The User's Perspective
Three guides in the series provide a comprehensive but easy-to-read introduction to the annual financial reports of local governments, school districts, andbusiness-type activities (such as utilities, hospitals, and colleges). What You Should Know about Your Local Government’s Finances and What You Should Know about Your School District’s Finances provide many useful features for users of government financial reports at all levels of expertise, including:
The new editions cover more note disclosures and supporting information than the original guides, and include major pronouncements such as those on other postemployment benefits (OPEB) and the new fund balance classifications.
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. This guide contains all of the features of the local government and school district guides, and also 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.
An Analyst’s Guide to Government Financial Statements is aimed at more experienced and frequent users of government financial statements. In addition to introducing and describing the information that can be found in a state or local government financial report, An Analyst’s Guide explores how basic analytical techniques may be applied to that information to assess issues such as financial position, financial condition, liquidity, solvency, fiscal capacity, and exposure to risk.
The new edition of An Analyst’s Guide has been expanded to include the information found in What Else You Should Know about a Government’s Finances: A Guide to Notes to the Financial Statements and Supporting Information, to create a comprehensive guide to the entire financial report, including financial statements, note disclosures, required supplementary information, and supplementary information. From the transmittal letter to the statistical section and everything in between, the guide describes the content and purpose of the disclosures and presentations, and explains how the information can be used to understand and assess the financial health of a government. The topics covered by the guide include:
Fully updated and expanded to cover the major new pronouncements of the past decade, An Analyst’s Guide addresses the reporting of sales and pledges of receivables and future revenues, interest rate swaps and other derivatives, obligations and costs associated with pollution remediation, deposit and investment risks, intangible assets, municipal bankruptcy, and long-term service concession arrangements to operate and maintain major infrastructure assets such as toll roads.
The new, combined guide features 125 annotated illustrations of financial statements, note disclosures, statistical section schedules, and other supporting information. The guide contains a full set of illustrative financial statements for a state, city, school district, a fire district, a public university, and a community college district, and an illustrative management’s discussion and analysis for a city. An Analyst’s Guide expands upon many of the key features of the other guides, including boxes and sidebars, an extensive glossary, the calculation and use of financial ratios, and the basics of governmental accounting.
All of the GASB’s user guides can be purchased from the GASB’s on-line store. The What You Should Know guides are $14.95 each and An Analyst’s Guide to Government Financial Statements is $19.95.