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Jack Torres
Jack Torres

Financial And Management Accounting An Introduction, 4th Edition Repost

Traditionally, the majority of governmental financial information has been maintained and reported in the fund financial statements on the modified accrual basis of accounting or the accrual basis for business-type activities. The recently enacted GASB Statement 34 establishes additional reporting (the governmentwide statements) that represents a major shift in the focus and content of governmental financial statements. Collecting and reporting additional financial information required by the governmentwide statements add to the complexity of financial reporting activities and have significant implications for the traditional focus and basis of accounting used in governmental financial statements. The new governmentwide financial statements consist of a Statement of Net Assets and a Statement of Activities and are prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Thus, revenues are recognized in the accounting period in which they are earned and become measurable without regard to availability, and expenses are recognized in the period incurred, if measurable. Governmental fund financial statements continue to be prepared using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting. Revenues are recognized in the accounting period in which they become available and measurable, and expenditures are recognized in the period in which the fund liability is incurred, if measurable, except for unmatured interest on general long-term debt, which should be recognized when due.1 Proprietary fund financial statements continue to be prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Like proprietary fund financial statements, fiduciary fund financial statements are prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Table 1 summarizes the measurement focus and basis of accounting for each reporting element and type of fund. Table 1. Measurement Focus and Basis of Accounting for Financial Statements Financial Statements Measurement Focus Basis of Accounting Governmentwide Financial Statements Economic Resources Accrual Governmental Funds Financial Statements Current Financial Resources Modified Accrual Proprietary Funds Financial Statements Economic Resources Accrual Fiduciary Funds Financial Statements Economic Resources Accrual GASB Statement 20, as amended by Statement 34, allows a government the option of applying FASB Statements and Interpretations issued after November 30, 1989, except for those that conflict with or contradict GASB pronouncements, to enterprise funds and governmentwide financial statements. The election is made on a fund-by-fund basis; however, consistency in the application within a particular entity fund is encouraged. [back to top]

Financial and Management Accounting An Introduction, 4th Edition repost

For governmental entities to ensure the proper segregation of resources and to maintain proper accountability, an entity's accounting system should be organized and operated on a fund basis. Each fund is a separate fiscal entity and is established to conduct specific activities and objectives in accordance with statutes, laws, regulations, and restrictions or for specific purposes. A fund is defined in GASB Codification Section 1300 as a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with all related liabilities and residual equities or balances, and changes therein, which are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations. Statement 34 modified the structure of two categories of funds used by local governmental entities. Specifically, the new reporting model introduces two new types of funds: Permanent funds (in the governmental fund category). Permanent funds are required to be used to report resources that are legally restricted to the extent that only earnings (and not principal) may be used for purposes that support the reporting government programs. Private-purpose trust funds (in the fiduciary fund category). Private-purpose trust funds should be used to report all other trust arrangements under which principal and income benefit individuals, private organizations, or other governments. The new model eliminates expendable and nonexpendable trust funds to focus fiduciary reporting on resources held for parties external to the reporting government: individuals, private organizations, and other governments. Fiduciary funds, therefore, cannot be used to support the government's own programs. With the incorporation of these changes, three categories of funds remain: Governmental funds are those through which most governmental functions are accounted for. The acquisition, use, and balances of the government's expendable financial resources and the related current liabilities-except those accounted for in proprietary funds-are accounted for through governmental funds (general, special revenue, capital projects, debt service, and permanent funds). Proprietary funds are used to account for a government's ongoing organizations and activities that are similar to those often found in the private sector. All assets, liabilities, net assets, revenues, expenses, and transfers relating to the government's business and quasi-business activities-in which changes in net assets or cost recovery are measured-are accounted for through proprietary funds (enterprise and internal service funds). Generally accepted accounting principles for proprietary funds are similar to those applicable to businesses in the private sector; the measurement focus is on determining operating income, financial position, and cash flows. Fiduciary funds are used to account for assets held by a government in a trustee capacity or as an agent for individuals, private organizations, or other governmental units. The fiduciary fund category includes pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds, investment trust funds, private-purpose trust funds, and agency funds. Additional information on the governmental fund structure may be found in chapter 5. Major Funds The concept of major fund reporting is introduced and defined by GASB Statement 34 to simplify the presentation of fund information and to focus attention on the major activities of the entity. Rather than require each type of fund to be individually presented, Statement 34 requires the individual presentation of only major funds, with all other funds combined into a single column. This reduces the number of funds presented on the face of the financial statements and directs the focus on the significant funds of the reporting entity. Major fund reporting is applied only to governmental (i.e., general, special revenue, debt service, capital projects, and permanent funds) and enterprise funds. Internal service funds are excluded from the major fund reporting requirements. Fiduciary fund information is presented by type of fund rather than by major funds. GASB defines major funds as those meeting the following criteria: Total assets, liabilities, revenues, or expenditures/expenses of the individual governmental or enterprise fund are at least 10 percent of the corresponding total (assets, liabilities, and so forth) for all funds of that category (governmental funds) or type (enterprise funds). Total assets, liabilities, revenues, or expenditures/expenses of the individual governmental fund or enterprise fund are at least 5 percent of the corresponding total for all governmental and enterprise funds combined. Both criteria must be met in the same element (assets, liabilities, etc.) for both the 10 percent and 5 percent tests for a fund to be defined as major. However, Statement 34 permits a government to designate a particular fund that is of interest to users as a major fund and to individually present its information in the basic financial statements, even if it does not meet the criteria. However, a government does not have the option to NOT report a fund as major if it meets the criteria above. It should be noted that in applying the major fund criteria to enterprise funds, the reporting entity should consider both operating and nonoperating revenues and expenses, as well as gains, losses, capital contributions, additions to permanent endowments, and special items. When the major fund criteria are applied to governmental funds, revenues do not include other financing sources and expenditures do not include other financing uses. However, special items would be included. [back to top]

