Accounting standards and methods
(1) CCAQ discussed the accounting treatment of refunds to the organizations from JSPF at its 29th (March 1968) and 38th (September 1973) sessions (CO-ORDINATION/R.679, paras. 7-11, and CO-ORDINATION/R.1004, para. 40). Such refunds were abolished in 1982 (A/37/9, para. 41, and A/RES 37/131, section I, para. 1).
(2) At the 37th session (March 1973: CO-ORDINATION/R.985, paras. 29 and 30) CCAQ recommended the adoption of principles put forward by the Panel of External Auditors for the accounting treatment of capital assets, as follows:
(a) Because of the nature of the activities of the United Nations, the specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the method of financing them and the system of accounting for expenditure are such that valuation and depreciation of buildings, furniture and equipment may not always be appropriate. An assets and liabilities statement showing only financial transactions and balances of a capital nature ("bilan financier") should normally suffice.
- Where the acquisition of fixed assets is being financed by loan, the fixed assets should be shown in the assets and liabilities statement as a contra to the outstanding balance of the loan, with an explanatory note (see paragraph c below);
- Where substantial trading stocks are held, the balance should be shown in the statement of assets and liabilities or in a separate trading fund statement.
(c) In the interests of full disclosure, there should in all cases be shown in a note or notes to the assets and liabilities statement:
- What real estate (if any) is owned, and its cost if known; and
- A brief statement of how other assets, if not shown in the assets and liabilities statement, are dealt with in the accounts (e.g. furniture, office equipment, vehicles, charged to expenditure accounts on purchase).
(d) Control over equipment and stores should be exercised by a system of inventories as required by the financial regulations.
(3) For accounting methods relating to the effects of currency instability, discussed at the 52nd session, see section 16.4.
(4) At the 52nd session the Committee also examined the first report of its Working Party on the Harmonization of Financial Statements. In the areas of concern to it, the Working Party had agreed that the recommendations of the International Accounting Standards Committee would serve as useful guidelines (ACC/1980/16, annex III, para. 3). At the 54th session (March 1981), further to a recommendation contained in the Working Party's second report, the Committee urged the organizations to follow the IASC standards as far as they were applicable in UN system (ACC/1981/10, para. 21(a)).
(5) Also at the 54th session, the Committee adopted an inter-organization standard proposed by the Working Party on the disclosure of accounting policies, and endorsed the related explanations and observations (ACC/1981/10, para. 21 (c)). These texts were based for the most part on corresponding material in IASC standard No. 1. As set out in the Working Party's report (ACC/1980/FB/68), they were in the following terms:
Disclosure of accounting policies
(a) Going concern, consistency, and accrual are fundamental accounting assumptions. Where fundamental accounting assumptions are followed in financial statements, disclosure of such assumptions is not required. If a fundamental accounting assumption is not followed, that fact should be disclosed together with the reasons.
(b) Prudence, substance over form, and materiality should govern the selection and application of accounting policies.
(c) Financial statements should include clear and concise disclosure of all significant accounting policies which have been used.
(d) The disclosure of the significant accounting policies used should be an integral part of the financial statements. The policies should normally be disclosed in one place.
(e) A change in an accounting policy that has a material effect in the current period or may have a material effect in subsequent periods should be disclosed together with the reasons. The effect of the change should, if material, be disclosed and quantified.
Explanations and observations
(a) Fundamental accounting assumptions (paragraph (a) of the proposed standard):
Going concern - the organization is normally viewed as a going concern, that is, as continuing in operation for the foreseeable future. It is assumed that the organization has neither the intention nor the necessity of liquidation or of curtailing materially the scale of its operations.
Consistency - It is assumed that accounting policies are consistent from one period to another.
Accrual - Revenues and costs are accrued, that is, recognized as they are earned or incurred (and not as money is received or paid) and recorded in the financial statements of the periods to which they relate. Since the organizations use various bases for accrual accounting, the method followed should be specified for each fund or group of funds concerned.
(b) Accounting policies (paragraph (b) of the proposed standard):
Prudence - Uncertainties inevitably surround many transactions. This should be recognized by exercising prudence in preparing financial statements. Prudence does not, however, justify the creation of secret or hidden reserves.
Substance over form - Transactions and other events should be accounted for and presented in accordance with their substance and financial reality and not merely with their legal form.
Additional explanations and observations
formulated by the Working Party
(c) Place of disclosure (paragraph (d) of the proposed standard):
Statements of significant accounting policies should be located in one place, either in the organization's financial report or, preferably, at the beginning of the notes to its financial statements. The arrangement adopted should ensure, through the use of cross-references if necessary, that the information in question forms an integral part of the financial statements.
(d) Changes in accounting policies (paragraph (e) of the proposed standard):
Quantification of the effect of changes in accounting policies should be possible in most instances and, where it is, should be carried out, in respect of the financial period concerned.
The Working Party also listed examples of areas in which differing accounting policies exist and disclosure of the treatment selected is therefore required (ACC/1980/FB/68, para. 18).
(6) With reference to this inter-organization standard, the Committee considered at the 56th session a communication from the Chairman of a Meeting of Chiefs of Internal Audit Services of the UN Organizations, expressing regret that two provisions of IASC standard No. 1 had not been included. These were the principles that "wrong or inappropriate treatment of items in balance sheets, income statements or profit and loss accounts, or other statements, is not rectified either by disclosure of accounting policies or by notes or explanatory material" and the requirement that comparative figures should be included in financial statements. The Committee concluded that the considerations which had led to its past decisions on these subjects remained valid (ACC/1982/6, paras. 13 and 14).
(7) At the 62nd session (March 1985) CCAQ was informed of a request of the Panel of External Auditors concerning further inter-organization work on financial statements, which among other things concerned the further development of accounting principles applicable to the system as a whole. Since this question was still under study by the Panel, the Committee agreed to return to it at a later stage (ACC/1985/7, paras. 31 and 32). At the 63rd session (September 1985) the Committee agreed that the extent to which the IASC standards were appropriate for use by the organizations, or could be adopted to meet their needs, might usefully be explored; it requested UN to examine the standards from this point of view and to report back (ACC/1985/17, paras. 22 and 23).
