Select a government type/Select basis of accounting
This government type selection will limit the accounts to those applicable to the selected government type. Although the listing provided intends to be all inclusive, it is possible that needed account codes will not be included. If this occurs, please use the All option to view the entire chart of accounts and contact LGSCFeedback@sao.wa.gov so the listing can be updated.
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The Excel option provides a spreadsheet which you can format. The PDF is formatted to highlight the different categories of account codes. For display purposes, the account codes contain decimal points which should be excluded in your annual report.
Select a reporting level
Above and Prescribed option includes those accounts which are aggregates of detailed account codes and are not valid for reporting in addition to Prescribed accounts which are the valid BARS account codes. Prescribed option only lists valid BARS account codes.
Your annual report requires seven digits for all account codes however, their display in the chart of accounts varies. The expenditure or expense accounts are presented in the export without object codes. Object codes are available in the BARS Manual. The reporting at the subobject level is not required.
220.127.116.11 A budget is a legal document that forecasts the financial resources of a government and authorizes the spending of those resources for a fiscal period. At a minimum, local governments’ budget must meet the requirements of Washington state law and the State Auditor’s Office. The SAO does not prescribe how to budget or what a budget should look like. The adopted budget should be of sufficient detail to be meaningful and meet the intention of the law. The SAO considers budgets showing revenues and expenditures at the legal fund level to be the minimum acceptable level of detail.
18.104.22.168 Budgeting is more than just an activity to satisfy state law. It is a sophisticated process of strategic planning, communication and policy development resulting in a detailed plan of operations for allocating and monitoring the use of limited resources among various competing demands. Teaching how to budget is outside the scope of the BARS. However, there are many educational resources available to local governments, such as the Municipal Research and Services Center (mrsc.org) and the Government Finance Officers Association (gfoa.org).
22.214.171.124 Glossary of Budgetary Terms:
Appropriation. The legal spending level authorized by a budget ordinance or resolution. Spending should not exceed this level without prior approval of the governing body.
Original Budget. The first complete appropriated budget. The original budget may be adjusted by reserves, transfers, allocations, supplemental appropriations, and other legally authorized legislative and executive changes before the beginning of the fiscal year. The original budget should also include actual appropriation amounts automatically carried over from prior years by law.
Final Amended Budget. The original budget adjusted by all reserves, transfers, allocations, supplemental appropriations, and other legally authorized legislative and executive changes applicable to the fiscal year, whenever signed into law or otherwise legally authorized.
Comprehensive Budget. An government-wide budget that includes all resources the government expects and everything it intends to spend or encumber during a fiscal period. The comprehensive budget contains annual/biennial appropriated budgets, the annual/biennial portion of continuing appropriations such as the capital improvement projects, debt amortization schedules, and grant projects, flexible budgets and all non-budgeted funds.
Fixed Budget. Those budgets which set an absolute maximum or ceiling on the expenditures of a particular fund, department, or other specific category. A fixed budget can be either an annual/biennial appropriated budget or a continuing appropriation. Fixed budgets must be adopted by ordinance or resolution, either for the government’s fiscal period or at the outset of a service project, debt issue, grant award, or capital project.
Annual/Biennial Appropriated Budget. A fixed budget adopted for the government’s fiscal period. The appropriated budget was traditionally used to determine a government’s property tax levy, and a ceiling on expenditures was made absolute so that the expenditures of a government unit would not exceed its revenues. This budget was also historically a balanced budget, estimated revenues equaling appropriations. The appropriated budget is still used to set tax levies and some budget statutes still require balanced budgets, but it is more generally used to authorize a specific amount of expenditures regardless of whether estimated resources meet or exceed that amount. Appropriated budgets are required by statute in cities (Chapter 35.32A RCW, Chapter 35.33 RCW and Chapter 35A.33 RCW), counties (Chapter 36.40 RCW), and most other local governments in Washington State. These budgets are also called legal budgets, adopted budgets, or formal budgets. The appropriated budgets should be adopted by ordinance or resolution.
Continuing Appropriation. A fixed budget which authorizes expenditures for a fiscal period that differs from the government’s fiscal year, such as capital projects, debt issues, grant awards, and other service projects. These expenditures require an ordinance or resolution to authorize the project, establish the assessment roll, adopt the debt amortization schedule, or accept the grant award. Such ordinances or resolutions set an absolute maximum or ceiling on the expenditures, but the time period for incurring expenditures does not coincide with the government’s fiscal year; it may even cover several years. The major difference between annual/biennial appropriated budgets and continuing appropriations is that the latter do not lapse at fiscal period end; this implies that no legislative action is required to amend the annual/biennial portion of a continuing appropriation, unless the total authorized expenditures would exceed the entire appropriation.
