Accounting Best Practices

GFOA has approved the following best practice statements related to accounting.



Capital assets

  • Capitalization Thresholds for Capital Assets - GFOA recommends that governments consider set guidelines in establishing capitalization thresholds.  Guidelines are described in the best practice document.
  • Control Over Items That Are Not Capitalized - GFOA recommends that every government undertake a systematic effort to identify all of its controlled capital-type items.
  • Estimated Useful Lives of Capital Assets - The best source of relevant information on the estimated useful lives of a government’s capital assets normally is its own past experience with similar assets.
  • Inventories of Tangible Capital Assets - GFOA recommends that every state and local government periodically inventory its tangible capital assets so that all such assets are accounted for, at least on a test basis, no less often than once every five years. 
  • Modified Approach for Infrastructure Reporting GFOA recommends that governments consider the following factors in the process of deciding whether to use depreciation accounting or the modified approach for a given network or subsystem of infrastructure assets:Usefulness of data for managerial purposes, potential impact of prospective depreciation, Inherent capital bias, unmatched debt, reliance upon interested parties, and decreased comparability.




Disaster Recovery

  • Disaster Recovery for Technology - GFOA recommends that every government formally establish written policies and procedures for minimizing disruptions resulting from failures in computers or other advanced technologies following a disaster. These written policies and procedures should be evaluated annually and updated periodically, no less than once every three years.
  • Disaster Recovery Cost Documentation - GFOA urges state and local government financial managers to take all necessary steps to ensure that they will be able to collect and maintain adequate documentation on disaster-related costs to support maximum reimbursement from all levels of government that offer such assistance.



  • Grants Administration - GFOA recommends that governments establish processes to promote awareness throughout the government that grants normally come with significant requirements. 
  • OMB Uniform Guidance - GFOA recommends that governments take steps to ensure they fully comply with the provisions of the OMB’s Uniform Guidance.


Additional GFOA Resources


GFOA Conference





All Best Practices