Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council

AN OVERVIEW

The Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC) was formed in 1984 concurrent with the establishment of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

The primary function of GASAC is to advise the Board on issues related to projects on the Board’s agenda, possible new agenda items, project priorities, procedural matters that may require the attention of the GASB, and other matters as requested by the chairman of the GASB. GASAC meetings provide the Board with an opportunity to obtain and discuss the views of a very diverse group of individuals from varied professional and occupational backgrounds.

To assure that a diversity of views will be represented, the members of the GASAC consist of not fewer than 20 persons appointed by the Financial Accounting Foundation’s (FAF) Board of Trustees. GASAC members are required to be, in the judgment of the Trustees, knowledgeable about the issues involving, and the impact of, financial accounting and reporting by state and local governments, or to possess an expertise of value to the GASB.

CARRYING OUT THE MISSION

It is the job of the GASB to establish the “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles,” or GAAP, to which financial reporting by U.S. state and local governments must conform and to keep those principles current.

In conducting its activities, the Board strives to carefully weigh the views of its stakeholders, who include all those with an interest in financial reporting, including users, preparers, and auditors of governmental financial reports. The GASAC provides an important sounding board to help the GASB understand what stakeholders are thinking on a wide range of issues.

It is not the role of the GASAC to reach a consensus or to vote on the issues that it considers at its meetings. Rather, the Council operates as a window through which the Board can obtain and discuss the representative views of the diverse groups the GASB impacts. In this way, GASAC provides the forum for two-way communication. For this reason, it is important to convene Council members as a group so that the Board can hear the individual views of those members and so that the members can hear and respond to each other’s views.

Members of GASAC are urged to speak publicly on matters before the GASB and also to be supportive of the Board’s process and the principle of private-sector standard setting. Individual Council members are not expected to agree with the Board’s decisions on all of the technical aspects of the projects on the Board’s agenda, but it is important that GASAC members support the institution and its due process.

STRUCTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION

GASAC is an operating arm of the Financial Accounting Foundation, an organization that is independent of any other business or professional organization. The Foundation is run by a Board of Trustees who are leaders in the business, accounting, financial, government, and academic communities.

The Foundation selects the members of GASAC, including the chairman, and broadly oversees its operations. The Council is made up of approximately 30 members who represent a broad cross section of the Board’s stakeholders. They are appointed for a one-year term and are eligible to be reappointed for three additional one-year terms.

THE PROCESS

The GASAC meets three times a year—twice at the GASB’s offices in Norwalk, Connecticut, and once in conjunction with a stakeholder group meeting. Like the GASB, GASAC is committed to following an open, orderly process that is open to public observation. Members of the GASB, its technical director, several members of the GASB’s staff, and a representative from the FAF attend each GASAC meeting.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The GASB’s Rules of Procedure describe the operating processes for the GASAC in its mission of advising the GASB.

For more information about GASAC, contact Dean M. Mead, GASB Research Manager.