Flexible Budgets. Are usually regarded as managerial tools, which do not set a ceiling on expenses or expenditures but establish a plan for them at various levels of service. They are especially appropriate for the day-to-day operations of a public utility where it is essential to plan fluctuations in the demand for services and where revenues will automatically increase with demand, so that a balanced budget does not depend on establishing a ceiling for expenses.
Working Capital Budget. Combines flexible and fixed budget elements in one document for enterprise and internal service funds. Current operations are flexibly budgeted based on the estimated level of services to be provided and long-range sources and uses of assets are controlled by annual/biennial appropriations and continuing appropriations.
Capital Improvement Budget. Consists of two elements: the annual/biennial portion of capital projects and annual/biennial appropriations for the purchase, construction or replacement of major fixed assets in the current fiscal period.
Operating Budget. Presents the estimated expenditures and available resources necessary to provide the services for which the government was created. An operating budget will contain flexible budgets and fixed budgets; the fixed budgets will include annual/biennial appropriations for services and the annual/biennial portion of continuing appropriations for debt service and for service projects.
Encumbrances. Commitments related to unperformed (executory) contracts for goods or services should be utilized to the extent necessary to assure effective budgetary control and to facilitate cash planning. Encumbrances outstanding at year end represent the estimated amount of expenditures ultimately to result if unperformed contracts in process are completed; they do not constitute expenditures or liabilities.
126.96.36.199 The following principles of accounting and financial reporting are based on those set forth in the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards. The BARS manual permits accounting and financial reporting that conforms to these principles in all respects and requires GAAP municipalities to account and report in conformity with these principles, except that the annual report required is not as extensive as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
188.8.131.52 ACCOUNTING AND REPORTING CAPABILITIES
A governmental accounting system must make it possible both: (a) to present fairly and with full disclosure the funds and activities at the government in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles; and (b) to determine and demonstrate compliance with finance-related legal and contractual provisions.
184.108.40.206 FUND ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS
A governmental accounting system should be organized and operated on a fund basis. A fund is defined as a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with all related liabilities and residual equities or balances, and changes therein, which are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations. Fund financial statements should be used to report detailed information about primary government, including its blended component units. The focus of governmental and proprietary fund financial statements is on major funds.
220.127.116.11 TYPES OF FUNDS
In fund financial statements, governments should report governmental, proprietary, and fiduciary funds to the extent that they have activities that meet the criteria for using these funds.
Presented below is a system to classify all funds used by local government and the assignment of code numbers to identify each type of fund. A three digit code is used: the first digit identifies the fund type and the next two digits will be assigned by the governmental unit to identify each specific fund.
Code000 General (Current Expense) Fund – should be used to account for and report all financial resources not accounted for and reported in another fund.
Although a local government has to report only one general fund in its external financial reports, the government can have multiple general subfunds for its internal managerial purposes. These managerial subfunds have to be combined into one general fund for external financial reporting.
Code 100 Special Revenue Funds – should be used to account for and report the proceeds of specific revenue sources that are restricted or committed to expenditure for specific purposes other than debt service or capital projects. Restricted revenues are resources externally restricted by creditors, grantors, contributors or laws or regulations of other governments or restricted by law through constitutional provisions or enabling legislation (similar to restricted component of net position used in government-wide reporting). 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.).
The term proceeds of specific revenue sources establishes that one or more specific restricted or committed revenues should be foundation for a special revenue fund. They should be expected to continue to comprise a substantial portion of the inflows reported in the fund. While GASB Statement 54 has not provided a numeric range for substantial portion of inflows, it was recommended that at least 20 percent is a reasonable limit for reporting a special revenue fund. Local governments need to consider factors such as past resource history, future resource expectations and unusual current year inflows such as debt proceeds in their analysis.
They may use the calculation below to determine whether an activity would qualify for reporting as a special revenue 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.
Governments should discontinue reporting a special revenue fund, and instead report the fund’s remaining resources in the general fund, if the government no longer expects that a substantial portion of the inflows will derive from restricted or committed revenue sources.
