Journal Entries

This recurring website feature highlights articles from The GASB Report, the GASB’s monthly newsletter. The current article appeared in the March 2013 issue.

New User Guide on Business-Type Activities Now Available

What You Should Know about the Finances of Your Government’s Business-Type Activities: A Guide to Financial Statements is now available. 

This all new guide offers users of governmental financial statements a comprehensive, easy-to-understand primer on the annual financial reports of business-type activities (BTAs). What You Should Know about the Finances of Your Government’s Business-Type Activities focuses on the unique features of financial reporting by the activities that governments operate similar to businesses, charging fees in return for service.

In addition to introductory and background material, the new guide addresses issues specific to BTAs that users should be familiar with, including:

  • The statement of net position
  • The statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in net position
  • The statement of cash flows
  • Notes to the financial statements
  • Management’s discussion and analysis
  • The statistical section
  • Information on regulated BTAs.
The BTA guide presents illustrative financial statements for a water and sewer utility, an airport, a public hospital, a public university, a toll road authority, a mass transit system, and a rate-regulated electric utility. The new guide will supply readers with the tools necessary to open a BTA’s financial statements and understand what they say more clearly than they might otherwise have been able to do.

New Editions of All GASB User Guides Are Now Available

With the publication of the new BTA guide, the process of fully updating and expanding the user guide series is now complete. Introduced about a decade ago, this series introduces state and local government financial reports to a broad, non-accountant audience using a minimum of technical language.

The GASB’s three What You Should Know guides—the BTA guide, What You Should Know about Your Local Government’s Finances, and What You Should Know about Your School District’s Finances—include features designed to assist the reader at all points on the spectrum—from those who are new to governmental financial statements to the experienced reader. The What You Should Know guides provide a comprehensive but accessible introduction to the annual financial reports of counties, cities, towns, school districts, and BTAs.

Unlike the other guides in the series, An Analyst’s Guide to Government Financial Statements is aimed at those with a basic knowledge of accounting and government finance. It explores how basic analytical techniques may be applied to the information in financial reports to assess issues such as financial position, liquidity, solvency, fiscal capacity, and risk exposure. The new edition of An Analyst’s Guide to Government Financial Statements incorporates the separate guide on note disclosures and supporting information to create a comprehensive updated guide to the full annual report.

Each guide in the GASB user guide series offers annotated illustrations, sidebars exploring issues raised in the text, detailed definitions and explanations, tips on using financial statement information, an extensive glossary, and an overview of public-sector accounting and financial reporting.

All editions in the user guide series may be ordered through the Store section of the GASB website, www.gasb.org, or by calling the GASB Order Department at (800) 748-0659.