Newly elected in the state of Washington? Get your required transparency training with this one simple post.

Pensive representative of governments advising each othersFirst, we’d like to congratulate you on your election to office in Washington. Our Office does business with governments large and small, local and state all over Washington. We are happy you are here with us, helping to serve the public and make Washington a great place for all its residents.

But did you know that you are required to take training on government transparency within 90 days of taking office? Government transparency is kind of a big deal to us. We want to make this easy on you. (And you could even remind your more experienced colleagues that the training is required once every four years.)

Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), partnered with the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), has some good training resources here for city elected officials:

Or, for even wider applicability for all types of governments, go to the Attorney General’s Office trainings here: https://www.atg.wa.gov/open-government-training

Thank you for your commitment to keeping government open and accountable to the people it serves.

Employer reporting requirements for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) have taken effect

Social Man Drawing Social Security BenefitsGovernmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 75, Accounting and Reporting for OPEB is effective for the Reporting Year 2018 (this year!). OPEB, or post-employment benefits other than pension, includes benefits such as healthcare provided through a pension plan or separately (medical, dental, vision, hearing, etc.) and other benefits when provided separately from a pension plan, such as: life insurance, long-term care, disability, and more. Continue reading

New standard out for auditors assessing a government’s financial condition

standards_binder--125269442.jpgPart of management’s responsibility for financial reporting and safeguarding of public resources is to regularly evaluate its financial condition and develop plans to address any serious issues. For financial reporting, both the Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) Manual and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 56 require disclosure in the notes to the financial statements regarding any situations that give rise to a substantial doubt about the government’s ability to continue to operate, along with management’s plans to address the situation.

While the BARS Manual and GASB standards address requirements for financial statement preparers, professional standards from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) address requirements for auditors. These standards require the auditor to independently consider the government’s financial condition and any disclosures to determine whether the financial statements are fairly presented. This existing responsibility was underscored by the AICPA’s new Statement on Auditing Standards No. 132, which is intended to bring more consistency and greater clarity to how auditors approach this important topic. Continue reading