(8) At the 64th session (March 1986) the Committee had before it a communication from the Executive Secretary of the Panel on the adoption of common accounting standards, as well as the report requested from UN, containing a preliminary review of the applicability of international accounting standards to the organizations of the system. UN had found that about half of the standards might be relevant in their case. Although it had already been agreed that the organizations should comply to the extent appropriate with the standards of the IASC (see para. 4 above), the Committee agreed that the development of specific accounting standards for the system would be prohibitively difficult and costly in view of the diversity of financial procedures that had evolved in answer to the requirements of organizations that were operationally very different. However, it was agreed that all organizations should review the applicability of the existing IASC standards to their particular needs (ACC/1986/4, paras. 16-18).
(9) At the 66th session (March-April 1987) the Committee considered a message from the Panel of External Auditors commending the work done by UN (see paras. 7 and 8 above) and asking to be kept informed of progress by all organizations in the application of international accounting standards. The Committee noted that its members were now receiving through its secretariat the standards issued by IASC, so that organizations' accounting services could review them. Further co-ordinated measures were not judged necessary for the present (ACC/1987/6, paras. 9 and 10).
(10) At the 73rd session (September 1990) the Committee's attention was drawn to a request by the Governing Council of UNDP that the Administrator should discuss with the agencies of the system the feasibility and practicability of using Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as a system-wide unit of account. At the same time the Administrator was to prepare an indication of the potential cost to UNDP of introducing SDRs as its own unit of account. The Committee observed that from the budgetary point of view SDRs offered few advantages at present, as organizations had evolved other alternatives for countering the adverse effects of currency instability. For accounting purposes SDRs were inconvenient and could produce distorted results, and furthermore required complex and costly financial systems; it was unlikely that their use by organizations of the system would bring benefits commensurate with such costs. Finally the Committee observed that the potential cost consequences of the introduction of SDRs by UNDP could be estimated only on the basis of the uses to which they would be put and the implications of such uses; it asked UNDP for more guidance on those points. Individual organizations could then prepare estimates of the cost consequences to them (ACC/1990/12, paras. 28-32).
(11) At the 74th session (March 1991) the Committee agreed on the text of a statement for inclusion in the report of the Administrator to the Governing Council. It included estimates of the cost to UNDP of introducing SDRs as a unit of account in accordance with three scenarios, and expressed the Committee's view that the proposal should not be pursued. SDRs would not provide better protection than current arrangements against the effects of currency instability, and their use, particularly if extended outside UNDP, would create a number of administrative complications and lead to very substantial additional costs (ACC/1991/6, para. 26 and annex III).
(12) At both its 1991 sessions the Committee gave attention to a proposal emanating from the Panel of External Auditors for the development of common codified accounting standards specific to the United Nations system. The proposal was contained in an interim study by the Panel, carried out in pursuant to General Assembly resolution 45/235, which was to be submitted to the General Assembly through ACC and ACABQ. It was envisaged that the standards would not override the directives of governing bodies but would set out the best practice as it applied in the organizations. At its 74th session (March 1991) CCAQ expressed a number of reservations about this proposal and asked the Panel to elaborate on it (ACC/1991/6, paras. 27-30). At the 75th session (September 1991) it again considered the proposal, which was in slightly modified form and accompanied by further views of the Panel as well as information on the discussions in ACABQ. Although many of the reservations expressed at the 74th session were raised once again, the Committee agreed that the matter should be pursued and that this could best be done, on a co-operative basis and in stages, by the organizations themselves. The final objective would be a collection of accounting standards which took into consideration the particular situation of the organizations of the system as well as other recognized standards, including those of the International Accounting Standards Committee. As a first step the Committee agreed to convene in December 1991 a Working Party on Accounting Standards which would draw up proposals for its consideration. Preparatory work would be carried out in advance by a small informal working group (ACC/1991/18, paras. 34-39).
(13) A draft for an initial series of accounting standards for the UN system was before the Committee at the 76th session (March 1992), based on the report of the Working Party referred to in paragraph (12) above. The Committee agreed that the aim should be to make substantial progress by the end of 1992 and to produce a body of such standards by the end of 1993; the Working Party should meet again in May to carry out a critical review of the existing draft, to consider as many as possible of the policy issues that had come to light, and to recommend new or revised provisions (ACC/1992/11, paras. 11-16).
(14) Following the May 1992 meeting of the Working Party, a series of revised draft standards was submitted to the Committee at the 77th session (August-September 1992). Reviewing the policy issues which had arisen, the Committee agreed that prescriptive standards should be the objective wherever a substantial majority of the organizations followed or agreed to follow similar practices; where there was no substantial majority a limited number of options could be provided for. In the light of that decision the Working Party would need to re-examine the draft standards, particularly in certain areas, where specific needs for adjustments were identified by the Committee. The Working Party would meet again in December 1992 (a) to continue its critical review of the draft standards, (b) to study the views of the Panel of External Auditors (which was to review the draft standards in November) and take appropriate action, and (c) as far as possible, to continue to extend the coverage of the draft (ACC/1992/25, paras. 14-22).
(15) At the 78th session (March 1993) the Committee reviewed an annotated new revision of the standards, reflecting discussions at the Working Party's third meeting. It approved the Working Party's proposals for further work and related joint suggestions put forward during consultations between the Working Party's representatives and those of the Panel of External Auditors. The Committee expressed satisfaction with the professional quality of the work done and with the spirit of cooperation developed with the Panel. It was noted that in decision 47/443, of 22 December 1992, the General Assembly had requested that efforts to develop the standards should be completed and that the text should be taken into account in the preparation of organizations' financial statements for the period ending 31 December 1993. The Committee agreed that the Working Party should hold a fourth meeting to complete its work in June 1993 and that its report should also be submitted to the Technical Group of the Panel for observations. In the autumn of 1993 the Committee expected to be able to approve a complete set of accounting standards for the system, for presentation to the General Assembly at its 48th session, and thereafter, as necessary, to other governing bodies. In the submissions to be made to these bodies it would need to be pointed out that the standards were to be regarded as a "living document" subject to continuing review and development. As pointed out by representatives of the Panel, the process of full adaptation to the standards was likely to extend over several years, given inter alia that amendments to financial regulations would be involved in a number of cases. The Committee noted that in themselves the standards would not necessarily lead to greater uniformity in the presentation of organizations' financial reports and statements; it agreed that means of attaining such harmonization, which was a matter of priority, would be given further consideration at its next session (ACC/1993/7, paras. 32-39).