The Statement requires all revenue to be recognized in the special revenue fund. If the resources are initially received in another fund, such as the general fund, and subsequently remitted to a special revenue fund, they should not be recognized as revenue in the fund initially receiving them. They should be recognized as revenue in the special revenue fund from which they will be expended. So, the local governments can either receive resources directly into the special revenue fund, or account for the resources as agency deposits in the receiving fund and, after remitting them, recognize them as revenue to the special revenue fund.
Special revenue funds should not be used to account for resources held in trust for individuals, private organizations, or other governments.
The general fund of a blended component unit should be reported as a special revenue fund.
The state statutes contain many requirements for special funds to account for different activities. The legally required funds do not always meet GAAP standards for external reporting. So, while the local governments are required to follow their legal requirements, they will have to make some adjustment to their fund structure for external financial reporting.
Code 200 Debt Service Funds – should be used to account for and report financial resources that are restricted, committed, or assigned to expenditure for principal and interest. Debt service funds should be used to report resources if legally mandated. 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 an agency 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.
Code 300 Capital Projects Funds – should be used to account for and report financial resources that are restricted, committed, or assigned to expenditure for capital outlays including the acquisition or construction of capital facilities or other capital assets. Capital outlays financed from general obligation bond proceeds should be accounted for through a capital projects fund. Capital project funds exclude those types of capital-related outflows financed by proprietary funds or for assets that will be held in trust for individuals, private organizations, or other governments (private-purpose trust funds).
Code 700 Permanent Funds – should be used to account for and report resources that are restricted to the extent that only earnings, and not principal, may be used for purposes that support the reporting government’s programs – that is for the benefit of the government or its citizens (public-purpose). Permanent funds do not include private-purpose trust funds which account for resources held in trust for individuals, private organizations, or other governments.
Code 400 Enterprise Funds – may be used to report any activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods or services. Enterprise funds are required for any activity whose principal revenue sources meet any of the following criteria:
Debt backed solely by a pledge of the net revenues from fees and charges.
Legal requirement to recover cost. An enterprise fund is required to be used if the cost of providing services for an activity including capital costs (such as depreciation or debt service) must be legally recovered through fees or charges.
Policy decision to recover cost. It is necessary to use an enterprise fund if the government’s policy is to establish activity fees or charges designed to recover the cost, including capital costs (such as depreciation or debt service).
These criteria should be applied in the context of the activity’s principal revenue source.
The term activity generally refers to programs and services. This term is not synonymous with fund. As a practical consequence, if an activity reported as a separate fund meets any of the three criteria, it should be an enterprise fund. Also, if a “multiple activity” fund (e.g., general fund) includes a significant activity whose principal revenue source meets any of these three criteria, the activity should be reclassified as an enterprise 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. Even if the fee is meant to cover the cost of the service, the county auditor function as a whole is primarily supported with tax dollars from the general fund. It would be allowable in this case to leave the activity all within general fund.
Finding an appropriate fund type requires a careful analysis since there is not always a clear choice. For example, building permit fees may be accounted for in the general fund or a special revenue fund in certain circumstances, such as when they are partially supported by taxes. However, if there is a pricing policy to recover the cost of issuing those individual building permits, they should be reported in an enterprise fund.
In addition, GAAP mandate the use of enterprise funds for the separately issued financial statement of public-entity risk pools. Public-entity risk pools also are accounted for as enterprise funds when they are included within a sponsoring government’s report, provided the sponsor is not the predominant participant in the arrangement. Otherwise, they can use the general fund.
Separate funds should not be reported for bond redemption, construction, reserves, or deposits, for any utility that is accounted for on the full accrual basis, using either the BARS accounts or a nationally recognized utility chart of accounts such as FERC or NARUC. Separate funds should not be reported even though bond covenants may stipulate a bond reserve fund, bond construction fund, etc. The bond covenant use of the term fund is not the same as the use in governmental accounting. For bond covenants, fund means only a segregation or separate account, not a self-balancing set of accounts. (See account 150 in the general ledger chart of accounts.)
Code 500 Internal Service Funds – may be used to report any activity that provides goods or services to other funds, departments or agencies of the government, or to other governments, on a cost-reimbursement basis. Internal service funds should be used only if the reporting government is the predominant participant in the activity. Otherwise, the activity should be reported in an enterprise fund.
Note: The new definitions of fiduciary funds per GASBS 84, Fiduciary Activities are required for reporting fiduciary activities in FY 2019 (i.e., reports submitted in 2020). Additional information regarding these changes is available here.
Code600 Fiduciary Funds – should be used to account for assets held by a government in a trustee capacity or as a custodian for individuals, private organizations, other governmental units, and/or other funds. These include (a) investment trust funds, (b) pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds, (c) private-purpose trust funds, and (d) custodial funds.
