The User's Perspective—May 2006

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Derivatives: GASB Proposes More Transparency  
The number, value, and variety of derivatives entered into by government have increased dramatically in recent years. These often complex transactions and the risks to which they may expose a government are not well understood by the public. The GASB is proposing that governments report derivatives in their financial statements and disclose additional information about their nature, value, and inherent risks.


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Fund Balance: It May Not Be What You Think It Is   
Fund balance may be the most widely used piece of information in government financial reports. But GASB research has found significant variations in how fund balance is reported from one government to the next. The GASB has also found that what governments report and what the public thinks it is reading may not be the same thing.

Coming to an AFR Near You: The New Statistical Section, Part 1   
The guidelines for the statistical section, the part of an annual financial report where governments present 10-year trends in financial, demographic, economic, and operational information, were basically untouched for a quarter-century. However, governments are now implementing GASB Statement 44, which significantly updates and improves the information in the statistical section.

Deposits and Investments: New Information in the Notes   
Users of governmental financial reports should be seeing significant changes in the information that is disclosed about deposit and investment activity. Governments are currently implementing GASB Statement 40, which has significantly enhanced the reporting of the risks of loss posed by deposits and investments.

What Is the GASB Doing Now?   
You cannot tell the players without a scorecard. So here is the scorecard—brief descriptions of the issues the GASB is currently working on, their likely impact on the information in governmental financial reports, key dates to keep in mind, and staff contacts.

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Proposed Standards:   
The GASB needs to know whether its proposals will provide useful information for you. Please take a look at these proposed standards and share your opinion with us.
  • Accounting and Financial Reporting for Derivatives (Comment Deadline: July 28, 2006)