(16) At the 79th session (August-September 1993) the Committee reviewed the report of the fourth meeting of the Working Party and, subject to a few amendments, the third revised draft of the accounting standards which the Working Party had put forward. Representatives of the Panel, whose comments on the draft were also before the Committee, indicated that in the external auditors' view the text represented a sound set of accounting standards for the United Nations system. In line with the "living document" concept (see para. 15 above), the Working Party's report also recorded several subjects identified during its meetings for work at a later stage; the representatives of the Panel stated that the auditors would give attention to some of these during forthcoming issues to assist in clarifying the issues. It was confirmed that the standards would be taken into account, as requested by the General Assembly, in the preparation of financial statements for the period ending 31 December 1993; the process of full adaptations of organizations' financial practice to the requirements of the standards was, however, likely to extend over several years. Further development of the standards could begin after experience had been gained with their application during this transitional period (ACC/1993/23, paras. 31-35).
(17) The full text of the United Nations system accounting standards, as submitted to the General Assembly in A/48/530, 29 October 1993, and revised as a result of the work on harmonization for financial statements (see para. 19 below) appears in Handbook annex X. The original standards were noted by the General Assembly in resolution 48/216 C.
(18) Also at the 79th session the Committee returned to the related question of harmonization of the presentation of financial statements (see para. 15 above). It requested its secretariat to submit at the next session draft terms of reference for a Working Party on Financial Statements, open to all members of CCAQ(FB) which would be entrusted with the work foreseen. The Working Party was to hold its first meeting in mid-1994. The Committee also exchanged views on the question of disclosure in the financial statements of member organizations of UNJSPF of their contingent liability, under article 26(a) of the Regulations of the Fund, for any actuarial deficiency. The Committee requested UN to represent it during discussions of this subject which were scheduled to take place between representatives of the Committee of Actuaries of the Pension Board and members of the UN Board of Auditors (ibid., paras. 36-37).
(19) At its 83rd session (August - September 1995), CCAQ(FB) approved a revision of the accounting standards which incorporated the recommended formats for financial statements and general recommendations thereon which had resulted from the work, during 1994 and 1995, of its Working Party on Financial Statements. These revised standards are attached as Annex X. CCAQ(FB) also approved the following future programme of work on the accounting standards which would lead to a report to the GA on the application and development of the standards (ACC/1995/20, paras. 6 - 13):
(a) In the spring of 1996, organizations would be asked to report to the CCAQ(FB) secretariat general comments on or major problems with the application of the revised standards;
(b) A draft report to the GA would be prepared along the lines outlined above, which would be cleared initially with former Chairman of the Working Parties on Accounting Standards and Financial Statements and presented to the fall 1996 session of CCAQ(FB);
(c) CCAQ(FB) could decide at that time whether it wished to constitute another Working Party on Accounting Standards, to meet during 1997, to carry out a review of the standards, based on experience and including subjects carried forward and reactions of governing bodies.
(20) At its 84th Session, February 1996, the Chairman briefed the Committee on his meeting in December 1995 with the Technical Group of the Panel of External Auditors. The Committee would discuss at its next session the experience of organizations in applying the new United Nations accounting standards to the preparation of financial statements for the period ending December 1995 with a view to reporting thereon to the General Assembly. After the close of the 1995 accounts, organizations would be asked to report to the CCAQ(FB) secretariat on the application of the revised accounting standards (including the formats of financial statements). A draft report to the General Assembly would be prepared along the lines outlined above, which will be cleared initially with former Chairmen of the Working Parties on Accounting Standards and Financial Statements and presented to the next session of CCAQ(FB) for clearance. The Committee could decide at that time whether it would be necessary to constitute another Working Party on Accounting Standards, to meet during 1997, to carry out a review of the standards, based on experience and including subjects carried forward and the reactions of governing bodies.
At its 85th Session, August 1996,
(21) The Committee reviewed, and approved on behalf of ACC, a report ( see documents ACC/1996/FB/R.17; ACC/1996/FB/85/CRP.1) to the General Assembly covering the work undertaken on the standards since 1993, the date of the previous report (A/48/530). The report also covered organizations' experience in applying the revised standards to the latest financial statements, and plans for future development work, which would be undertaken by a CCAQ(FB) Working Party. It was agreed that there were a number of areas where further development work was needed on the standards and that accordingly a Working Party on Accounting Standards would be convened after governing bodies of organizations had reviewed the financial statements. The secretariat was requested to draw up draft Terms of Reference for the Working Party.
(22) The Chairman of the Technical Group of the Panel of External Auditors informed the Committee of the outcome of the December 1995 meeting of the Technical Group. Issues discussed at that meeting included the provision for delays in receipt of contributions; disclosure of contingent liabilities in the event of any deficit/ imbalance in pension funds; audit opinions; and audit access by donors. The Committee would be informed at its Spring session in 1997 of the views of the Panel of External Auditors on these issues, as discussed at the Panel's December 1996 meeting.
(23) At its 86th Session, February 1997, the Committee considered the further development of accounting standards taking into account the status report ( see Documents: ACC/1997/FB/R.2; ACC/1997/FB/86/CRP.8) made by the Secretary General to the General Assembly in 1996 and that the standards would be applied by organizations' External Auditors in their audit of the accounts for the financial period ending 31 December 1997. The Committee agreed to convene a Working Party in Paris, June 23-25 1997. The Committee approved the terms of reference for the Working Party.
(24) The Chairman of the Technical Group of the Panel of External Auditors informed the Committee of the outcome of the December 1996 meetings of the Panel and of the Technical Group. The Associate Director/International of the UK National Audit Office assisted with the briefing. The Committee expressed its appreciation for the briefing. The following issues were raised:
- disclosure of the valuation of liabilities arising from termination benefits;
- disclosure of non-expendable property in a more uniform way;
- the scope and nature of the cash flow statement;
- the need to establish clear accounting standards for the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund and for adequate pension disclosure by participating organizations;
- the need for uniform application of the existing standards relating to the provision for the delay in collection of assessed contributions; and
- the disclosure and valuation of voluntary contributions-in-kind.
These issues would be taken into consideration by the Working Party on Accounting Standards.
(25) At its 87th Session, New York, August 1997 the Committee approved on behalf of ACC revised texts of paragraphs 32, 34 and 57 of the United Nations Accounting Standards (UNAS) with respect to provisions for delays in the collection of contributions, the recognition and valuation of contributions in kind, and liabilities for end-of service benefits, post-retirement benefits and annual leave.. The Committee considered the report (document: ACC/1997/FB/R.22) of the Working Party on Accounting Standards,June 1997. WIPO kindly volunteered to coordinate production of a French translation of the revised texts. Organizations were encouraged to apply the revised UNAS to the presentation of their financial statements for the financial period ending 31 December 1997. The Committee also approved the Working Party's recommendation (see para. 19 of ACC/1997/FB/R.22) as to a mechanism for handling the development of the standards in the future and considered that the list of subjects meriting further study was appropriate at this stage.
