Accounting and Auditing Standards: A Public Services Perspective (2013 Edition)



This revised edition provides an overview of standard setting as it affects public services in the UK, explaining the process by which standards are interpreted or adapted for the different public service sectors, and the key differences from private sector practice.







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There have been relatively few changes to international standards since the fourth edition was issued, partly to give auditors and preparers a period of calm in which to let the standards settle after a period of prolonged development. Standard setters have however been active in other ways:

  • The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board has substantially progressed the development of a conceptual framework for public sector financial reporting, and has consulted on, and issued guidance on, wider reporting outside of the financial statements.
  • The International Accounting Standards Board has concentrated on developing improved reporting on financial instruments in the light of stakeholder and regulator demands arising from the economic crisis, and completing three projects on accounting for revenue, leases and insurance contracts.
  • The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board initially focused on non-audit assurance including reporting on sustainability initiatives. More recently it has progressed initiatives on auditor reporting and audit quality.

This guide also reflects changes in the UK standard setting and public services environments since 2010. Financial reporting based on EU-adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for all public sector bodies has bedded in, and Whole of Government Accounts on an IFRS basis have been published.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued Financial Reporting Standard 102 which, from January 2015, will be the new face of UK GAAP. This incorporates special guidance for non-governmental public benefit entities such as charities, social housing and education institutions. While the FRC remains, its constituent standard-setting bodies have been replaced by a single Codes and Standards Committee advised by a number of advisory panels.

The structure of public sector audit has also changed, with all local authority audits being transferred away from the Audit Commission, which is now winding down.

This guide will be a useful overview for practitioners, accountancy students and all those interested in financial reporting and audit in the public services.

This guide is available in book and PDF formats. Details of licensing arrangements for other categories of purchaser, which includes those organisations operating shared service arrangements, are available from CIPFA’s Publications Department.

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