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Mixed Reviews For GASB

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board got mixed reviews in a recent surv

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board sets rules and standards for federal, state and local government agencies, but a recent report called into question exactly where its authority should lie.

The study, commissioned by the Financial Accounting Foundation, was designed to explore the purpose of financial reporting for government agencies and to determine which body is best suited to oversee those standards. Although the GASB scored highly in several categories, there were some areas that left room for improvement, the study found.

“Many of the disagreements center on the notion of accountability and whether the GASB’s efforts should be more narrowly focused on accounting and financial reporting of historical information or more broadly focused on areas beyond historical financial information,” said the report.

Researchers found support for the concept of the GASB proposing voluntary guidelines, rather than hard-and-fast rules. Those who are involved in GASB standards-setting also reported a preference for a longer approval process allowing for greater stakeholder involvement. When it comes to actual financial reporting from government agencies, however, nearly all of those surveyed for the report said that timeliness could be greatly improved.