(26) With respect to proposing a standard with regard to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), the Committee decided that this was the responsibility of the Pension Board, but noted that any finalized accounting standard proposed on this issue for incorporation in the UNAS must be submitted to the Committee for approval. The Committee noted, with an amendment, a text which might be included in a Note to the financial statements of member organizations in respect of participation in the UNJSPF. This text, given below, would be reconsidered when the UNJSPF submits its proposed accounting standards to the Committee.
Disclosure as to participation in the UNJSPF
........is a member organization participating in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) which was established by the United Nations General Assembly to provide retirement, death, disability and related benefits. The Pension Fund is a funded defined benefit plan. The financial obligation of the organization to the UNJSPF consists of its mandated contribution at the rate established by the United Nations General Assembly together with its share of any actuarial deficiency payments which might become payable pursuant to Article 26 of the Regulations of the Fund.
(27) At its 88th Session, September 1998, (see documents ACC/1998/FB/88/CRP.4 and CRP.9) the Committee recalled that it had previously agreed a mechanism (see para.19 of ACC/1997/FB/R.22) for handling the development of the standards in the future and had endorsed a list of subjects meriting further study. The Committee was due to review at its Spring session in 1999 the issues raised in connection with the financial statements for the financial period ended December 1997 at which time the review by Governing Bodies would have taken place. Mr. David Woodward, Chairman of the Technical Group of the Panel of External Auditors briefed participants on 5 major issues raised during the course of audits. He emphasized that the identification of issues requiring further refinement/clarification of the Accounting Standards should in no way detract from the Committee's significant achievement in developing the Standards. The Panel recognized that any further development was the responsibility of the Committee but members of the Panel stood ready to advise at all times. The Committee expressed its appreciation to Mr. Woodward for the work he had done in compiling the list of issues and for his valuable contributions to the Committee's discussions. It was confident that its good working relations with the Technical Group and, in particular, with its Chairman would continue and it would, as appropriate, avail itself of the assistance offered.
(28) The Committee decided that, in order to facilitate the work of a future Working Party on Accounting Standards, it should agree on a lead agency approach to undertake preparatory work on certain subjects which had been identified during the discussions. Such work would be without prejudice to the decisions to be taken at the next session as to the terms of reference and work programme of the future Working Party. After discussion of the issues previously identified as high priority and taking into consideration the issues identified by the Chairman of the Technical Group, the United Nations volunteered to act as lead agency for a preparatory study of the provisions for delays in payment of contributions. ILO volunteered as lead agency for the preparatory study of after-service benefits and UNHCR volunteered to act as lead agency for a preparatory study of the matching of income and expenditure with regard to voluntary contributions, focusing on the full accrual of income. The lead agencies would present a progress report at the Spring session of the Committee.
(29) The Committee decided to refer to a future session of a Working Party the proposal (see document ACC/1998/FB/88/CRP.14 ) to establish a standard covering the actuarial methodology used by the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) for valuations. The Working Party would also review an appropriate disclosure statement to be used by participating organizations in respect of participation in the UNJSPF.
(29) The Committee was provided a draft compilation (ACC/1998/FB/88/CRP.16) of data concerning the timing of submission of final accounts.
(30) At its 89th session (February 1999: ACC/1999/6, paras. 2, 28-30 and annex IV), the Committee was briefed by the Chairman of the Technical Group on the meetings in December 1998 of the Panel of External Auditors and its Technical Group. He emphasized that the identification of issues requiring further clarification or refinement of the UNAS was intended to assist the work of the Committee, which was responsible for their development. Following presentations by the lead agencies, the United Nations on the provision for delays in payment of contributions, ILO on after-service benefits and UNHCR on questions of matching income and expenditure with respect to voluntary contributions, the Committee agreed that it was appropriate to proceed with further refinement of the standards and decided to set up a Working Party, to meet in June 1999 in Geneva, hosted by ILO. The Terms of Reference for the Working Party were given in annex IV.
(31) At its 90th session (August-September 1999: ACC/1999/14, paras. 2,18-22 & annex III) the Committee, having reviewed the report of the Working Party on Accounting Standards, which had met in Geneva in June 1999, approved, on behalf of ACC, the revised UNAS 31, 32, 35, 48(iii) and 57 in annex III. The Committee was briefed again by the Chairman of the Technical Group of the Panel of External Auditors and thanked him for his valuable contributions to the Working Party's discussions and for the work he had undertaken in compiling the list of issues. It invited him to communicate to the Committee the outcome of any discussions by the Technical Group at its December 1999 session. It also agreed that the next Working Party should be scheduled for June 2000, not as a precedent for regular annual meetings but in order to maintain momentum and to benefit from the experience of those who had participated in earlier working parties. In order to facilitate the work of the next Working Party, it decided to continue to use a lead agency approach to undertake preparatory work on the three issues identified by the Working Party as having the highest priority. The United Nations and WHO volunteered to act as lead agencies for a preparatory study of unliquidated obligations, including obligations for salaries. UNDP volunteered to act as lead agency for the preparatory study of the treatment and disclosure of other assets (UNAS 48 (iv) and UNAS 49); and FAO volunteered to act as lead agency for a preparatory study of further consideration of standards relating to the UNJSPF and of adequate disclosure in the statements of participating organizations. A possible addition to UNAS 33, as suggested by the Chairman of the Technical Group, would also be reviewed by the Working Party. An informal Group of Geneva-based organizations would meet with the Secretary to review a possible list of accounting terms, to be added to the CCAQ Glossary, which would be considered by the Working Party.
(32) At its 91st session (August-September 2000: ACC/2000/6, paras. 2, 9-11, annexes III & IV) the Committee reviewed the report of the Working Party on Accounting Standards, which met in New York in June 2000, and noted that the use of lead agencies to undertake preparatory work had once more greatly assisted the participants and was to be encouraged in the future. After discussion, the Committee, on behalf of ACC, approved with minor amendments a revision to UNAS 49 on the inventory value of non-expendable equipment, furniture and motor vehicles and the addition of a new standard, UNAS 58 on the membership of organizations in the UNJSPF. The revised text of these UNAS was given in annex III. It also agreed that a further Working Party meeting should be planned for mid 2001, with terms of reference to be finalized at the next session of the Committee but with preparatory work starting on the subjects considered to be of highest priority, which were listed in annex IV.
