Introduction to the
International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Board
What is the IPSASB?
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) is the international independent board that develops International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The IPSASB’s operations are facilitated by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
What Are The IPSASB’s Goals And Objectives?
The IPSASB aims to strengthen public financial management and knowledge globally through the enhancement of the quality and transparency of public sector financial reporting by: • Developing high-quality public sector financial reporting standards; • Developing other publications for the public sector; and • Raising awareness of IPSAS® and the benefits of their adoption.
Why Are IPSAS Important?
The financial and sovereign debt crises emphasized the need for
better financial reporting by governments worldwide, and the need
for improvements in the management of public sector resources. The
continuing aftermath of these crises has reinforced these needs.
Citizens are affected by a government’s financial management
decisions. Strong and transparent financial reporting has the
potential to improve public sector decision making and make
governments more accountable to their constituents. The failure of
governments to manage their finances has in the past, had dramatic
consequences, such as the impairment of democracy, social unrest,
and the failure of governments to meet their commitments today and
in the future. These risks are still very apparent. Since 1997, the
IPSASB has developed and issued 38 accrual standards, and a cash
basis standard for countries moving toward full accrual accounting.
Governments that report on a cash-basis do not account for
significant liabilities, such as pensions and infrastructure
development; as a result, the IPSASB encourages public sector
entities to adopt the accrual basis of accounting—which will improve
financial management and increase transparency resulting in a more
comprehensive and accurate view of a government’s financial
position. Many governments, jurisdictions, and international
institutions have already adopted IPSASs— many more are on the road
to implementing the standards.
What is the IPSASB?
The IPSASB consists of 18 members—both from IFAC member bodies and public members— with experience and expertise in public sector financial reporting. With the exception of the Chair, who is remunerated from January 1, 2016 all members are voluntary. Members include representatives from ministries of finance, government audit institutions, public practice, and academia. All members of the IPSASB, including the chair and deputy chair, are appointed by the IFAC Board upon recommendations from the IFAC Nominating Committee. The selection process is based on the individual qualities and abilities of the nominee in relation to the available board position. The IPSASB strives to cultivate members who possess the knowledge, insight, and geographical footprint necessary to best serve the public interest. The IPSASB receives support (both direct financial and in-kind) from: The Government Accounting Standards Board, the Asian Development Bank, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the South African Accounting Standards Board, the New Zealand External Reporting Board, and the governments of Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
How Does The IPSASB Set Standards?
The IPSASB follows a very structured and public due process in the development of all International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS®). This process provides the opportunity for all those interested in financial reporting in the public sector to make their views known to the IPSASB, and ensure that their views are considered in the standard-setting development process. Exposure Drafts (ED) of all proposed IPSASs are developed, usually with the input of a task based group of IPSASB members or a task force also including external experts, and are available for download from the website. Exposure drafts are usually preceded by a consultation paper that explores the subject in detail and provides the basis for further discussion, development, and policy formation. All exposure drafts have open and finite comment periods. Ian Carruthers became IPSASB chair in January 2016, having served as a member since 2010. A complete listing of IPSASB members and their bios can be accessed at www.ifac.org/PublicSector/CommitteeMembers.php For more information on the IPSASB, including all current projects, please visit the website at www.ipsasb.org.
The Governance of the IPSASB
The governance and standard-setting activities of the IPSASB are overseen by the Public Interest Committee (PIC) to ensure that they follow due process and reflect the public interest. The PIC is comprised of individuals with expertise in public sector or financial reporting, and professional engagement in organizations that have an interest in promoting high-quality and internationally comparable financial information.
The Consultative Advisory Group (CAG)
The IPSASB Consultative Advisory Group (CAG) advises the IPSASB on: (a) The IPSASB’s strategy, work program and agenda, including project priorities; (b) Projects, including views on key technical issues or matters that may impede the adoption or effective implementation of IPSASs; and (c) Other matters of relevance to the standard-setting activities of the IPSASB.
The International Federation of Accountants® (IFAC®) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of over 175 members and associates in over 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost 3 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.
ACCA Cert IPSAS course contents The syllabus contains the following topics:
IPSASB An overview of the work of the Board (IPSASB), including its organisation, the characteristics of public sector entities, the relationship between IPSAS® and the corresponding International Accounting Standards (IAS) / International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the purpose of financial statements and any ongoing projects. Financial statement presentation and accounting policy
Develops an overview of:
■ financial statements (IPSAS® 1)
■ cash flow statements (IPSAS® 2)
■ accounting policies, changes in accounting estimates, and errors (IPSAS® 3).
Financial performance Provides an understanding of:
■ non-exchange revenue (IPSAS® 23)
■ exchange revenue (IPSAS® 9)
■ construction contracts (IPSAS® 11).
Accounting for assets and liabilities Delivers teaching around a wide range of topics including:
■ property plant and equipment (IPSAS® 17)
■ intangible assets (IPSAS® 31)
■ investment property (IPSAS® 16)
■ impairment of cash generating assets (IPSAS® 26)
■ impairment of non-cash generating assets (IPSAS® 21)
■ borrowing costs (IPSAS® 5)
■ inventories (IPSAS® 12)
■ leases (IPSAS® 13)
■ financial instruments (IPSAS® 28, 29, 30)
■ contingent liabilities and contingent assets (IPASAS® 19)
■ events after the reporting date (IPSAS® 14)
■ employee benefits (IPSAS® 25)
■ agriculture (IPSS® 27).
Consolidation Delivers training around:
■ consolidated and separate financial statements (IPSAS® 6)
■ interests in joint ventures (IPSAS® 8)
■ investments in associates (IPSAS® 7)
■ translation of financial statements of foreign operations (IPSAS® 4)
■ financial reporting in hyperinflationary economies (IPSAS® 10)
■ disclosure standards and other topics, presentation of budget information (IPSAS® 24)
■ segment reporting (IPSAS® 18)
■ related party disclosures (IPSAS® 20)
■ disclosure of financial information about the general government sector (IPSAS® 22)
■ service concessions (IPSAS® 32).
First-time adoption of accrual-based IPSAS® Delivers training cover the following areas:
■ migrating from cash to accrual basis
■ first time adoption of IPSAS® (IPSAS® 33)
■ change management and the adoption of IPSAS®.