Code 600-609 Investment Trust Funds – should be used to report fiduciary activities from the external portion of investment pools and individual investment accounts that are held in a trust that meets the following criteria: the assets are (a) administered through a trust in which the government itself is not a beneficiary, (b) dedicated to providing benefits to recipients in accordance with the benefit terms, and (c) legally protected from the creditors of the government.
Code 610-619 Pension (and Other Employee Benefit) Trust Funds – should be used to report fiduciary activities for the following:
Pension plans and OPEB plans that are administered through trusts that meet the criteria in paragraphs 3 of GASB Statement 67 or paragraph 3 of GASB Statement 74, respectively.
Other employee benefit plans for which (1) resources are held in trust that meets the following criteria: the assets are (a) administered through a trust in which the government itself is not a beneficiary, (b) dedicated to providing benefits to recipients in accordance with the benefit terms, and (c) legally protected from the creditors of the government and (2) contributions to the trust and earnings on these contributions are irrevocable.
Code 620-629 Private-Purpose Trust Funds – should be used to report all fiduciary activities that (a) are not required to be reported in pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds or investment trust funds, and (b) are held in a trust that meets the following criteria: the assets are (a) administered through a trust in which the government itself is not a beneficiary, (b) dedicated to providing benefits to recipients in accordance with the benefit terms, and (c) legally protected from the creditors of the government.
Code 630-698 Custodial Funds – should be used to report all fiduciary activities that are not required to be reported in pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds, investment trust funds or private purpose trust funds. The external portion of the investment pools that are not held in trust that meets criteria listed above should be reported in a separate external investment pool fund column under the custodial funds classification.
Code 699 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 consider a custodial fund, it should be reported in a separate external investment pool fund column under the custodial funds classification.
NOTE: The custodial funds are required to be used by business-type activities and enterprise funds, if the assets, upon receipt, are normally expected to be held for more than three months.
18.104.22.168 NUMBER OF FUNDS
Governments should establish and maintain those funds required by law and sound financial administration. Only the minimum number of funds consistent with legal and operating requirements should be established. Using numerous funds results in inflexibility, undue complexity and inefficient financial administration.
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.
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 (internal) funds.
22.214.171.124 REPORTING CAPITAL ASSETS
A clear distinction should be made between general capital assets and capital assets of proprietary and fiduciary funds. Capital assets of proprietary funds should be reported in both the government-wide and fund financial statements. Capital assets of fiduciary funds should be reported only in the statement of fiduciary net position. All other capital assets of the government are general capital assets. They should not be reported as assets in governmental funds but should be reported in the governmental activities column in the government-wide statement of net position. The Capital Assets (3.3.9 - 3.3.11) sections of the BARS manual provide additional information regarding accounting and reporting of capital assets.
126.96.36.199 REPORTING LONG-TERM LIABILITIES
A clear distinction should be made between fund long-term liabilities and general long-term liabilities. 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. Long-term liabilities directly related to and expected to be paid from fiduciary funds should be reported in the statement of fiduciary net position. All other unmatured general long-term liabilities of the governmental unit should not be reported in governmental funds but should be reported in the governmental activities column in the government-wide statement of net position.
MEASUREMENT FOCUS AND BASIS OF ACCOUNTING IN THE BASIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
188.8.131.52 Government-Wide Financial Statements
The government-wide statement of net position and statement of activities should be prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Revenues, expenses, gains, losses, assets, and liabilities resulting from exchange and exchange-like transactions should be recognized when the exchange takes place. Revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities resulting from nonexchange transactions should be recognized in accordance with the GASB Statements 24 and 33.
184.108.40.206 Fund Financial Statements
In fund financial statements, the modified accrual or accrual basis of accounting, as appropriate, should be used in measuring financial position and operating results.
a. Financial statements for governmental funds should be presented using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting. Revenues should be recognized in the accounting period in which they become available and measurable. Expenditures should be recognized in the accounting period in which the fund liability is incurred, if measurable, except for unmatured interest on general long-term liabilities, which should be recognized when due.
b. Proprietary fund statements of net position and revenues, expenses, and changes in fund net position should be presented using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting.
c. Financial statements of fiduciary funds should be reported using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting, except for the recognition of certain liabilities of defined benefit pension plans and certain postemployment healthcare plans.
d. Transfers should be reported in the accounting period in which the interfund receivable and payable arise.
