An Elected Official's Guide: The New Pension Accounting

Stephen J. Gauthier
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Recently, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued a new standard that fundamentally changes how state and local governments account for the cost of pension benefits in their financial statements. The GFOA's publication "An Elected Official's Guide: The New Pension Accounting" uses a simple question-and-answer format to explain the "new pension accounting" in a way that is designed to be easily understandable even for those with little, if any, experience or background in accounting and financial reporting for pensions.

The booklet is organized into six parts:
- Pensions in the Public Sector - reviews the principal types of pension arrangements encountered in the public sector
- Funding the Cost of Pension Benefits - focuses on how employers fund the cost of pension benefits
- The New Pension Accounting - explains how employers account for the cost of pension benefits in their financial statements using the new pension accounting
- How Pension Accounting Has Changed - covers how the new pension accounting changes traditional pension accounting
- Pension Funding Policy - discusses the importance of a sound employer funding policy for pensions and the essential characteristics of such a policy
- Interpreting Pension Information - offers practical advice on how to evaluate whether a given pension arrangement is being adequately funded

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