Statement No. 76
The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for State and Local Governments
The objective of this Statement is to identify—in the context of the current governmental financial reporting environment—the hierarchy of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The “GAAP hierarchy” consists of the sources of accounting principles used to prepare financial statements of state and local governmental entities in conformity with GAAP and the framework for selecting those principles. This Statement reduces the GAAP hierarchy to two categories of authoritative GAAP and addresses the use of authoritative and nonauthoritative literature in the event that the accounting treatment for a transaction or other event is not specified within a source of authoritative GAAP.
This Statement supersedes Statement No. 55, The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for State and Local Governments. The requirements of this Statement are effective for financial statements for periods beginning after June 15, 2015, and should be applied retroactively. Earlier application is permitted.
How the Changes in This Statement Improve Financial Reporting
The requirements in this Statement improve financial reporting by (1) raising the category of GASB Implementation Guides in the GAAP hierarchy, thus providing the opportunity for broader public input on implementation guidance; (2) emphasizing the importance of analogies to authoritative literature when the accounting treatment for an event is not specified in authoritative GAAP; and (3) requiring the consideration of consistency with the GASB Concepts Statements when evaluating accounting treatments specified in nonauthoritative literature. As a result, governments will apply financial reporting guidance with less variation, which will improve the usefulness of financial statement information for making decisions and assessing accountability and enhance the comparability of financial statement information among governments.
Unless otherwise specified, pronouncements of the GASB apply to financial reports of all state and local governmental entities, including general purpose governments; public benefit corporations and authorities; public employee retirement systems; and public utilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers, and colleges and universities. Paragraph 2 discusses the applicability of this Statement.