Moving Towards International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)

01/21/2019 - 01/25/2019 at Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria, South Africa

In recent years, the global financial crisis highlighted the significant gaps and weaknesses in public sector accounting practices and underscored the need for more comprehensive, reliable, and timely financial reporting by governments.
These concerns were echoed by the G‐20 at their meeting in Moscow in February 2013, when they called on the IMF, World Bank, and OECD to work to improve the transparency and comparability of public sector financial reporting.

To help policymakers and citizens to understand and address these sources of fiscal risk, fiscal transparency standards and practices need to improve along several dimensions: more complete coverage of public sector institutions; more comprehensive reporting of assets and liabilities; recognition of a broader range of transactions and other economic flows; more frequent and timely fiscal reporting; more rigorous approach to fiscal forecasting and risk analysis; and alignment of standards for budgets, statistics, and accounts.

IPSAS have a potentially significant role to play in enhancing the transparency and comparability of government financial information. The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB), a part of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), is responsible for issuing International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Currently there are some thirty IPSASs applicable to accrual based accounting and one IPSAS applicable to cash‐based accounting. Subjects so far covered by IPSASs include presentation of financial statements, the effects of changes in foreign exchange rates, financial instruments, contingent liabilities, and segment reporting. IPSASs are designed to facilitate the generation of government financial reports of high quality that are internationally comparable.