and reporting liabilities, deferred outflows and inflows of resources, expenses, and disclosures.
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