ACCOUNTS PAYABLE.† A short-term liability account reflecting amounts owed to private persons or organizations for goods and services received by a government.
ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE.† An asset account reflecting amounts due from private persons or organizations for goods and services furnished by a government (but not including amounts due from other funds or other governments).
ACCRUAL BASIS.† The recording of the financial effects on a government of transactions and other events and circumstances that have cash consequences for the government in the periods in which those transactions, events and circumstances occur, rather than only in the periods in which cash is received or paid by the government.
ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION.† A contra-asset account used to report the accumulation of periodic credits to reflect the expiration of the estimated service life of capital assets.
ADVANCE FROM OTHER FUNDS.† A liability account used to record noncurrent portions of a long-term debt owed by one fund to another fund within the same reporting entity.† See DUE TO OTHER FUNDS and INTERFUND RECEIVABLE/PAYABLE.
ADVANCE TO OTHER FUNDS.† An asset account used to record noncurrent portions of a long-term loan from one fund to another fund within the same reporting entity.† See DUE FROM OTHER FUNDS.
AGENCY FUND.† A fund normally used to account for assets held by a government as an agent for individuals, private organizations or other governments and/or other funds
AMORTIZATION.† (1) The portion of the cost of a limited-life or intangible asset charged as an expense during a particular period.† (2) The reduction of debt by regular payments of principal and interest sufficient to retire the debt by maturity.
APPROPRIATION.† A legal authorization granted by a legislative body to make expenditures and to incur obligations for specific purposes.† An appropriation usually is limited in amount and time it may be expended.
ASSESSED VALUATION.† A valuation set upon real estate or other property by a government as a basis for levying taxes.
AUDITORíS REPORT.† In the context of a financial audit, a statement by the auditor describing the scope of the audit and the auditing standards applied in the examination, and setting forth the auditor's opinion on the fairness of presentation of the financial information in conformity with GAAP or some other comprehensive basis of accounting.
BALANCE SHEET.† The financial statement disclosing the assets, liabilities and equity of an entity at a specified date in conformity with GAAP.
BASIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (BFS).† The minimum combination of financial statements and note disclosures required for fair presentation in conformity with GAAP.† Basic financial statements have three components:† government-wide financial statements, fund financial statements and notes to the financial statements.
BASIS OF ACCOUNTING.† A term used to refer to when revenues, expenditures, expenses, and transfers - and the related assets and liabilities are recognized in the accounts and reported in the financial statements.† Specifically, it relates to the timing of the measurements made, regardless of the nature of the measurement, on either the cash or the accrual method.
BUDGET.† A plan of financial operation embodying an estimate of proposed expenditures for a given period and the proposed means of financing them.† Used without any modifier, the term usually indicates a financial plan for a single fiscal year.† The term "budget" is used in two senses in practice.† Sometimes it designates the financial plan presented to the appropriating governing body for adoption, and sometimes, the plan finally approved by that body.
BUDGETARY CONTROL.† The control or management of a government or enterprise in accordance with an approved budget to keep expenditures within the limitations of available appropriations and available revenues.
CAPITAL ASSETS.† Long-lived tangible assets obtained or controlled as a result of past transactions, events or circumstances.† Capital assets include buildings, equipment, improvements other than buildings, land and infrastructure.† In the private sector, these assets are referred to most often as property, plant and equipment.
CAPITAL EXPENDITURES.† Expenditures resulting in the acquisition of or addition to the government's general capital assets.
CAPITALIZATION POLICY.† The criteria used by a government to determine which outlays should be reported as capital assets.
CAPITAL LEASE.† An agreement that conveys the right to use property, plant or equipment, usually for a stated period of time. †See LEASE-PURCHASE AGREEMENTS.
CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND.† A fund created to account for financial resources to be used for the acquisition or construction of major capital facilities (other than those financed by proprietary funds and trust funds).