NOTE: The various fund types may be grouped in the following manner to more clearly portray their relationship to an accounting basis:
Flow of Current Financial Resources Measurement Focus Funds – use the modified accrual basis:
General (Current Expense) Fund
Special Revenue Funds
Debt Service Funds
Capital Projects Funds
Flow of Economic Resources Measurement Focus Funds – use full-accrual basis:
Internal Service Funds
Investment Trust Funds
Pension (and Other Employee Benefit) Trust Funds
Private-Purpose Trust Funds
External Investment Pool Fund
220.127.116.11 BUDGETING, BUDGETARY CONTROL, AND BUDGETARY REPORTING
a. An annual/biennial budget should be adopted by every government.
b. The accounting system should provide the basis for appropriate budgetary control.
c. 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. The budgetary comparison schedule should present both (a) the original and (b) the final appropriated budgets for the reporting period ad well as (c) actual inflows, outflows, and balances, stated on the government’s budgetary basis.
18.104.22.168 TRANSFER, REVENUE, EXPENDITURE, AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT CLASSIFICATIONS
a. Transfers should be classified separately from revenues and expenditures or expenses in the basic financial statements.
b. Proceeds of general long-term debt issues should be classified separately from revenues and expenditures in the governmental fund financial statements.
c. Governmental fund revenues should be classified by fund and source. Expenditures should be classified by fund, function (or program), organization unit, activity, character, and principal classes of objects.
d. Proprietary fund revenues should be reported by major sources, and expenses should be classified in essentially the same manner as those of similar business organizations, functions, or activities.
e. At a minimum, the statement of activities should present:
Activities accounted for in governmental funds by function, to coincide with the level of detail required in the governmental fund statement of revenues, expenditures, and changes in fund balances.
Activities accounted for in enterprise funds by different identifiable activities.
22.214.171.124 COMMON TERMINOLOGY AND CLASSIFICATION
A common terminology and classification should be used consistently throughout the budget, the accounts, and the financial reports of each fund.
126.96.36.199 ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORTS
a. General purpose external financial reports should be prepared and published. Governments engaged in governmental and business-type activities should include, at a minimum:
(1) Management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A).
(2) Basic financial statements. The basic financial statements should include:
Government-wide financial statements.
Fund financial statements.
Notes to the financial statements.
(3) Required supplementary information (RSI) other than MD&A.
Governments engaged only in business-type activities should present only the financial statements required for proprietary funds. They should include:
(1) Management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A)
(2) Proprietary fund financial statements consisting of:
Statement of net position
Statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in fund net position
Statement of cash flows
(3) Notes to the financial statements
(4) Required supplementary information (RSI) other than MD&A, if applicable.
b. The statements and reports listed above follow national standards of financial reporting. They should not be confused with legal reporting requirements, which are prescribed by the State Auditor’s Office for all local governments in Washington State. The legal requirements are consistent with these national standards, but they are not identical. Specific legal reporting requirements are contained in reporting part of this Manual.
c. A comprehensive annual financial report may be prepared and published, covering all activities of the primary government (including its blended component units) and providing an overview of all discretely presented component units of the reporting entity including introductory section, management's discussion and analysis (MD&A), basic financial statements, required supplementary information other than MD&A, combining and individual fund statements, schedules, narrative explanations, and statistical section. The reporting entity is the primary government (including its blended component units) and all discretely presented component units.
d. The financial reporting entity consists of (1) the primary government, (2) organizations for which the primary government is financially accountable, and (3) other organizations for which the nature and significance of their relationship with the primary government are such that exclusion would cause the reporting entity’ basic financial statements to be misleading or incomplete. The reporting entity's government-wide financial statements should display information about the reporting government as a whole distinguishing between the total primary government and its discretely presented component units as well as between the primary government's governmental and business-type activities. The reporting entity’s fund financial statements should present the primary government's (including its blended component units, which are, in substance, part of the primary government) major funds individually and nonmajor funds in the aggregate. Funds and component units that are fiduciary in nature should be reported only in the statements of fiduciary net position and changes in fiduciary net position.
e. The nucleus of a financial reporting entity usually is a primary government. However, a governmental organization other than a primary government (such as a component unit, joint venture, jointly governed organization, or other stand-alone government) serves as the nucleus for its own reporting entity when it issues separate financial statements. For all of these entities, the provisions the GASB Statement 14 should be applied in layers from the bottom up. At each layer, the definition and display provisions should be applied before the layer is included in the financial statements of the next level of the reporting government.