(33) The Committee was also briefed by the Chairman of the Technical Group of the Panel of External Auditors on his participation in the meeting of the Working Party, his views on the proposed revisions to the UNAS and issues of interest to the Technical Group, as discussed at the Group's meeting in December 1999. He emphasized that the identification of issues meriting further review and refinement or clarification of the UNAS should in no way detract from the Committee's significant achievement in developing the Standards, which were a 'living document.' He supported the view expressed in the report of the Working Party that development of the Standards should be ongoing and welcomed the decision to hold a further meeting of the Working Party meeting in 2001 which would greatly assist the continuity of the process at a time when many who had been involved in development of the standards had retired or would be retiring soon. The Panel recognized that any further development of UNAS was the responsibility of the Committee, but members of the Panel stood ready to advise at all times. The Chairman noted that this would be the last meeting he attended as Chairman of the Technical Group. The Committee expressed its appreciation to him for his valuable contributions to the Working Party's discussions and for the work he had undertaken in briefing them on issues of interest to the Technical Group. It expressed the hope that the Technical Group would communicate to the Committee the outcome of any discussions at its next session, scheduled for December 2000.
(34) At its September 2001 session (ACC/2001/12, paras. 18-19) HLCM took note of the recommendations arising out of a June 2001 Working Party on Accounting Standards and concurred with proposed changes made to the UN Accounting Standards. The Chairman, in consultation with concerned members, would revert shortly to the policy question of the further development of the UN Standards in the context of the existing International Public Sector Accounting Standards under development by the Public Sector Committee of the International Federation of Accountants.
(35) At its March 2002 session (CEB/2002/3, para. 30 and annex V) HLCM, after a careful consideration of the issues raised by the Chairman of the Panel of External Auditors in respect of the continued development of UN Accounting Standards and the development by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), agreed on a response to the Chairman of the Panel of External Auditors confirming that a mechanism had been set up to ensure the review of seven areas of UNAS designated by the panel for review. The letter also indicated the Committee's agreement that particular issues affecting the United Nations system should be fully and effectively represented to the IFAC and that how best to put in place a mechanism to monitor and participate in IPSAS development would be pursued with IFAC.
(36) At the same session (ibid., para. 33) the Committee recognised the need to establish a sharply focused agenda of issues on which the financial and budgetary network should work both by electronic exchanges and through a meeting, if necessary, and including the issue of an appropriate mechanism for effective and timely follow-up work on accounting standards particularly with regard to monitoring and participating urgently in the development of IPSAS by IFAC.
(37) At its June 2003 session (CEB/2003/3, para. 33) HLCM agreed with the conclusions of the Task Force on Accounting Standards in terms of further work on updating UN Accounting Standards using, as appropriate, International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) but considered that the work should be pursued by the FB network with specialist, consultant or other dedicated support rather than by a permanent task force.
(38) At its February 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/12/Rev.1, paras. 4-6) FB Network considered proposals from the Task Force on Accounting Standards with respect to recommended changes to the UN Accounting Standards (CEB/2004/HLCM/7, Annex 4). It was of strategic importance to provide clarity and consistency in the approach taken by all the organizations, so that the accounting information was disclosed in a transparent manner in the financial statements of all UN system organizations. It was noted that with a greater emphasis on RBB, reporting on programme outcomes was increasingly important. Member States were increasingly being asked to approve strategic budgets that contained less detailed financial information than before. Thus, financial integrity and reliance on tight, consistent financial reporting was a significant element in supporting the RBB process. Support to financial integrity provided by accounting standards had therefore gained in importance. The Network agreed to recommend that HLCM (a) approve the suggested changes and that the changes should go into effect for the biennium 2004-2005, (b) emphasise the importance of the work on Phase 2 as shown in Annex 3 to the document and (c) request the Task Force to ensure that the dedicated resource, reviewing and recommending appropriate standards, should also recommend a time line for the adoption of the new standards by setting an end-date by which all organizations should have the new standards in place.
(39) At the same meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/12/Rev.1, paras. 7-8) the Network also considered a proposal of the Task Force for a project to take forward the development of Accounting Standards within the UN systems (CEB/2004/HLCM/7, Annex 3). Discussion also focused on the process to ensure the appropriate expertise to help review the impact of IPSAS on the UN system as a whole. This was a highly technical area in which organizations did not have the depth of expertise required to do this at an appropriate level. There was a need for a targeted spread of the vacancy announcement beyond the UN=s website so as to attract the best possible candidates. It was also proposed that consideration be given to engaging services from outside contractors who would potentially provide a wider range of expertise. The Network: (a) agreed that, once HLCM approved the project proposal contained in Annex 3, the Task Force should advertise the resource position in an appropriate publication (e.g. The Economist or The Financial Times) and to approach professional accounting organizations with a view to sourcing possible candidates; (b) considered that the selection panel for the appointment of the resource person should include representatives from at least three organisations in keeping with the support to be provided to the Chair of the Task Force; and (c) requested the Task Force also to explore the feasibility of engaging an accounting firm to undertake the review.
(40) At its 7th session (March 2004: CEB/2004/3, paras. 49-50) HLCM expressed support for the work of the Task Force on Accounting Standards (CEB/2004/HLCM/R.12) and a strong consensus recognized that an additional cost shared budget would be necessary to meet the project timetable for the necessary development of the standards. Some organizations had already received criticisms from their external auditors and there was a danger that this situation could ultimately affect funding. The Committee also expressed its concern that this had already been a lengthy process that needed to be resolved expeditiously. The Committee: (a) approved the changes to the Accounting Standards as contained in annex 1 to the CEB document, (which affected the following paragraphs in the Standards: 1, 28, 29, 31 (new paragraph), 46, 48, appendix III (A and B) statement II, and appendix IV (A and B) statement III and included the addition of a glossary of accounting and budgetary terms); (b) agreed that (i) a project resource should be recruited with the terms of reference to advance the development of United Nations accounting standards, as proposed by the FB Network, and including practical information on how and when to fully implement the recommended standard; (ii) a total project budget of $881,000 should be cost shared among organizations to fund such a resource, on the understanding that organizations would be billed on the actual expenditure; and (iii) the project timeline and deliverables set out by the Committee (CEB/2004/3, para. 50 (b)) should be strictly observed, noting that, although the original schedule had slipped, recruitment should start immediately.