CASH BASIS.† A basis of accounting under which transactions are recognized only when cash is received or disbursed.
CASH WITH FISCAL AGENT.† An asset account reflecting deposits with fiscal agents, such as commercial banks, for the payment of bond principal and interest.
CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT FOR EXCELLENCE IN FINANCIAL REPORTING PROGRAM.† A voluntary program administered by the GFOA to encourage governments to publish efficiently organized and easily readable CAFRs/CUFRs and to provide technical assistance and peer recognition to the finance officers preparing them.
CHANGE IN THE FAIR VALUE OF INVESTMENTS.† The difference between the fair value of investments at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, taking into consideration investment purchases, sales, and redemptions.
COMPENSATED ABSENCES.† Absences, such as vacation, illness and holidays, for which it is expected employees will be paid.† The term does not encompass severance or termination pay, postretirement benefits, deferred compensation or other long-term fringe benefits, such as group insurance and long-term disability pay.
COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT (CAFR).† A financial report that encompasses all funds and component units of the government. The CAFR should contain (a) the basic financial statements and required supplementary information, (b) combining statements to support columns in the basic financial statements that aggregate information from more than one fund or component unit, and (c) individual fund statements as needed.† The CAFR is the governmental unitís official annual report and also should contain introductory information, schedules necessary to demonstrate compliance with finance-related legal and contractual provisions, and statistical data.
CONTINGENT LIABILITY.† Items that may become liabilities as a result of conditions undetermined at a given date, such as guarantees, pending lawsuits, judgments under appeal, unsettled disputed claims, unfilled purchase orders and uncompleted contracts.† Contingent liabilities should be disclosed within the financial statements (including the notes) when there is a reasonable possibility a loss may have been incurred.† Guarantees, however, should be disclosed even though the possibility of loss may be remote.
COST ĖSHARING MULTIPLE-EMPLOYER PLAN.† A single plan with pooling (cost-sharing) arrangements for the participating employers.† All risks, rewards, and costs, including benefit costs, are shared and are not attributed individually to the employers.† A single actuarial valuation covers all plan members and the same contribution rate(s) applies for each employer.
CURRENT FINANCIAL RESOURCES MEASUREMENT FOCUS.† Measurement focus according to which the aim of a set of financial statements is to report the near-term (current) inflows, outflows, and balances of expendable (spendable) financial resources.† The current financial resources measurement focus is unique to accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments and is used solely for reporting the financial position and results of operations of governmental funds.
DEBT.† An obligation resulting from the borrowing of money or from the purchase of goods and services.† Debts of governments include bonds, time warrants and notes.
DEBT SERVICE FUND.† A fund established to account for the accumulation of resources for, and the payment of, general long-term debt principal and interest.
DEFERRED CHARGES.† Expenditures that are not chargeable to the fiscal period in which they were made but that are carried as an asset on the balance sheet, pending amortization or other disposition (e.g. bond issuance costs).† Deferred charges differ from prepaid items in that they usually extend over a long period of time (more than five years) and are not regularly recurring costs of operation.
DEFERRED REVENUE.† Resource inflows that do not yet meet the criteria for revenue recognition.† Unearned amounts are always reported as deferred revenue.† In governmental funds, earned amounts also are reported as deferred revenue until they are available to liquidate liabilities of the current period.
DEFICIT.† (1) The excess of the liabilities of a fund over its assets.† (2) The excess of expenditures over revenues during an accounting period or, in the case of proprietary funds, the excess of expenses over revenues during an accounting period.
DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN.† A pension plan having terms that specify the amount of pension benefits to be provided at a future date or† after a certain period of time; the amount specified usually is a function of one or more factors such as age, years of service, and compensation.
DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION PLAN. A pension plan having terms that specify how contributions to a plan memberís account are to be determined, rather than the amount of retirement income the member is to receive. The amounts received by a member will depend only on the amount contributed to the memberís account, earnings on investments of those contributions, and forfeitures of contributions made for other members that may be allocated to the memberís account.
