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), 21 organizations have completed their IPSAS implementation successfully, with 10 of them issuing their first IPSAS-compliant financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2012 and obtaining unqualified audit opinions in 2013. The 11 organizations which adopted IPSAS in prior years continued to obtain unqualified audit opinions on their IPSAS-compliant financial statements. Three organizations with an adoption date of 2014 have made significant progress, achieving several critical milestones, and are on track with their IPSAS implementation plans. These results attest to the capability of the United Nations system to adopt IPSAS and sustain compliance with IPSAS to improve the quality of financial reporting, enhancing transparency and accountability.
Focus of the United Nations system-wide IPSAS project has shifted from IPSAS implementation to supporting sustained IPSAS compliance and ensuring realization of the benefits of IPSAS. Some of these post-implementation activities come with challenges. Organizations continue to share experiences and leverage lessons learned bilaterally and through the Task Force on Accounting Standards. In 2013 the Task Force commissioned four thematic focus groups led by members of the Task Force and supported by the system-wide IPSAS project’s team to address the dividends and recurring costs of IPSAS implementation, the statement of internal control, reporting on inventories and useful lives of property, plant and equipment, and recognition of non-exchange revenue.