Streamlining the Accounts



This publication provides practical suggestions on how the annual statement of accounts can strike a better balance between compliance with standards and providing clearer, simpler and more transparent information. It focuses on things that matter most in a local authority context.








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Local authorities are required to prepare their accounts in accordance with the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom issued by CIPFA/LASAAC. The adoption of IFRSs has meant a substantial increase in the amount of information reported and more recently, local authorities in England have delivered on early closedown.

Yet despite the quality and timeliness of local government financial reporting there is work to do to better translate the story of the financial sustainability of individual authorities and to build trust with local stakeholders by giving clear, simple and relevant information.

Streamlining the Accounts aims to supply practical ways of streamlining both financial statements and year-end financial processes. Through a combination of general guidance, case studies and worked examples the title will assist local authorities to improve the presentation and layout of their financial statements.

The publication is split into sections covering a range of issues relating to streamlining the presentation of local authority financial statements and streamlining the accounts closure processes. The sections cover:

  • improving the focus of the accounts
  • streamlining accounting policies
  • streamlining presentation and layout
  • reducing the audit process the chief finance officer’s responsibilities
  • governance statements
  • reducing the risk of error.

The publication promotes good and best practice but examples should be considered selectively and, if adopted, tailored to individual circumstances. Not all suggestions will be appropriate for every authority and many of them can be developed over time as part of local authorities’ own financial reporting improvement plans.

This publication is available in PDF format only.

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