An integral part of proper accounting procedures rests in issues of controls and begins with internal accountability structures. The AICPA's Statement on Auditing Standards No. 78, Consideration of Internal Control in a Financial Statement Audit: An Amendment to Statement on Auditing Standards No. 55, (which incorporates the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations Report, Internal Control Framework) indicates that the elaborateness of the system of internal controls established within an organization is a matter of judgment on the part of management, with careful consideration for circumstances, such as the size of the organization and the number of personnel available, and the relationship between the costs and benefits of designing and implementing controls. In addition, the nature of internal control is such that even appropriate methods and systems will not guarantee that an entity's objectives will be achieved. Internal control is a process-affected by an entity's board of trustees, management, and other personnel-designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories: Reliability of financial reporting Effectiveness and efficiency of operations Compliance with applicable laws and regulations As a result, internal control consists of five interrelated components: Control Environment Risk Assessment Control Activities Information and Communication Monitoring Control Environment The control environment is established on the basis of the attitude of management toward internal control. It is the basis for all other elements of the system of internal control. AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards No. 78 states that the control environment "sets the tone of an organization, influencing the control consciousness of its people. It is the foundation for all other components of internal control, providing discipline and structure." As such, a management philosophy that is dedicated to establishing a sound business process and operating controls would tend to create a stronger internal control environment than a philosophy that is unaware of or unconcerned with internal controls. The collective effort of various factors affects the control environment, including the following: Integrity and ethical values Commitment to competence Governing board or audit committee participation Management's philosophy and operating style Organizational structure Assignment of authority and responsibility Human resource policies and practices The substance of internal controls is more important than the form because of the risk that controls may not be effectively implemented or maintained. Risk Assessment Risk assessment is the entity's identification and analysis of risks relevant to the achievement of its objectives and forms a basis for determining how the risks should be managed. Risks can arise or change as a result of the following factors: Changes in operating environment New personnel New or revamped information systems Rapid growth New technology New grant programs, building projects, or other activities Organizational restructuring Accounting pronouncements Federal regulations Finance-related statutes Given the dynamic nature of governmental operating environments, the ability to anticipate and mitigate risks from these changes is a key factor in measuring the strength of internal controls. To the extent that the design of controls for new operations is an important aspect of planning efforts, an entity's level of internal control may be enhanced. Control Activities Control activities are the policies and procedures that help ensure that management directives are carried out. Control activities can be divided into four categories: Performance reviews Information processing Physical controls Segregation of duties The application of controls, such as the segregation of duties, is affected to some degree by the size of the organization. In small entities, procedures will be less formal than in large entities. Additionally, certain types of control activities may not be relevant in small entities. Information and Communication Information and communication represent the identification, capture, and exchange of information in a form and time frame that enable people to carry out their responsibilities. Information systems encompass procedures and documents that do the following: Identify and record all valid transactions Describe, on a timely basis, transactions in sufficient detail to permit proper classification for financial reporting Measure the value of transactions in a manner that permits their proper recording in the financial statements Permit the recording of transactions in the proper accounting period Present properly the transactions and related disclosures in the financial statements Senior management should deliver a clear message to employees about their responsibilities and role in the internal control system. Employees should also have a means for communicating the effectiveness and efficiency of these systems to upper levels of management. Monitoring Monitoring is a process that assesses the quality of internal control performance over time. Ongoing monitoring activities include regular management and supervisory activities and other actions taken during the normal performance of management's responsibilities. Further, periodic reviews of internal controls and related activities, performed with internal personnel or external resources, may be undertaken. The