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BARS & Annual Report Filing FAQs

I am new to the local government. How do I learn about the BARS?

SAO offers a webinar Introduction to the Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System. NEW! Posted September 2019.

What resources will the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) provide to implement the new GASB standards for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB)?

SAO will provide training, sample note disclosures and Required Supplementary Information (RSI). SAO will not be providing actuarial services for OPEB liability valuation. For additional information, please visit our OPEB page.

How do I obtain previous years’ Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) manuals?

Since the only manual available is applicable to the current period and the most recent reporting year, any information related to prior year is available only at a special request. Please submit a Help Desk request with the year and section or detailed description of the needed information.

How do I find information in the BARS manual?

The quickest way to find needed information is to utilize the search function of the manual.  This search function will only search the applicable manual that you are in.

You can also use the table of contents to link to the section you need. 

How can I reference the information from the BARS manual since there are no page numbers?

The BARS manual contains indices, which specify parts, sections and subsections of the text (e.g., BARS 3.11.1 – Accounting – Transportation Benefit Districts (TBD) contains twelve segments numbered from 3.11.1.10 to 3.11.1.120). These indices are static and do not change. The outdated and not applicable indices are removed and their numbers are not replaced. New information is added with new index references.

How do I download and/or print the BARS manual?

To print the manual, you will need to download the PDF. 

Where do I find templates?

You can access them by clicking on the Reporting Templates link on the main page of the BARS manuals.

When are the changes to the BARS manual applicable?

The significant changes are combined into sections according to the year of applicability through the Alerts and Changes tab.  

When is the BARS manual updated?

The main BARS manual update happens at the calendar year end (December or January) and is aligned with the vast majority of governments’ reporting cycle. The important changes are listed in the Alerts & Changes tab of the manual.

However, there may be some emerging issues that affect the accounting or reporting of the governments. In such cases, the manual is updated during the year and the governments are immediately notified of these updates by email.

Small corrections, clarifications and other revisions, which do not have direct impact on accounting or reporting, occur throughout the year without any alerts.

I am new and I am not sure if I am receiving all emails and notifications related to the BARS manual? How can I be sure I am?

You can sign up for notification emails through News and Alerts