(41) At its September 2004 video-conference (CEB/2004/HLCM/28, para. 16-17) the FB Network, in light of the agreement of HLCM (see para. (40) (b) (i) above), noted that the IPSAS Group which had met in July in New York had provided an opportunity for an exchange of ideas with the New York based organizations on the recruitment of a project resource to take forward the development of UN Accounting Standards and a meeting of the FB Network Task Force on Accounting Standards would be held in UNESCO the first week of December to coincide with a meeting of the Technical Panel of the UN Board of Auditors so as provide the opportunity for an exchange with members of the Panel. It also noted that information was being exchanged with NATO which had adopted the IPSAS and that NATO would provide expert advice at the next meeting of the Task Force.
(42) During the videoconference of the FB Network in February 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/6, paras.32-46), the project taskforce explained that it required a higher budget than had been projected due to support required around the IPSAS implementation; it would be $3,716,223. The Terms of Reference included objectives which referred to the requirements and implementation of IPSAS. The FB Network deemed these to be of critical importance, representing steps towards United Nations financial rule and regulation harmonisation. Given the complexity of implementation, the FB Network was unanimous in expressing the need for careful monitoring of the process. The FB Network supported the practical arrangements enshrined in the ToR document, which saw the project team reporting to a steering committee made up of the Chair of the Task Force, supported by three Task Force members and one external representative. A Task Force subgroup for Accounting Policy and Guidance would also be set up. The FB unanimously endorsed the ToR and the budget of the project (CEB/2006/HLCM/4/rev.1) and it was submitted to the HLCM for approval. The Task Force was to be formed and its work should start according to the terms of reference mentioned above.
(43) At its eleventh session in France in 2006 (CEB/2006/3, paras.35-38), the HLCM considered the terms of reference and budget proposed by the Task Force on Accounting Standards for the support and coordination of IPSAS adoption by the UN System. The budget was $4,427,000 for the period 2006-2009. The Committee noted that $710,777 in savings from the previous Accounting Standards project would be brought forward to the new project, leaving $3,716,223 to be shared out among participating organisations (CEB/2006/HLCM/4/Rev.1).
Noting the unanimous approval from the FB Network, both the terms of reference and the budget were approved by the Committee to allow for continued support and coordination of the IPSAS project. The Committee agreed that the budget, including a progress report on results achieved, would be reviewed in two years’ time to verify what had been achieved and what remained outstanding. The Committee asked that the Task Force keep HLCM updated on all developments with this project.
(44) In the August 2006 meeting of the FB Network (CEB/2006/HLCM/34, paras. 4-15), continued support was expressed for the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) with a reaffirmed commitment to IPSAS convergence with IAS/IFRS. Hope was expressed that further member states would contribute. In response to presentations on various aspects of the issue, the Network and the HCLM Task Force for Accounting Standards noted the need for a systematic approach to the budgeting issues created by the ISPAS move. The ISPAS Project Steering Committee would consider the governance and organisational structures required to ensure that adequate attention was conferred upon the issue; other organisations were invited to contribute to the ongoing work; and there was a sense of expectation expressed regarding early adopters sharing their experiences with those organisations working to the standard schedule.
(45) In the same meeting, the Task Force recommended (CEB/2006/HLCM/26) the following amendment to the wording of the UN Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS) in paragraph 3, which was unanimously endorsed by the Network (Changes in italics):
Where individual organisations find it necessary to depart from the practice set out in the standards they should disclose the reasons for doing so in the statement of significant accounting policies included in their financial statements. Where an organisation departs from the practices set out below in order to apply:
a) An IPSAS standard(s); and/or
b) An IFRS/IAS standard(s) applicable to a topic, when no IPSAS exists for a topic,
The organisation is deemed to comply with UNSAS, so long as the organisation complies with:
a) The IPSAS individual standard(s) in its entirety; and/or IFRS/IAS individual standard(s) in its entirety; and
b) All remaining UNSAS requirements
This would allow organisations to gradually adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) by 2010.
(46) At the FB Network meeting of August 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/34, paras.16-34), the IPSAS Project Steering Committee would consider the appropriate organizational and governance means through which to ensure adequate attention, analysis and guidance in connection with budget related aspects of IPSAS implementation in UN system organizations. In addition to ICAO and UNDP, the UN and UNESCO expressed interest in being actively involved in any future development on these subjects. Other organizations were welcomed to submit their candidature to be active part in this emerging area of work at the inter-agency level. Also, there was a general consensus on the fact that early adopters would actively share their experiences with the organizations that chose to follow the normal implementation schedule.
(47) After receiving a progress report (CEB/2006/HLCM/R.13) on the IPSAS project covering 1 March – 31 August 2006, which had seen the General Assembly endorse the adoption, the IPSAS project had almost completed its formation and was working within the framework of the HLCM Task Force on Accounting Standards and the Finance and Budget Network. At its meeting in Rome in 2006, the Committee noted that the IPSAS project was commonly cited as an instance of good coordination among UN agencies. It took note of the progress report, the Task Force on Accounting Standards and the IPSAS project team were asked to report into the Committee and its next session. The Committed unanimously approved the following amendment (CEB/2006/5, paras. 76-86), already endorsed by the FB Network, to be inserted in paragraph three of UNSAS, which would allow organisations to adopt IPSAS gradually (Changes in italics):
[Where individual organisations find it necessary to depart from the practice set out in the standards they should disclose the reasons for doing so in the statement of significant accounting policies included in their financial statements. Where an organisation departs from the practices set out below in order to apply:
a) An IPSAS standard(s); and/or
b) An IFRS/IAS standard(s) applicable to a topic, when no IPSAS exists for a topic, the organisation is deemed to comply with UNSAS, so long as the organisation complies with:
a) The IPSAS individual standard(s) in its entirety; and/or IFRS/IAS individual standard(s) in its entirety; and
b) All remaining UNSAS requirements.]
(48) At the seventh session of the FB Network (CEB/2007/HLCM/FB/10 23, paras. 5-20), it was decided that UN system organizations and the EC would ensure that maximum cooperation and communication be sought during the process of IPSAS adoption. Specifically, concrete ways to share resources and services – for example on training - would be pursued by both parties and harmonised accounting policies would be promoted.
(49) At the same session (ibid, paras. 21-24), FB Network members agreed to coordinate for a commonly agreed communication format and message for the upcoming briefing of 19 July 2007 to the “Geneva group” and to develop a strong external communication framework supporting the adoption of IPSAS across the UN system.