The following diagram illustrates the minimum requirements for general purpose external financial reports.
188.8.131.52 Comparative financial statements mean two complete sets of financial statements for each comparative year. Each set should contain basic financial statements (including notes) and RSI (including MD&A). Both years may be combined in one presentation; however, each element (MD&A, basic financial statements, notes and RSI) have to include information for both years.
1. Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A)
184.108.40.206 MD&A should introduce the basic financial statements and provide an analytical overview of the local government’s financial activities. It is part of the Required Supplementary Information (RSI), however it should be presented before the basic financial statements. The MD&A should provide an objective and easily readable analysis of the local government’s financial activities. It should include comparisons of current year to the prior year based on the government-wide information. It also includes information regarding the local government budget variances, capital assets, long-term debt activity, and a description of currently known facts, decisions, or conditions expected to have a significant effect on financial position or results of operations.
2. Basic Financial Statements
Government-Wide Financial Statements
220.127.116.11 The government-wide financial statements consist of a statement of net position and a statement of activities. They are prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Each statement distinguishes between the governmental and business-type activities of the primary government and its discretely presented component units.
Statement of Net Position
18.104.22.168 The statement of net position presents the local government as one economic unit rather than a compilation of different funds. The statement focuses on type of activities, rather than type of funds. Local governments should report all capital assets, including infrastructure assets in the government-wide statement of net position. The net position should be reported in three categories: net investment in capital assets, restricted and unrestricted.
Statement of Activities
22.214.171.124 The statement of activities is a report on the results of the local government’s operations. The statement presents the cost of each function and the extent to which each of the local government’s functions, programs or services either contributes to or takes away from the local government’s general revenue.
The required format provides:
Information indicating the extent to which current-year program revenues supported the cost of the current-year services, and
How the local government finances its activities.
Fund Financial Statements
Governmental Fund Financial Statements
126.96.36.199 Governmental funds should be reported using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting. These funds are presented by general fund; major funds, and aggregated nonmajor funds.
There are two statements required - the balance sheet and the statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balance. General capital assets and general long-term liabilities are not reported in the governmental fund balance sheet. (They are reported in the government-wide financial statements.)
188.8.131.52 The statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balance reports information about the inflows, outflows, and balances of current financial resources of each major governmental fund and for the nonmajor governmental funds in the aggregate.
184.108.40.206 Each statement reports separate columns for the general fund and for other major governmental and enterprise funds. Major funds are funds whose revenues, expenditures/expenses, assets, or liabilities (excluding extraordinary items) are at least 10 percent of corresponding element totals for all funds of that category or type and at least five percent of the corresponding element total for all governmental or enterprise funds combined. The local government may choose to report any other funds as a major fund if they believe they are important to users. The nonmajor funds are reported in aggregate in a separate column.
Proprietary Funds Financial Statements
220.127.116.11 There are three required fund financial statements for proprietary funds:
Statement of Net Position,
Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Fund Net Position, and
Statement of Cash Flows.
18.104.22.168 Proprietary funds continue to be presented on the economic resources measurement focus and the full accrual basis of accounting. Proprietary funds are reported the same way as in the government-wide financial statements. However, internal service funds should be reported as a fund type (aggregated) in a separate column. Major enterprise funds are reported in separate columns and nonmajor enterprise funds are aggregated in a single column.
22.214.171.124 The proprietary statement of net position presents assets and liabilities in a classified format. Restricted assets are reported separately. Net position should be reported in the following three components: net investment in capital assets, restricted and unrestricted.
126.96.36.199 The proprietary statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in fund net position reports in a specific format prescribed by the GASB Statement 34. All transactions that affect net position are included. Revenues are reported by major source. Expenses are reported by either detail (object) or function level. Revenues and expenses should distinguish between operating and nonoperating.
Fiduciary Fund Financial Statements
188.8.131.52 The following are required financial statements for fiduciary funds:
Statement of Fiduciary Net Position, and
Statement of Changes in Fiduciary Net Position.
The fiduciary statements are prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and full accrual basis of accounting (with some exceptions for liabilities for defined benefit pension plans and certain postemployment health care plans).
184.108.40.206 The statement of fiduciary net position should include information about the assets, liabilities, and net position for each fiduciary fund type and for similarly discretely presented component units of the reporting entity. The local government should provide details for all other fiduciary funds, or clearly indicate where the information is displayed.
