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Updated GASB Analysts' Guide Released

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has released an updated guide to h

New pension accounting standards from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board are scheduled to take effect soon, and to help businesses, investors and the public understand the changes, the board has released an analyst guide.

The "Analysts' Guide to Governmental Financial Statements" is the third such guidebook published by the GASB this year. It contains examples of government financial statements and disclosure notes, as well as examples of management discussions and analyses.

"Analysts tend to be frequent users of governmental financial statements and they rely heavily on the reported financial information for decision-making or assessing accountability," said GASB Chairman Robert H. Attmore. "This comprehensive guide will help them better understand the information that can be found in those financial statements and will show how basic analytical techniques can be applied to assess financial position, liquidity, long-term solvency, fiscal capacity, and risk exposure."

The original edition was published in 2001. The new revisions include all the GASB standards updates that have gone into effect since then, including the new pension accounting guidelines.

The United States isn't the only place address pension accounting weaknesses. The Confederation of British Industry recently called on the U.K. government to modify corporate pension accounting rules to prevent low bond yields from pushing up costs.