All GASB Statements Are Not Created Equal
- Dean Michael Mead
Oct 3, 2022
During CRI’s recent GASB Update webinar, it was noted that the GASB approved its 100th and 101st Statements in June 2022. Understandably, that milestone might be alarming if you think you are required to know and comply with that many pronouncements. While it is undoubtedly true that applying GASB standards requires a significant amount of work, it is not that burdensome. Consider that, of those 101 Statements:
- 22 have or will soon be fully superseded.
- 8 are procedural and add no requirements.
- 17 are narrowly scoped or address transactions that are not widespread (very few governments have to apply Statement 58 on Chapter 9 bankruptcies, for instance).
Which leaves 54 Statements—though few governments, if any, have to apply them all. Additionally, some of those are only partially in effect, with significant portions that later Statements have superseded.
While some Statements are complex or extensive, such as the pension and other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) standards, others are simpler to apply. Some actually reduce the effort required to prepare financial statements! Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that not all GASB Statements are created equal.
For example, governments with fiscal year-ends of June 30, September 30, or December 31, 2022, may have to implement as many as five new Statements. One of those is Statement 87 on leases, which generally has required more effort to apply than any standards since those for pensions and OPEB. The idea of implementing four other Statements—89, 92, 97, and 98—simultaneously as the lease standards sound daunting. But consider that:
- Statement 89 eliminates the requirement to capitalize construction-period interest, which is a reduction in burden.
- Statement 92 includes some minor changes that a government may need to apply, but it primarily resolves issues in practice, reducing the preparation burden.
- Statement 97 will result in some governments having to report an IRC Section 457 plan as a pension plan. Still, italso amends existing provisions that would have resulted in governments having to report many defined contribution pension plans as fiduciary funds, which significantly alleviates effort.
- Statement 98 only changes the name of the comprehensive annual financial report to the annual comprehensive financial report.
Some governments may need to apply all five Statements for the fiscal year 2022, while others will not need to apply any of them (not even the lease standards).
Don’t let the number of GASB Statements alarm you. Instead, contact your CRI advisor, who can help you figure out which ones apply to your government and what level of effort will be needed to implement them.
A recording of the entire GASB Update webinar is available to be viewed here.