OSC Government Accounting Schools Office of the New York State Comptroller


The Federal Government is increasingly concerned with the financial reporting of State and local governments because it relies on their accounting systems to provide information on how Federal grant and revenue-sharing funds are spent. The principal goal in this matter is that all interested parties will work together toward more meaningful financial reporting. In conclusion, school districts, like other governmental entities, must annually compile financial data and report on their financial position. Accounting and reporting standards for this information are set forth by a number of oversight agencies, including GASB, FASB, and AICPA. A major change in reporting requirements for governments was recently established by GASB Statement 34. This accounting standard requires governmental agencies, including school districts, to increase their financial reporting to include governmentwide financial statements as well as the traditional fund reporting.


While government accountants are responsible for reviewing and recording the financial activities of the government, they can also contribute to the development of tax, budget funding, commercial and other financial policy. Attendance of GFOA’s Accounting Academy, Government Accounting Intensive Series, an equivalent program, or comparable level of understanding of public-sector accounting and financial reporting. Over the past decade, many states and school districts have implemented site-based management initiatives. These initiatives have been designed to delegate to individual schools greater levels of authority to determine the use of financial resources. As a result, local administrators may control and report on the use of financial resources, even though they may lack financial management skills.

Important Terms and Expressions of Government Finance

The accrual basis of accounting is adjusted when dealing with governmental funds. The sum total of these adjustments is referred to as the modified accrual basis.

  • Private purpose trust funds are finances set aside for the benefit of something other than the government’s own programs, such as student scholarships.
  • With experience and education, internal auditors can move from entry-level positions to more advanced roles.
  • Or large capital projects like preserving historic buildings, renovating a city library, or building a new bridge.
  • Monitoring the control procedures that address unauthorized access includes observing physical control procedures, reviewing established access privileges with the manager of information systems, or reviewing reports of attempted computer access violations.
  • These above prescribed codes are not valid for reporting, however they provide detailed information on the category of the codes.
  • People with a four-year degree and legal and tax experience may pursue entry-level work with the Internal Revenue Service as a tax law specialist.

Custodial funds are used to account for money that is held by the government for a purely custodial purpose, such as property taxes. Since its introduction in 1992, COSO has been the most universally accepted framework for evaluating internal controls. When the SEC and PCAOB were implementing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, it was the understood framework for compliance with that law. In 2013, COSO got its first major overhaul since its release two decades earlier; and it is a major change of character.

How to Become a Governmental Accountant

Lease Governmental Accounting Software Manage financial and reporting aspects of your leases. International Financial Reporting Standards are a set of accounting rules currently used by public companies in 166 jurisdictions. The Center for Governmental Accounting Education & Research sponsors academic research projects in collaboration with the Governmental Accounting Standards board and other academic and professional organizations. Added a new section to provide a general overview of interfund transactions. Expanded the title and the definition to include internet services as authorized by Chapter 186, Laws of 2018. Elected officials should be educated to the fact that accountability may be achieved effectively and efficiently by judicious use of department, program and other available account coding or cautious use of managerial funds.

  • Information about Availability of Cash − It has to provide information about the present and the future cash availability.
  • The legally required funds do not always meet GAAP standards for external reporting.
  • Working capital budget – Combines flexible and fixed budget elements in one document for enterprise and internal service funds.
  • Senior positions may require a master’s degree in accounting and further experience.
  • An unmarked spot in your government type column will indicate that a schedule is not attached due to lack of activities described in this schedule in reported year. funds are used to account for assets held by a government in a trustee capacity or as an agent for individuals, private organizations, or other governmental units. The fiduciary fund category includes pension trust funds, investment trust funds, private-purpose trust funds, and agency funds. Financial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company’s management to present the company’s financial affairs over a given period . These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all levels. Governmental accounting maintains tight control over resources, while also compartmentalizing activities into different funds in order to clarify how resources are being directed at various programs. This approach to accounting is used by all types of government entities, including federal, state, county, municipal, and special-purpose entities. Budgetary comparison schedules should be presented as required supplementary information for the general fund and for each major special revenue fund that has a legally adopted annual/biennial budget.

Financial Reporting

In case of renewal and replacement and cost of the genuine replacement should be charged to capital account. Information about Availability of Cash − It has to provide information about the present and the future cash availability. Let us know what type of degree you’re looking into, and we’ll find a list of the best programs to get you there. Accountants in any field need proficiency in industry software like QuickBooks. Government accountants use this common software to maintain accurate records.

What is the role of GASB?

The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is a private non-governmental organization that creates accounting reporting standards, or generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), for state and local governments in the United States.

The following matrix “Codes to Funds” identifies which fund group that each active BARS code may be reported in. This school is for those individuals who are newcomers to governmental accounting in New York, or those looking to refresh their understanding of current generally accepted governmental accounting practices. It will benefit Chief Executive Officers, Chief Fiscal Officers, Comptrollers, Treasurers, Clerks, and Accounting Personnel. To become a tax attorney, candidates must graduate from law school and pass their state bar exam.

BARS Alerts

Members of the PAC are appointed from the Opposition Parties of the Parliament. Member of the ruling party cannot be part of this committee, as this committee is working as a watchdog to look after the affairs of ruling party. Information about Revenues − One of the most important functions of the Government accounting is to maintain the transactions of generation and collection of revenues during the financial year (and maintain all the past years’ financial data). Under the ‘Right to Information Act,’ if someone asks to have the information regarding the financial transactions of a government office, it is oblige to provide that. Government accountants hold a variety of responsibilities across all government sectors and levels. Their job duties include analyzing financial documents, preparing budgets and reports, performing audits, and assuring compliance. Learn more about skills and specializations in government accounting, and discover how to start a career in the field.

  • Government accounting is the process of ensuring financial resources are distributed to the proper programs or projects to which they have been allocated so that financial reporting to the stakeholder that is transparent and accurate can take place.
  • They may use the calculation below to determine whether an activity would qualify for reporting as a special revenue fund.
  • The budgetary comparison schedule should present both the original and the final appropriated budgets for the reporting period ad well as actual inflows, outflows, and balances, stated on the government’s budgetary basis.
  • Long-term liabilities directly related to and expected to be paid from proprietary funds should be reported in the proprietary fund statement of net position and in the government-wide statement of net position.
  • The accrual principle of accounting requires the revenues and expenses to be recorded in the entity’s financial statements when they are incurred, regardless of when the actual cash flows for the transaction are received or paid.
  • For example, if warehouse requisitions can be issued through a computer terminal, access to inventory may be gained through the system.