Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting
Fund accounting—designed to separate resources according to the purposes for which they may be used and to account for their uses and balances. 2. Budgetary control techniques—to help assure appropriations are not overexpended and all resources due the G&NP organization are received by it. Question 1-2 a. A fund of a government organization is an independent fiscal and accounting entity. Each fund has a separate self-balancing set of accounts in which are recorded the resources segregated for specific purposes, the related liabilities and residual equity (fund balance or net assets), and the changes therein.
Financial statements typically must be presented to report the financial position and operating activities of a fund of a government. b. As the term is generally used in commercial accounting, a “fund” merely indicates that a portion of an organization’s assets is set aside and/or restricted to certain uses, e. g. , a petty cash fund or a bond sinking fund. Such “funds” are not separate accounting entities, but are accounted for by establishing appropriately titled asset and liability accounts within the organization’s general ledger. c.
No, the creation of a fund does not constitute authority to spend or obligate its resources. In most not-for-profit organizations, particularly governments, authority to spend or obligate fund resources is conferred only upon an appropriation(s) being made by the legislative body or governing board. Question 1-3 1. Governmental (expendable) funds are used to account for the financial assets; related liabilities; changes in net financial assets from revenues, expenditures, and other financing sources (uses); and the balances that may be expended in a G&NP organization’s “governmental” or other” nonproprietary” activities.
Expenditures” may be defined as the amount of net financial resources expended during an accounting period for current operations, capital outlay, and long-term debt principal retirement and interest. (Expenditures are measured in governmental fund accounting. “Expenses,” on the other hand, are the costs of assets or services consumed (expired) during an accounting period. (Expenses are measured in proprietary fund accounting. ) When equipment is purchased for instance, expenditures are incurred; but expenses are incurred during its period of use. Question 1-5 a. Organizational objectives. The determination of net income, earnings per share, change in owner(s) equity, and the like are very important in accounting for profit-seeking organizations.
Because the basic purpose of a business is to generate revenues sufficient to cover all costs of providing the services and to generate a return for owners, these measurements relate directly to the objectives of the owners and are seen to indicate management success or failure during a given period of time. On the other hand, a G&NP organization exists to provide certain goods or services to a community or society as a whole. The objective of such organizations is to provide as many goods or as much service as available resources permit.
For most government and not-for-profit entity services, there is no expectation that providing the services will generate revenues or that any revenues raised through user charges will cover costs. Emphasis in this environment is therefore upon acquiring and using appropriable financial resources—cash flow, working capital, and budgetary position—rather than the determination of net income or earnings per share. b. Sources of financial resources. Profit-seeking organizations generally rely on equity investors, debt issuances, and profits from the sale of goods and services to its customers to generate financial resources.
In contrast, G&NP organizations do not have “investors,” and generally do not have a profit motive. G&NP organizations generally rely on the receipt of taxes and donations as their primary sources of financial resources although they also rely, to some degree, on proceeds from debt issuances. Grants and subsidies from governments are primary sources of financial resources for many G&NP organizations as well. Bureau of the Census statistics indicate that resources received from senior levels of government actually exceed taxes for many local governments.
The operations of a profit-seeking organization generally are evaluated based on the amounts of profits (or its net income) over a period of time. G&NP organizations must be measured differently because G&NP organizations generally do not have a profit motive. Evaluating the performance of governments is extremely difficult because there is no open market supply and demand test of the value of the services that they provide.
Also, the relationship between resource providers and the recipients of services is remote and indirect for G&NP organizations. Therefore, other controls must be substituted for the profit test/regulator where G&NP organizations are involved. Thus, G&NP organizations, particularly governments, are subjected to a variety of legal and administrative controls over such factors as (1) organization structure, (2) personnel policies and procedures, (3) sources of resources, (4) uses of resources, (5) accounting, (6) reporting, and (7) auditing.
The most obvious result of such alternative controls is the extensive use of fund accounting and reporting and budgetary accounting and reporting by G&NP organizations Question 1-6 1. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) was established in 1984 as the recognized body to set authoritative standards for state and local government accounting and financial reporting. The GASB recognized the effective National Council on Governmental Accounting (NCGA) pronouncements and excerpts from certain AICPA publications as “authoritative” in 1984, and subsequently has issued numerous Statements and Interpretations. 2.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) assumed responsibility for all nonbusiness organization accounting and financial reporting standards except those for state and local governments in 1979. The FASB establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for all nonprofit organizations except for government nonprofit organizations. (Although not discussed in chapter 1, it may be interesting to note that the FASB issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 116, “Accounting for Contributions Made and Contributions Received” and SFAS 117, “Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Organizations” in June 1993.
The FASB has since issued two additional standards specifically addressing not-for-profit organization accounting issues. These standards established the general guidelines for financial reporting for all nongovernment not-for-profit organizations—including nongovernment not-for-profit hospitals, colleges and universities, voluntary health and welfare organizations, and other not-for-profit organizations. Government not-for-profit entities of these types, e. g. , state universities, are prohibited from applying the guidance in these standards, which are not included in the FASB’s Accounting Standards Codification
User charges of profit-seeking organizations may be presumed to be set at a level that is expected to maximize short-run or long-run profitability. A potential user who cannot pay the user charges is denied the goods or services. In G&NP organizations, on the other hand, user charges may be set at modest levels that assure that most or all people needing the goods or services can obtain them. The user charges may be made more as a matter of assuring that the users truly need the goods or services and/or to assure that the self-respect of those who will not accept “charity” is protected.