(50) At the same session (ibid, para.30), terms of reference for training materials and for the design and implementation of the “train the trainers” sessions (training at the specialist level) would be finalised during the month of August by the IPSAS Project Team. This would allow the actual training to start in the last months of 2007, consistently with the needs of early adopters.
The main objectives of the training programme were identified as follows:
to raise awareness in the largest possible community of stakeholders and users;
to make the main concepts and elements included in the IPSAS standards understandable ;
to integrate theoretical concepts with technical training on new information systems.
Three different target audiences would be covered by the training programme as currently imagined: “specialist level” (finance/budget departments), “working level” (staff processing or dealing with financial transactions) and “awareness level” (other relevant internal stakeholders affected by the new system), with a total population of trainees amounting to approximately 36,000 staff.
(51) At the same session (ibid, para.31-40), the IPSAS Task Force would continue to work on the most controversial issues (i.e. revenue and expense recognition, project assets, fund accounting) to have a complete set of accounting policies, recommendations and authoritative guidance within the timelines that would be agreed upon by the Steering Committee.
(52) At the same session (ibid, para.41-51), the FB Network approved the recommendations of the Task Force as contained in document CEB/2007/HLCM/FB/7. The three different types of output that the Task Force was expected to produce were defined in the paper as follows:
(a) ‘Accounting policies’ address explicit options within IPSAS. The reason for making accounting policies is to support consistency and comparability across the United Nations System, as well as supporting IPSAS compliance. United Nations System organizations will be expected to comply with accounting policy decisions that have been approved by the Finance and Budget Network.
(b) ‘Recommended accounting practices’ guide organizations to a usually acceptable accounting practice and support both consistency and compliance. ‘United Nations System organizations will be expected to apply recommended accounting practices that have been approved by the Finance and Budget Network.
(c) ‘Authoritative guidance’ supports organizations’ understanding of IPSAS. Authoritative guidance has an important role in supporting IPSAS compliance and system-wide consistency. They do not address options within standards, but explain what a standard means. Once the Task Force has agreed on authoritative guidance the Finance and Budget Network will be asked to endorse the guidance.
A synthetic version of CEB/2007/HLCM/FB/7 would be submitted to the next HLCM meeting.
(53) At its 14th session (CEB/2007/6), the Committee approved the recommended roll-forward of any remaining 2006-07 unencumbered funds for the IPSAS project into 2008-09, as outlined in detail in paragraphs 16-19 of CEB/2007/HLCM/25.
The Committee took note with appreciation of the progress report and invited the Task Force on Accounting Standards and the IPSAS Project Team to report again to HLCM at its next session.
(54) At the ninth session of the FB Network (CEB/2008/HLCM/FB/18, paras. 27-34), there were no accounting policies that required the FB Network approval; the two accounting policies considered by the Task Force (reference to CEB/2008/HLCM/FB/7) were not approved. The IPSAS Team and focus groups will further review the accounting policies related to IPSAS 25 – Employee Benefits and IPSAS 1 – Presentation of Financial Statements (approach to be adopted towards fund reporting) and present a new version of the related papers to the Task Force. Following discussions in the IPSAS Steering Committee, a proposal will be included in the progress report to the HLCM, which will be circulated to the FB Network for review and comments during August.
(55) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/5, paras. 110-112), the Committee took note with appreciation of the work carried out by the FB Network, and invited the Task Force on Accounting Standards to develop and submit to HLCM at its next session a detailed project work plan and budget to provide some continued support through 2010-11 from the system-wide IPSAS project, taking into consideration the necessary changes in the focus of the project and type of on-going support necessary for system-wide organizations.
The Committee noted the positive progress report on the IPSAS project and supported the Task Force recommendation that, should any organization need more time than the 2010 target date allowed, this fact should be recognized early enough to allow a stable roll-out of the organization’s IPSAS adoption project and, at the system-wide level, to allow clear communication and coordination with respect to IPSAS adoption.
The Committee also recommended that conclusions and decisions of its Networks be always accompanied by both technical and – when applicable – political justification and reasons, to provide HLCM with the information necessary for a more informed review and/or endorsement of the decisions taken.
(56) At its tenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/FB/4, paras.25-30), the FB Network took note of the concerns on the ability of UN system organizations not able to meet the 2010 target date, expressed by the Panel of External Auditors and supported by the information collected in the last IPSAS adoption progress report.
The Network mandated the IPSAS system wide team to carry out a new, in-depth analysis, possibly through an updated survey across member organizations, to provide a detailed and reliable picture of expected UN-system wide IPSAS implementation, with existing constraints, envisaged risks, and cost implications for delayed implementation.
The Network encouraged the United Nations IPSAS team to meet the established deadline of mid-2009 for the completion of the training materials for all courses to be included in the training suite. It appeared that, while the insufficient capacity of the system-wide team from November 2009 onwards and the consequent takeover of this task by the UN system team caused delays, the targeted completion date remained achievable.
It also endorsed the proposed work plan and related budget for 2010-11 of the system-wide IPSAS team and agreed to present it to the next HLCM meeting for approval. The system-wide support for IPSAS adoption in 2010-2011 will focus on the following three areas: administration and communication; accounting guidance and policies, IPSAS Board involvement. A detailed Work Plan was provided in the report: the proposed biennial budget amounted to USD 1,331,000, with a proposed staffing of 3 analysts and 1 part-time administrator. The actual funding requirement amounted to USD 477,000 (with USD 854,000 rolled-forward from the 2008-2009 budget, as outlined in document CEB/2009/HLCM/8).
(57) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/3, paras.35-37), the Committee endorsed the proposed framework for system wide support to be offered by the IPSAS Team to UN system organizations after the end of 2009 and during the IPSAS implementation phase, along with the corresponding work plan and budget (total budget for 2010-2011: USD 1,331,000, with actual funding requirement of USD 477,000 plus USD 854,000 rolled-forward from the 2008-2009 budget), as outlined in document CEB/2009/HLCM/8.
The Committee recommended that the issue of institutionalization of IPSAS support from 2012 onwards, aimed at ensuring a stable system-wide support to IPSAS implementation across the UN system, be further considered based on detailed proposals for different options to be developed by the FB Network.
The Committee requested the FB Network to carry out a new, in-depth analysis of the issue, possibly through an updated survey across member organizations, and produce a detailed and reliable picture of expected UN-system wide IPSAS implementation, with existing constraints, envisaged risks, and cost implications for delayed implementation. The Committee also requested all organizations to review their target date of IPSAS implementation taking into consideration concerns raised on risks associated with achieving it within each organization. It also asked them to adjust the target date if necessary and inform all stakeholders on a timely basis.
