Project Pages

Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting

Primary Objective: The objective of this project is to encourage the reporting and use of service efforts and accomplishments (SEA) performance information by: (a) Developing conceptually based suggested guidelines for voluntary reporting of SEA performance information that will help officials effectively communicate the government’s SEA performance in a way that the public will find meaningful and understandable, and (b) Completing a limited update of selected sections of Concepts Statement No. 2, Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting, based on information that has been gained through the GASB’s combined research and to clarify the scope and limitations of SEA reports. The scope of the overall project does not include establishing the goals and objectives of state or local governmental services, establishing specific nonfinancial measures or indicators of service performance, or establishing standards of or benchmarks for service performance.

Status:

The Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information were issued on July 14, 2010.
 

Service Efforts and Accomplishments—Project Plan

Background: Concepts Statement No. 1, Objectives of Financial Reporting, issued in 1987, details the objectives of financial reporting and serves as a guide for making decisions on financial reporting issues. In establishing the objectives of financial reporting, the Board gave considerable weight to the concept of accountability. From that concept, one important objective in the Statement that was based on the SEA concepts introduced in National Council on Governmental Accounting Concepts Statement 1, Objectives of Financial Reporting, was that “financial reporting should provide information to assist users in assessing the service efforts, costs, and accomplishments of the governmental entity.”

Concepts Statement 2, issued in 1994, provided the opportunity to elaborate on the accountability objective in financial reporting and the importance of reporting performance measures as part of general purpose external financial reporting. The Board stated that SEA information—both financial measures and nonfinancial performance measures—is an essential aspect of the measurement of governmental performance and is necessary for assessing accountability and in making informed decisions: “Therefore, to be more complete, general purpose external financial reporting needs to include service efforts and accomplishments information.”

Concepts Statement No. 5, Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting, an amendment of Concepts Statement No. 2, issued in November 2008 reflects the developments that have occurred since Concepts Statement 2 was issued in 1996. The proposed changes are based on the findings of extensive research by the GASB and others and the results of the GASB's monitoring of state and local governments that have been using and reporting service efforts and accomplishments (SEA) performance information.

Project History: In November 2006, the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation reaffirmed that the GASB has the jurisdictional authority to include “service efforts and accomplishments” in its financial accounting and reporting standards-setting activities for state and local governmental entities.

A task force of 19 experts in SEA performance information and reporting was appointed in May 2007. In October 2007, the task force met to discuss issues associated with the project.

The Board issued the Request for Response on July 31, 2008 and received 35 written comments. Fourteen testifiers participated in a public hearing that was held on November 14, 2008. A forum for external users also was conducted on November 7, 2008.

The Board issued the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information on June 30, 2009 and received 23 written comments. These comments were deliberated by the Board. In July 2010 the Board issued Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information.

Service Efforts and Accomplishments—Minutes for Deliberations

Minutes of Meeting, June 22-24, 2010

The Board reviewed a ballot draft of the Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information, and provided a few clarifying changes. The Board then unanimously approved the final Guidelines for issuance.

Minutes of Meeting, May 11-13, 2010

The Board reviewed a preballot draft of the Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information. The Board generally agreed with the content of the draft; however, additional clarifying changes were discussed and tentatively approved. The Board decided to move forward with the preparation of the ballot draft of the final Suggested Guidelines for the Board to deliberate at the June meeting.

Minutes of Meeting, March 29-31, 2010

The Board continued its review of a summary of the comments received on the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information, due process document. The Board discussed the summary of specific comments pertaining to the Effective Communication, Illustrations, Background Information, and Board Considerations sections and substantially agreed with the staff recommendations. The Board also reviewed a marked-up version of the suggested guidelines that incorporated the recommendations tentatively agreed upon by the Board during the February meeting and those proposed by the staff for the March meeting. The Board substantially agreed with the staff modifications made to the Proposal. The Board proposed various changes throughout the suggested guidelines to further clarify the document. For the next Board meeting, the staff will prepare a preballot draft of the Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information incorporating the recommendations tentatively agreed upon by the Board during the March and previous meetings.