220.127.116.11 The statement of changes in fiduciary net position should include information about the additions to, deductions from, and net increase (or decrease) for the year in net position for each fiduciary fund type and similar discretely presented component units. It should provide information about significant year-to-year changes in net position. The local government should provide additional details about investments and provide the level of details for all other fiduciary funds or clearly indicate where the information is displayed.
3. Notes to the Financial Statements
18.104.22.168 Notes to the financial statements are essential to fair presentation of the basic financial statements. The notes include the summary of significant accounting policies and summary disclosure of such matters as significant contingent liabilities, encumbrances outstanding, significant effects of subsequent events, pension plans, accumulated unpaid employee benefits (such as vacation and sick leave), material violations of finance-related legal and contractual provisions, debt service requirements to maturity, commitments under noncapitalized leases, construction and other significant commitments, any excess of expenditures over appropriations in individual funds, deficit balances of individual funds, and interfund receivables and payables. Any other disclosures necessary in the circumstances should also be included.
The NCGA has discussed the notes to financial statements in more detail in its Interpretation 6, which also provides guidance for presenting notes in a logical order.
4. Required Supplementary Information
22.214.171.124 Statements, schedules, statistical data, and other information the GASB deem necessary is reported as required supplementary information (RSI). Except for the MD&A, required supplementary information, including the budgetary comparison information, should be presented immediately following the notes to the financial statements.
There are four types of RSI (other than MD&A) that must be presented:
Budgetary comparisons (for the general fund and other individual special revenue funds), 
Infrastructure condition and maintenance data (for local governments using the modified approach),
Pension trend data (for certain pension plans and participating employers),
Revenue and claims development trend data (for public-entity risk pools).
126.96.36.199 In June 1991, GASB issued the Statement 14, The Reporting Entity, which is effective for financial statements for periods beginning after December 15, 1992. Statement 14 establishes standards for defining and reporting on the financial reporting entity and applies to financial reporting by primary governments, as well as to separately issued financial statements of governmental component units. The Statement 14 defines the financial reporting entity as consisting of (1) the primary government, (2) organizations for which the primary government is financially accountable and (3) other organizations for which the nature and significance of their relationship with the primary government are such that exclusion would cause the reporting entity’s financial statements to be misleading or incomplete.
188.8.131.52 A primary government is financially accountable for those organizations that make up its legal entity as well as legally separate organizations if the primary government appoints a voting majority of an organization’s governing body, and either it can impose its will on that organization or there is a potential for the organization to provide specific financial benefits to, or to impose specific financial burdens on, the primary government.
184.108.40.206 Most organizations determined to be component units under the Statement 14 should be included in the financial reporting entity by discrete presentation – that is, by presentation in one or more columns separate from the financial data of the primary government. However, some component units may, in substance, be the same as the primary government and should be reported as part of the reporting entity – that is, the component unit’s balances and transactions are reported in a manner similar to those of the primary government, by blending. It is likely that an organization considered to be a component unit under existing standards and blended will continue to be considered a component unit under the Statement 14; however, according to the Statement 14, that component unit will probably be reported by discrete presentation.
The following flowchart will help to determine the reporting status of an organization. Refer to the Statement’s Glossary for definitions of the various terms.
When accounting for the transfer of capital and financial assets and future revenues within the same financial reporting entity, the transferee should recognize the assets or future revenues received at the carrying value of the transferor. The difference between the amount paid (exclusive of amounts that may be refundable) and the carrying value of the assets transferred should be reported as a gain or loss by the transferor (revenue in governmental funds) and as a revenue or expenditure/expense by the transferee in a separately-issued statements, but reclassified as transfers in the financial statements of the reporting entity. Application of this Statement should be the same for both discretely presented and blended component units.
220.127.116.11 Hospital Districts: The General Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards, section Ho5.601 supersedes the June 1996 AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide, Health Care Organizations, to the extent of financial reporting. However, the Guide continues to provide guidance on individual transactions that are unique to healthcare organizations. The Guide is considered Category B guidance in the hierarchy of GAAP.
Notes to Financial Reporting Entity Flowchart
PG = primary government, that is, the entity preparing financial statements PCU = potential component unit, that is, the entity under consideration
1. An organization has separate legal standing if it is created as a body corporate or a body corporate and politic, or if it otherwise possesses the corporate powers that would distinguish it as being legally separate from the primary government.
2. Corporate powers give an organization the capacity to have a name; the right to sue and be sued in its own name without recourse to another state or local governmental unit; and the right to buy, sell, lease, and mortgage property in its own name.
