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Governmental accounting is a specialized area that has undergone significant changes over the past few decades. As governmental accounting standards have developed, the complexities of preparing financial statements for governmental entities have greatly increased. Providing meaningful financial information to a wide range of users is not an easy task. Adding to these challenges, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has recently brought sweeping changes to the governmental financial reporting model.
Given this rapidly changing environment, the financial statement preparer needs a technical resource that provides more than accurate, competent technical information. The resource needs to be written to fit today's governmental accounting environment. It needs to take a fresh look at some of the long-standing accounting questions faced by governments and to provide meaningful up-to-date information on recently issued and soon-to-be-issued accounting pronouncements. Filling that need is the goal of this Guide.
The Guide is divided into four parts. Part I provides an overview of governmental accounting principles and the basic financial statements prepared by governments. Part II describes the various types of funds and account groups currently in use by governmental entities. Part III examines the areas that are either special to governments or where the accounting principles applied by governments differ significantly from those used in the private sector. Part IV examines the accounting and financial reporting requirements for several specific types of governmental entities. The Guide also includes a "Disclosure Checklist," which should prove very helpful in determining the completeness of a governmental entity's financial statement disclosures.
This book would not have come to fruition without the hard work and perseverance of a number of individuals. John DeRemigis of John Wiley & Sons had the confidence to work with me in developing the original concept for the book and in ensuring its continuing quality and success. Pam Miller's efforts in producing the book are greatly appreciated. Of course, none of the technical skills or publishing resources work well without a supportive family, for which I am grateful to my wife Marie, and my sons Christopher and Gregory.