The United Nations system is increasingly using International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) as an instrument to improve the quality of financial reporting, thereby increasing transparency and accountability. Twenty-four organizations of the United Nations system are now implementing IPSAS (with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS being the latest implementing organization). Thirteen organizations, with adoption dates ranging from 2012 to 2014, are currently in the process of IPSAS implementation. A list of organizations and their IPSAS implementation dates, as at 31 July 2011, is provided in annex I to the fourth progress report of the Secretary-General on the adoption of IPSAS by the United Nations (A/66/379).
All organizations that will implement IPSAS from 2012 to 2014 have reported to be on track with their project timelines. Implementation issues common to many United Nations system organizations have been closely monitored, discussed and reported by the System-wide Task Force on Accounting Standards of the High-level Committee on Management. The adoption of IPSAS is expected to substantially enhance the level of comparability of financial statements issued by the United Nations system organizations. With 10 United Nations system organizations having successfully implemented IPSAS by 2011, there is greater empirical evidence relating to harmonization of financial reporting. During 2011 and 2012, the system-wide IPSAS team carried out a comparison analysis of the IPSAS-compliant financial statements of eight United Nations organizations. In 2012, a Working Group was established by the Task Force on Accounting Standards to analyse IPSAS benefits and identify good practices on the basis of existing experiences in IPSAS implementation by United Nations system organizations with a view of harnessing IPSAS benefits for the system-wide level.