Financial Statements: How to Improve Coverage and Comprehensiveness?
An increased understanding of the need to strengthen transparency and the quality of financial reporting is driving many countries to make efforts to improve the coverage and accuracy of financial statements – one of the key aspects of transparent financial reporting. This includes, for example, the understandability, completeness, coverage and scope of the balance sheet.
To ensure quality of financial statements, strengthening of financial accounting and reporting is crucial. This includes inter alia strengthening of accounting standards and policies, better presenting government’s assets and liabilities, and consolidation processes and supporting systems. In South East Europe (SEE) many of these considerations are connected to accompanying reforms, such as transition to accrual accounting, moving toward international standards in statistical reporting and improving understanding of fiscal risks.
To address current challenges in financial reporting, we will engage finance officials from SEE ministries of finance in knowledge sharing on challenges they experience when preparing and disseminating financial statements.
What you will learn
This initiative will focus on annual financial statements and aim to facilitate discussion in countries that aim to improve their financial reporting practices. It will however provide a wider overview of principles, interlinked concepts, and reforms.
The learning initiative will provide an overall context of financial reporting, examine the connection between reliable financial reporting and move to accrual accounting, discuss the links between financial reporting and fiscal statistics, consider better coverage of reporting entities, stocks, flows, and the role of external audit and the practical challenges of addressing issues of broadening the scope and usefulness of financial statements.
During this workshop we will discuss the following topics:
- The overall context of financial reporting - who are users of financial statements, who should use the information, how can it be used, and how to build consensus for reform?
- International financial reporting good practices, principles and standards (IPSAS, GFS, IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Principles)
- Developing national accounting policies to assure consistency and uniformity, how accounting standards provide guidance on identification, recognition, measurement, and reporting of items; from accounting to reporting
- Financial reporting and fiscal statistics
- Year-end financial statements – concept of general purpose financial statements (balance sheet, statement of financial performance, a cash flow statement)
- Expanding coverage (covering the government as a whole, consolidation process, stocks, flows)
- Good practices in government financial information systems
- Role of external audit
How you will benefit
The aim of this workshop is to facilitate a discussion in countries that aim to improve their financial reporting.
By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:
- Understand the concept of financial reporting and describe the main features and uses of good quality financial statements
- Describe the steps a country could take to construct more complete balance sheet
- Describe relations between IPSASs, accrual accounting, and financial reporting
- Explain the importance of consolidation and associated process
- Describe the connection between financial reporting and fiscal statistics
- Identify practices and steps that could be used to expand coverage and produce more comprehensive financial statements
Who should attend
- Finance officials leading accounting and financial reporting reforms
- Finance officials responsible for financial reporting
- Finance officials involved in preparing accounting policies
- Public sector accountants
- Trainers who will be expected to prepare and implement reform programs to support accrual accounting compilers of government finance statistics
- External auditors
Applications need to be submitted no later than November 15 via online application form. Candidates will need to be approved by the CEF.
In the selection process, priority will be given to candidates from beneficiary countries while others will be considered according to the space availability. Selected candidates will be notified by November 22.
No fee will be charged for the officials working in the public sector. Coffee breaks and meals during the workshop will be provided.
The costs of travel and accommodation will have to be covered by the participants or their sponsoring institution.
The workshop will be highly participatory. Participants will be asked to share country experiences and challenges.
Participants will also be asked to complete a pre-workshop questionnaire.
Event will be in English only. Participants should have a good command of English language.
Suzanne Flynn, IMF PFM Advisor
Suzanne works for the IMF and has been based at the CEF since November 2016. She is technical assistance advisor for public financial management in South East Europe. At the CEF, Suzanne helps deliver learning programs related to her work. She joined the IMF eight years ago after six years working in East Africa with PwC and in the Ugandan treasury. She started her career in the UK public service in 1987, starting in central government, and qualifying as a CIPFA accountant in local government in 1991. Before embarking on her career in Africa, she spent 3 years working for CIPFA in London. She has also worked in a number of Asian and Central Asian countries, and worked with several governments in Europe. Her work is funded by the European Commission.
Deon Tanzer, IMF GFS Advisor
Deon works for the IMF and has been based at the CEF since September 2016. He is a technical advisor for government finance statistics (GFS) in South East Europe. He advises compilers in various national institutions on how to develop GFS data and data reporting, both for the IMF and the EU in compliance with the fiscal reporting requirements (the so-called Maastricht deficit and debt and the Excessive Deficit Procedure). Deon has gained extensive experience in GFS at the IMF and Statistics Netherlands. His work is funded by the Swiss Government.
Pascal Horni, lecturer and project leader at Zurich University of Applied Sciences
Pascal is a lecturer and project leader at Zurich University of Applied Sciences. He has 5 years of private and public sector accounting experience on all government levels, particularly in the fields of diagnostic PFM work, PFM project evaluations, capacity building, international consultancy, implementation of PFM specific activities. He gained international PFM experience in countries such as Switzerland, Serbia Kenya and various Sub-Saharan African countries.
This learning initiative was supported by: