Local governments should periodically undertake a comprehensive evaluation of their fund structure to ensure that individual funds that became superfluous are eliminated from accounting and reporting.
Capital assets of proprietary funds should be reported in both the government-wide and fund financial statements. Capital assets of fiduciary funds should be reported only in the statement of fiduciary net position. All other capital assets of the government are general capital assets. They should not be reported as assets in governmental funds but should be reported in the governmental activities column in the government-wide statement of net position. The Capital Assets (BARS 3.3.9, 3.3.10 and 3.3.11) sections of the BARS manual provide additional information regarding accounting and reporting of capital assets.
A clear distinction should be made between fund long-term liabilities and general long-term liabilities. Long-term liabilities directly related to and expected to be paid from proprietary funds should be reported in the proprietary fund statement of net position and in the government-wide statement of net position. Long-term liabilities directly related to and expected to be paid from fiduciary funds should be reported in the statement of fiduciary net position. All other unmatured general long-term liabilities of the governmental unit should not be reported in governmental funds but should be reported in the governmental activities column in the government-wide statement of net position.
The government-wide statement of net position and statement of activities should be prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Revenues, expenses, gains, losses, assets, and liabilities resulting from exchange and exchange-like transactions should be recognized when the exchange takes place. Revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities resulting from nonexchange transactions should be recognized in accordance with the GASB Statements 24 and 33.
In fund financial statements, the modified accrual or accrual basis of accounting, as appropriate, should be used in measuring financial position and operating results.
a. Financial statements for governmental funds should be presented using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting. Revenues should be recognized in the accounting period in which they become available and measurable. Expenditures should be recognized in the accounting period in which the fund liability is incurred, if measurable, except for unmatured interest on general long-term liabilities, which should be recognized when due.
b. Proprietary fund statements of net position and revenues, expenses, and changes in fund net position should be presented using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting.
c. Financial statements of fiduciary funds should be reported using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting, except for the recognition of certain liabilities of defined benefit pension plans and certain postemployment healthcare plans.
Note: The various fund types may be grouped in the following manner to more clearly portray their relationship to an accounting basis:
Separate funds should not be reported for bond redemption, construction, reserves, or deposits, for any utility that is accounted for on the full accrual basis, using either the BARS accounts or a nationally recognized utility chart of accounts such as FERC or NARUC
Appropriation – The legal spending level authorized by a budget ordinance or resolution. Spending should not exceed this level without prior approval of the governing body.
Presented below is a system to classify all funds used by local government and the assignment of code numbers to identify each type of fund. A three digit code is used: the first digit identifies the fund type and the next two digits will be assigned by the governmental unit to identify each specific fund.
Note: Debt service funds should not be used in proprietary funds (400 and 500). Use enterprise funds (400) or internal service (500) for debt payments related to utilities and other business type activities.
Elected officials should be educated to the fact that accountability may be achieved effectively and efficiently by judicious use of department, program and other available account coding or cautious use of managerial (internal) funds
Separate funds should not be reported even though bond covenants may stipulate a bond reserve fund, bond construction fund, etc. The bond covenant use of the term fund is not the same as the use in governmental accounting. For bond covenants, fund means only a segregation or separate account, not a self-balancing set of accounts. (See account 150 in the general ledger chart of accounts.)
Governments should establish and maintain those funds required by law and sound financial administration. Only the minimum number of funds consistent with legal and operating requirements should be established. Using numerous funds results in inflexibility, undue complexity and inefficient financial administration.