Norwalk, CT, July 1, 2009—The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information. The purpose of this document is to obtain feedback from constituents on suggested guidelines intended to provide a common framework for the effective external communication of SEA performance information.
The reporting of SEA performance information provides more information about a government’s actual performance in providing services to its citizens than can be included in traditional financial statements, and is therefore an important method of demonstrating accountability and stewardship. The suggested guidelines are intended to help state and local governments that choose to communicate SEA performance information to citizens, elected officials, and other interested parties to do so more effectively.
While it is beyond the scope of the GASB to establish the goals and objectives of state and local government services, to develop specific nonfinancial measures or indicators of service performance, or to set benchmarks for service performance, research has shown that many constituents consider it appropriate at this time for the GASB to issue conceptually based suggested guidelines for voluntary reporting of SEA performance information.
Constituents are invited to provide feedback on the suggested guidelines, which include what the GASB has identified as the four essential components of an effective SEA report, the six qualitative characteristics of SEA performance information, and three keys to effective communication.
The four components identified are purpose and scope, major goals and objectives, key measures of SEA performance, and discussion and analysis of results and challenges. The six qualitative characteristics, as set forth in Concepts Statement No. 1, Objectives of Financial Reporting, are relevance, understandability, comparability, timeliness, consistency, and reliability. The three keys to effective communication are intended audiences, multiple levels of reporting, and forms of communication.
Constituents are encouraged to review the proposed suggested guidelines and provide feedback. Written comments are due by October 30, 2009. The document—including instructions on submitting comments—can be downloaded from the GASB’s website at www.gasb.org. Individuals can also obtain one copy of the Proposal free of charge by contacting the GASB Order Department at 1-800-748-0659.
About the Governmental Accounting Standards Board
The GASB is the independent, not-for-profit organization formed in 1984 that establishes and improves financial accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments. Its seven members are drawn from the Board’s diverse constituency, including preparers and auditors of government financial statements, users of those statements, and members of the academic community. More information about the GASB can be found at its website, www.gasb.org.