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Fund Types and Accounting Principles Office of the Washington State Auditor

governmental accounting

Committed revenues are resources with limitations imposed by the highest level of the government, and where the limitations can be removed only by a similar action of the same governing body. Revenues do not include other financing sources (long-term debt, transfers, etc.). To ensure the proper segregation of resources and to maintain proper accountability, a governmental entity’s accounting system should be organized and operated on a fund basis.

Instead, it provides the GASB with contextual information about the diverse individuals that GASB may impact. This empowers the GASB to understand diverse views and make informed decisions accordingly. The GASB is subject to oversight by the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) Board of Trustees, which selects its board members, and the FASB, both of which it funds. In turn, the GASB is funded primarily by accounting support fees paid by brokers and dealers who trade in municipal bonds. This funding mechanism was established by Section 978 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

I. Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”)

Careers in government accounting typically provide comfortable salaries, with the potential for growth as workers gain experience. In addition to the trust criteria requirements above, all individual investment accounts are required to be reported in an Investment Trust Fund. The determination of an activity’s principal revenue source is a matter of professional judgement. A good indicator of the activity’s significance may be comparing pledged revenues or fees and charges to total revenue. For example, consider a county auditor’s office that charges fees to provide a payroll service to various taxing districts.

  • Since its introduction in 1992, COSO has been the most universally accepted framework for evaluating internal controls.
  • Fund financial statements should be used to report detailed information about primary government, including its blended component units.
  • Many also work in the corporate sector, making this specialty transferable to other industries.
  • MIP is today’s leading accounting software for nonprofits and government organizations across the nation.
  • They focus on whether a government agency has sufficient assets to pay its liabilities within the current fiscal year.
  • Careers in government accounting typically provide comfortable salaries, with the potential for growth as workers gain experience.

Financial resources that are being accumulated for principal and interest maturing in future years also should be reported in debt service funds. The debt service transactions for a special assessment for which the government is not obligated in any matter should be reported in a custodial fund. Also, if the government is authorized, or required to establish and maintain a special assessment bond reserve, guaranty, or sinking fund, GASB Statement 6 requires using a debt service fund for this purpose. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is a private sector organization that determines state and local requirements for government accounting. This organization’s primary goal is to ensure financial transparency for investors, taxpayers and public officials.


Complied accounts along with appropriation accounts are submitted by Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the President of India, to the Governor of each state, or to the Administrator of the Union Territory accordingly. Treasury and other government departments, initially compile their governmental accounting receipt and payment accounts on monthly basis for central government and state government separately and then send to respective Accountant General of India. Government accountants need robust computing and accounting software skills, plus a strong working knowledge of math and statistics.

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. Local governments should periodically undertake a comprehensive evaluation of their fund structure to ensure that individual funds that became superfluous are eliminated from accounting and reporting. Code External Investment Pool Fund – The external portion of the investment pools that are not held in trust and meet criteria listed above. Although this is considered a custodial fund, it should be reported in a separate external investment pool fund column under the custodial funds classification. As a practical consequence, if an activity reported as a separate fund meets any of the three criteria, it should be an enterprise fund.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses forensic accountants to analyze financial crime in sectors like healthcare, mortgage and banking, and securities. Taught by industry leaders, our program is designed to prepare you in the rapidly expanding field of government financial management, accounting, and auditing. A common terminology and classification should be used consistently throughout the budget, the accounts, and the financial reports of each fund. Other resources (investment earnings and transfers from other funds, etc.) also may be reported in the fund if these resources are restricted, committed, or assigned to the specific purpose of the fund. Code General (Current Expense) Fund – should be used to account for and report all financial resources not accounted for and reported in another fund.

What is the difference between GAAP and FASB?

Generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, are standards that encompass the details, complexities, and legalities of business and corporate accounting. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) uses GAAP as the foundation for its comprehensive set of approved accounting methods and practices.

Fund accounting is a system of accounting used by non-profits to track the amount of cash assigned to different purposes and the usage of that cash. Internal auditors also analyze current documentation to advise government departments and agencies on best fiscal practices. Students who complete the Master’s in Governmental Accounting program will have the opportunity to gain the Chartered Public Finance Accountant (CPFA) credential that will allow them to work in public finance positions around the world. The current expected due date for GASB 87 adoption is June 15, 2021, although GASB favors early adoption. The GASB is funded primarily by accounting support fees paid by brokers and dealers who trade in municipal bonds.

Government entities manage a wide array of organizations within a community, which makes budgeting more involved. Funds have to be distributed to give all the community components the support they need. Government accountants work at the local, state, and federal government levels. Accountants can work as consultants in their own space, but more often work within government offices. Also referred to as tax, accounting, or budget specialists, these compliance officers hold a strong knowledge of fiscal policy, laws, and regulations.

The purpose of governments is to enhance or maintain the well-being of citizens by providing public services following public policy goals. Taxes and fees are the principal sources of revenue and taxpayers are involuntary resource providers. Governments have the potential for longevity because of their ongoing power to tax and the ongoing need for public services, whereas businesses will go out of existence if they are unable to sustain their operations. When it comes to governmental accounting, it’s vital to comply with GASB policies. This practice ensures your organization satisfies the community’s wants and needs, and it can help you receive more funding in the long term. Governmental accounting and nonprofit accounting are similar because they use a fund accounting model rather than a traditional business one.

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