Implementing the International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Since the adoption of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in 2006 by the United Nations system through High-level Committee on Management (CEB/2006/3), twenty-one organizations across the United Nations system have completed IPSAS implementation successfully and obtained unqualified audit opinions on their first and subsequent IPSAS-compliant financial statements. Three organizations with an adoption date of 2014 have completed the implementation and are in the process of preparing their first set of IPSAS-compliant financial statements. These results attest to the capability of the United Nations system to both adopt IPSAS and sustain compliance with the standards to improve the quality of financial reporting, enhancing transparency and accountability.
With most organizations now in the post-implementation period, improving efficiency of processes to support and enhance the quality of IPSAS-compliant financial statements and other financial reports, as well as sharing lessons learnt and best practices across the United Nations system remain a priority. In order to better support organizations, the focus of the system-wide IPSAS project shifted from IPSAS implementation to supporting sustained IPSAS compliance and ensuring the realization of the benefits of IPSAS.
In 2014 the Task Force on Accounting Standards commissioned thematic focus groups led by members of the group to address reporting on inventories; useful lives of property, plant and equipment; intangible assets; and accounting for assets with limited supporting documentation. The system-wide IPSAS project team continued to support the Task Force by facilitating its meetings and communication with high-level committees and external auditors, actively monitoring the activities of the IPSAS Board, coordinating IPSAS-compliant financial reporting diversity, and providing guidance and support in areas of special interest identified by the Task Force. Some of the tasks carried out in 2014 include a review of accounting policies on assets and non-exchange revenue, and a comparison of terminology used in IPSAS-compliant financial statements of the United Nations system organizations.