3. The primary government’s appointment authority should be substantive and continuing. A primary government’s appointment authority is not substantive if the number of candidates is limited by the nominating process or if its responsibility is limited to confirming appointments made by individuals or groups other than the primary government’s officials or appointees. In the absence of continuing appointment authority, the ability of a primary government to unilaterally abolish an organization also provides the basis for ongoing accountability.
4. An organization is fiscally dependent if it cannot meet all three of the following requirements without substantive approval of a primary government:
Determine it budget,
Levy taxes or set rates or charges, and
Issue bonded debt.
It is also important to make a distinction between substantive and ministerial (compliance) approval. Ministerial approval is often a result of the general oversight of the respective state or local governments. This may include evaluation of programs, review for compliance with the statutory requirements, etc. Being subject to ministerial approval does not qualify an organization as fiscally dependent. Also, a primary government that is temporarily under the fiscal control of another government continues to be fiscally independent.
5. The benefit or burden relationship may result from legal entitlements or obligations, or it may be less formalized and exist because of a decision made by the primary government or agreements between the primary government and component unit.
An organization has a financial benefit or burden relationship with the primary government if any one of these conditions exists:
The primary government is legally entitled to or can otherwise access the organization’s resources.
The primary government is legally obligated or has otherwise assumed the obligation to finance deficits of, or provide financial support to, the organization.
The primary government is obligated in some manner for the debt of the organization.
Exchange transactions between organizations and the primary government are not considered a financial benefit or burden relationship.
The effect of the financial benefits or burdens on the primary government can be either direct or indirect. A direct effect occurs when the primary government itself is entitled to the resources or obligated for the deficits or debits of the organization. An indirect relationship occurs when one or more of the primary government’s component units is entitled to the resources and obligated for the deficits or debts of the organization. In both cases, the primary government has the benefit/burden relationship with the organization.
6. Certain organizations warrant inclusion because of the nature and significance of their relationship with the primary government, including their ongoing financial support of the primary government or its other component units. A legally separate, tax exempt organization should be reported as a discretely presented component unit if all of the following criteria are met:
The economic resources received or held by the organization are almost entirely for the direct benefit of the primary government, its component units, or its constituents.
The primary government is entitles to, or has the ability to otherwise access, a majority of the economic resources received or held by the separate organization.
The economic resources received or held by an individual organization that the specific primary government, or its component units, is entitled to, or has the ability to otherwise access, are significant to that primary government.
7. Other organizations should be evaluated as potential component units if they are closely related to or financially integrated with the primary government and included as component units if the nature and significance of their relationship with the primary governments is such that exclusion from the financial reporting entity would render the financial statements incomplete or misleading. It is a matter of professional judgment to determine whether the nature and the significance of a potential component unit’s relationship with the primary government warrant inclusion.
8. A primary government has the ability to impose its will on an organization if it can significantly influence the programs, projects, activities, or level of services performed or provided by the organization. The existence of any one of the following conditions indicates that the primary government has the ability to impose its will on an organization:
The ability to remove the appointed members of the organization’s governing body at will.
The ability to modify or approve the budget of the organization.
The ability to modify or approve the rate or fee changes affective revenues, such as water usage rate increases.
The ability to veto, overrule, or modify the decisions (other than those in b and c) of the organization’s governing body.
The ability to appoint, hire, reassign, or dismiss those persons responsible for the day-to-day operations (management) of the organization.
There may be other conditions indicating the possibility of imposing will. When assessing them, remember to make the distinction between substantive and ministerial approvals.
A potential component unit for which a primary government is financially accountable may be fiscally dependent on another government. An organization should be included as a component unit of only one reporting entity. Professional judgment should be used to determine the most appropriate reporting entity. A primary government that appoints a voting majority of the governing board of a component unit of another government should make the disclosures required for related organizations.
9. A component unit should be presented as blended when the component unit’s governing body is substantively the same as the governing body of the primary government and (1) there is a financial benefit/burden relationship between the primary government and the component unit or (2) management of the primary government has operational responsibility for the component unit.
10. A component unit should be presented as blended when the component unit provides services entirely, or almost entirely, to the primary government or otherwise exclusively, or almost exclusively, benefits the primary government even though it does not provide services directly to it. The essence of this type of arrangement is much the same as an internal service fund – the goods or services are provided to the government itself rather than to the citizenry.
The GASB Statement 14 (as amended by GASB Statements 34, 39, 61 and 80) allows flexibility in displaying the component units’ financial data. Please refer to the matrix in the Manual for a detailed listing of the possible displays for component units.