Minutes of Meeting, February 16-18, 2010

The Board reviewed a summary of the comments received on the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information, due process document. The Board discussed the summary of comments and substantially tentatively agreed with the staff recommendations pertaining to the six Qualitative Characteristics of SEA Performance Information sections. The Board also reviewed a marked up version of the suggested guidelines that incorporated the recommendations tentatively agreed upon by the Board during the January meeting and those proposed by the staff for the February meeting. The Board substantially tentatively agreed with the staff modifications made to the Proposal, recommending a change to the example provided of an unintended consequence and a few clarifying changes to enhance the final document. For the next Board meeting, the staff will prepare a summary of comments received on the Effective Communication section, Appendices A-C, and a marked up version of the suggested guidelines incorporating the recommendations tentatively agreed upon by the Board during the February meeting and those proposed by the staff for the March meeting.

Minutes of Meeting, January 5-7, 2010

The Board reviewed a summary of the comments received on the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information, due process document. The Board discussed the summary of comments and substantially agreed with the staff recommendations pertaining to the Introduction, Applicability, and Essential Components of SEA Reports sections. For the February Board meeting, the staff will prepare a summary of comments received on the Qualitative Characteristics of SEA Performance Information section as well as a marked up version of the suggested guidelines incorporating the recommendations tentatively agreed upon by the Board during the January meeting.

Minutes of Teleconference, June 23, 2009

The Board reviewed a final ballot draft of the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information. The Board agreed with the content of the draft but made a few editorial changes.

The Board decided to move forward with the issuance of the proposed suggested guidelines. The Board balloted the document out of session and voted 7-0 to approve the issuance of the due process document.

Minutes of Meeting, June 2-4, 2009

The Board reviewed a preballot draft of the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information. The Board provided a few editorial changes to improve the readability of the draft. The Board agreed to delete any reference to any language that would imply that the primary focus of an SEA report is on outcome measures and that these types of measures should be given primacy over efficiency or cost-outcome measures. The Board noted that an SEA report is most effective when it includes measures from each of the three elements. It also noted that including measures from only one or two elements generally does not provide users with complete information to assess SEA performance.

The Board decided to move forward with the preparation of the ballot draft of the next due process document: Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information for deliberation at the June teleconference meeting.

Minutes of Teleconference, May 12, 2009

The Board reviewed a draft of the Board Considerations and revised Illustrations sections of the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information. The Board generally agreed with the content and structure of the Board Considerations section and recommended a number of editorial changes.

The Board recommended several changes to the illustrations that were editorial in nature.

The Board decided to move forward with the preparation of the preballot draft of the next due process document, Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information, for deliberation at the June meeting.

Minutes of Meeting, April 21-23, 2009

The Board reviewed a draft proposal of Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information in the new structure and format agreed upon at the January meeting. The draft excluded the Board Considerations section, which will be discussed at the May teleconference. The Board discussed the content, organization, and form of the document. The Board recommended numerous changes to the draft to enhance the readability of the document. The Board also suggested reorganizing the Effective Communication section of the draft to more clearly present the information contained in that section. Furthermore, after reviewing the Illustrations section of the draft, the Board suggested replacing two illustrations and revising several others. The Board requested that the staff present the revised Illustrations section at the May teleconference with the Board Considerations section.

Based on the Board’s suggestions and tentative decisions, the staff will proceed with the preparation of the Board Considerations and revised Illustration sections of the Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information, which are to be deliberated on by the Board at the May teleconference.

Minutes of Meeting, March 10-12, 2009

The Board reviewed a summary of the comments received on Chapter 3, “Qualitative Characteristics of SEA Performance Information,” which was included in the Request for Response, Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Information. The Board discussed the summary of comments and substantially agreed with the staff recommendations pertaining to the six qualitative characteristic of SEA information. The Board tentatively agreed to retain in the development of the next due process document the six qualitative characteristics of relevance, understandability, comparability, timeliness, consistency, and reliability.

Additionally, the Board reviewed a summary of the comments received on the figures included in the Request for Response The Board discussed the summary of the comments received on the 25 figures from the Request for Response, along with an additional figure depicting a “logic model.” The Board tentatively agreed with the staff recommendations to retain a majority of the examples; those recommendations included modifying certain examples, and replacing others based on feedback received on the Request for Response. The Board also tentatively decided to not include a figure in the next due process document pertaining to a logic model.

Based on the Board’s decisions, the staff will proceed with the development of the next due process document, Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting, SEA Performance Information, following the tentatively agreed upon structure and format. The staff will prepare an initial draft of that document for Board deliberation at the April meeting.

Service Efforts and Accomplishments—Relevant Links