nature and timing of these evaluations depend on the effectiveness of ongoing activities and the risk that internal controls are not performing as intended by management. Deficiencies in the system of internal controls should be reported to the appropriate level of management. Management should clearly assign responsibility and delegate authority with sufficient care to ensure that persons who perform control procedures are held accountable for their performance by those who monitor these activities, and persons who monitor the performance of control procedures are held accountable by senior management, the governing board, or the audit committee. If accounting information is routinely used in making operating decisions, management is likely to establish effective controls and hold lower-level managers and employees accountable for performance. In addition, if management routinely uses accounting information in measuring progress and operating results, significant variances between planned and actual results are likely to be investigated. This review may detect the causes of the variances and affect the steps necessary to correct procedures that failed to prevent misstatements. Common Types of Control Procedures Numerous control procedures and monitoring activities are performed by individuals in governmental entities to accomplish particular objectives. All these controls, however, can be classified within one of the basic categories of controls described below. Detailed control procedures or monitoring activities may be included in each of these categories, depending on the size of the entity and the sophistication of the particular control environment. Access Controls Certain controls prevent access to assets by unauthorized persons. Often these controls are physical in nature. For example, an organization might store inventories of supplies and commodities in locked storage areas, store currency in a vault or a locked drawer, and use alarm systems to restrict access by unauthorized individuals. If controls to prevent unauthorized access to assets are not effective, assets may be lost or stolen. If detective control procedures such as physical inventory counts are appropriately performed, shortages should be discovered in a timely manner. In some cases, unauthorized access to assets may be gained through vulnerable accounting records-especially records maintained on computer systems. For example, if warehouse requisitions can be issued through a computer terminal, access to inventory may be gained through the system. Controls over unauthorized access to assets through computer records may be physical (e.g., terminals are kept in a locked room) or logical (e.g., access to the computer program or data files may be obtained only with the proper password or other user-identification method). Monitoring the control procedures that address unauthorized access includes observing physical control procedures, reviewing established access privileges with the manager of information systems, or reviewing reports of attempted computer access violations. Internal auditors often perform such activities. Access controls, however, do not prevent individuals who have authorized access to assets from misappropriating them. Individuals who have authorized access to both assets and related accounting records may be in a position to conceal shortages of assets in the records. However, if duties are properly segregated, persons with access to assets will not have access to related accounting records, which may be altered to conceal shortages. Controls over authorized access to assets are important to an organization, not only to prevent thefts, but also to ensure that assets are committed only after proper consideration by individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced. Authorization and approval are types of controls designed to prevent invalid or inappropriate transactions from occurring. An example is a procedure designed to ensure that disbursements are made only when authorized orders for goods and services have been received. In many systems, access to computerized records (e.g., shipping requests) can result in improper access to assets; therefore, procedures must be designed to limit access to computerized records. Reconciliation and Comparison of Assets with Records Reconciling and comparing assets with accounting records establish a system of independent verification, either through preparing an independent control document used to reconcile accounting records and assets or by directly comparing accounting records with related assets. Examples of these procedures include the reconciliation of physical inventory to accounting records and the preparation of a bank reconciliation. Analytical Reviews The purpose of analytical reviews is to evaluate summarized information by comparing it with expected results. Management personnel often perform analytical reviews to determine whether the entity is performing as planned. For example, a common analytical review procedure is the comparison of budgeted to actual performance, with investigation of any significant or material variances as determined by the analyst. Often, analytical reviews may be used to monitor other underlying control procedures. Authorization and Approval Authorization and approval procedures prevent invalid transactions from occurring. Thus, this type of control typically involves authorization

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