The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is the independent organization that establishes and improves standards of accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments. Established in 1984 by agreement of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) and 10 national associations of state and local government officials, the GASB is recognized by governments, the accounting industry, and the capital markets as the official source of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for state and local governments.
Accounting and financial reporting standards designed for the government environment are essential because governments are fundamentally different from for-profit businesses. Furthermore, the information needs of the users of government financial statements are different from the needs of the users of private company financial statements. The GASB members and staff understand the unique characteristics of governments and the environment in which they operate.
The GASB is not a government entity; instead, it is an operating component of the FAF, which is a private sector not-for-profit entity. Funding for the GASB comes in part from sales of its own publications and in part from state and local governments and the municipal bond community. Its standards are not federal laws or regulations and the organization does not have enforcement authority. Compliance with GASB's standards, however, is enforced through the laws of some individual states and through the audit process, when auditors render opinions on the fairness of financial statement presentations in conformity with GAAP.
The mission of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board is to establish and improve standards of state and local governmental accounting and financial reporting that will result in useful information for users of financial reports and guide and educate the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of those financial reports.
For more information visit the Governmental Accounting Standard Board website: http://www.gasb.org.