(58) At its eleventh session (CEB/2009/HLCM/FB/11, paras.3-10), the FB Network endorsed the recommendations of the IPSAS Task Force, approving one accounting policy and acknowledging 17 accounting papers as useful guidance (complete list of recommendations in Annex I, CEB/2009/HLCM/FB/6); Took note of the advancement of the IPSAS training project and reaffirmed the principle that organizations are individually responsible for planning and delivering IPSAS training; Encouraged organizations to produce training and communication plans, invest resources to develop their own capacity for training delivery, also through appointment of focal points for IPSAS training; Also noted that coordination of IPSAS training delivery at the system level is highly desirable and to be looked at; Translations of the training material into French and Spanish by the system-wide team would also be desirable, but would be considered in the subsequent phase of the system-wide project, compatibly with the team capacity and took note of the IPSASB Conceptual Framework and of the experience of WFP with their move to IPSAS and praised WFP’s initiative of a road show towards the UN system organizations to share the organization’s experience in implementing IPSAS.
(59) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.54-56), the HR Network reported that many organizations were asking for the IPSAS training materials.
(60) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, paras.52-58), the Committee took note of the progress report by the IPSAS Team, congratulated WFP on its successful implementation, appreciated the substantial progress made by several other organizations, and encouraged the Network not to lose momentum on this important task; Asked the FB Network Co-Chair to undertake consultations with the Board of Auditors and the Panel of External Auditors with a view to resolve the open issues on the subject of phased IPSAS implementation; Noted the importance of full support at the highest management level for a successful conclusion of the IPSAS adoption project; And requested the HLCM Chair to bring this issue to the attention of CEB at its next session.
(61) At its twelfth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/FB/9, paras.36-42), the FB Network took note of the IPSAS Progress Report as of 31 December 2009, to be presented at the February 2010 HLCM meeting; Endorsed the proposal to revise UNSAS paragraph 3 removing the 2010 deadline for gradual IPSAS implementation; Established the Working Group on Financial Reporting to Donors, confirming WHO as a lead agency and; Encouraged FB Network members to confirm their interest in joining the Working Group within one week by directly informing the CEB Secretariat.
(62) At its nineteenth session (CEB/2010/3, paras.63-69), the Committee took note of the progress report submitted by the IPSAS Task Force (CEB/2010/HLCM/9), approved the recommended amendment to the paragraph 3 of the United Nations System Accounting Standards (UNSAS), removing reference to the 2010 implementation deadline to reflect the extension of some organizations’ adoption beyond 2010 and requested the IPSAS Task Force to come back to the Committee at its next session with information and proposed modalities for the continuation of interagency support to agencies in their transition to IPSAS.
(63) At its thirteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/FB/30, paras.4-9), the FB Network took note of the progress of IPSAS implementation by the UN system organisations and various risks
that needed to be addressed by individual organisations on their way towards IPSAS compliance; and encouraged timely completion of the external review of the UN system-wide IPSAS project.
(64) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.100-113), the Committee took note of the IPSAS progress report, acknowledged advancement of the external review of the system-wide support project and looked forward to considering its recommendations at its spring 2011 session.
(65) At its fourteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/FB/33, paras.3-19), the FB Network decided to recommend the HLCM to extend the project team of the CEB System-wide IPSAS Process and Project until the end of 2013 with the presumption of continuation until 2015, based on the resources proposed in the report by dropping one P-3 which will ensure current staffing level at 1 P-5 and 2 P-4s, but increase the existing one GS support staff post from 50% to 100%. The Network further decided to recommend the HLCM to request a review of the system-wide IPSAS related activities before the end of 2013, reassessing the way forward beyond 2013, including the issue of institutionalization.
(66) At its fifteenth session (CEB/2011/HLCM/FB/8, paras.24-27), the FB Network agreed to the external review recommendations subject to amendments as presented below:
Recommendation 2: Steering Committee to be headed by the vice chairperson of the TFAS.
Recommendation 3: Present Steering Committee membership to be reviewed. Membership should be on an annual rotating basis.
Recommendation 4: Re-establish the position of vice chairperson of the TFAS with a two year rotation period.
Recommendation 5: Introduce rules of procedure for TFAS meetings including rules for issue resolution and decision making.
Recommendation 6: Revise the TOR in view of the changing requirements of UN system organizations in a post-implementation environment.
Recommendation 7: Explore the possibility of recruiting project team staff through a UN system organization with more flexible recruitment procedures, possibly using trust fund or project structures.
Recommendation 8: The project team leader should attend all meetings between the UN system and the IPSAS Board (IPSASB) and the Technical Group of Panel of External Auditors.
Recommendation 9: UN system representation at meetings with the Technical Group of Panel of External Auditors and IPSAS Board should include members of the FBN.
Recommendations 8 and 9 are believed to be important considering the auditors’ reservations to sign off new IPSAS compliant accounting policies adopted by the organizations.
(67) At its 21th session in Paris (CEB/2011/3, paras. 101-109), the Committee:
Took note of the IPSAS progress report and of the external review of the system-wide project.
Approved the extension of the project team until the end of 2013, with corresponding resource requirements of $1,502,000 for 2010 2011 and of $1,896,000 for 2012-2013, and with strategic orientations and activities as approved by the FB Network.
Decided that continuation of the Task Force until 2015 would be subject to a review of the system-wide IPSAS related activities to be undertaken before the end of 2013. The review would reassess the way forward beyond 2013, including resources required and the issue of institutionalization of the Task Force.
(68) At its seventeeth session in Turin (CEB/2011/HLCM/FB/21, paras.4-7), the FB Network:
a. Took note of the IPSAS Task Force activities and IPSAS implementation status.
b. Approved the Rules of Procedures of the Task Force subject to changes made in the Task Force meeting.
Referring to a briefing by the Task Force on Accounting Standards working group on Budget Reporting and Reconciliation under IPSAS, at the seventeeth session of the FB Network in Turin (CEB/2011/HLCM/FB/21, paras.46-49), the latter agreed that a working group will be established to conduct the study with the following objectives: clarify the definition of accrual budgeting, probe experiences of accrual budgeting in the public sector and member states governments, and prove the FB Network’s position referring to the views of external auditors. UNDP agreed to lead the group which will also include UN, UNFPA, ILO, UNESCO and WMO.