DEPRECIATION.† (1) Expiration in the service life of capital assets, other than wasting assets, attributable to wear and tear, deterioration, action of the physical elements, inadequacy and obsolescence.† (2)† The portion of the cost of a capital asset, other than a wasting asset, charged as an expense during a particular period.† In accounting for depreciation, the cost of a capital asset, less any salvage value, is prorated over the estimated service life of such an asset, and each period is charged with a portion of such cost.† Through this process, the entire cost of the asset is ultimately charged off as an expense.
DESIGNATED FUND BALANCE.† A portion of an unreserved fund balance that has been "earmarked" by the chief executive officer or the legislative body for specified purposes.
DUE FROM OTHER FUNDS.† An asset account used to indicate amounts owed to a particular fund by another fund for goods sold or services rendered.† This account includes only short-term obligations on open account, not interfund loans.
DUE TO OTHER FUNDS.† A liability account reflecting amounts owed by a particular fund to another fund for goods sold or services rendered.† These amounts include only short-term obligations on open account, not interfund loans.
ECONOMIC RESOURCES MEASUREMENT FOCUS. Measurement focus under which the aim of a set of financial statements is to report all inflows, outflows, and balances affecting or reflecting an entityís net assets. The economic resources measurement focus is used for proprietary and fiduciary funds, as well as for government-wide financial reporting.† It is also used by business enterprises in the private sector.
ENCUMBRANCES.† Commitments related to unperformed (executory) contracts for goods or services.† Used in budgeting, encumbrances are not GAAP expenditures or liabilities, but represent the estimated amount of expenditures ultimately to result if unperformed contracts in process are completed.
ENTERPRISE FUND.† Proprietary fund type used to report an activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods and services.
EXPENDITURE-DRIVEN GRANTS. Government-mandated or voluntary nonexchange transactions in which expenditure is the prime factor for determining eligibility.† Also referred to as reimbursement grants.
EXCHANGE-LIKE TRANSACTION.† Transaction in which there is an identifiable exchange between the reporting government and another party, but the values exchanged may not be quite equal or the direct benefits of the exchange may not be exclusively for the parties to the exchange.†
EXPENDITURES.† Decreases in net financial resources.† Expenditures include current operating expenses requiring the present or future use of net current assets, debt service and capital outlays, and intergovernmental grants, entitlement and shared revenues.
EXPENSES.† Outflows or other using up of assets or incurrences of liabilities (or a combination of both) from delivering or producing goods, rendering services or carrying out other activities that constitute the entity's ongoing major or central operations.
EXTERNAL AUDITORS. Independent auditors typically engaged to conduct an audit of a governmentís financial statements.
EXTERNAL INVESTMENT POOL.† An arrangement that commingles (pools) the moneys of more than one legally separate entity and invests, on the participantsí behalf, in an investment portfolio; one or more of the participants is not part of the sponsors reporting entity.† An external investment pool can be sponsored by an individual government, jointly by more than one government, or by a nongovernmental entity.† An investment pool that is sponsored by an individual state or local government is an external investment pool if it includes participation by a legally separate entity that is not part of the same reporting entity as the sponsoring government.† If a government-sponsored pool includes only the primary government and its component units, it is an internal investment pool and not an external investment pool.
FAIR VALUE.† The amount at which a financial instrument could be exchanged in a current transaction between willing parties, other than in a forced or liquidation sale.
FIDUCIARY FUNDS.† The trust and agency funds used to account for assets held by a government unit in a trustee capacity or as an agent for individuals, private organizations, other government units and/or other funds.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES.† Resources that are or will become available for spending. Financial resources include cash and resources ordinarily expected to be converted to cash (e.g. receivables, investments). Financial resources may also include inventories and prepaids (because they obviate the need to expend current available resources).
FISCAL AGENT.† A fiduciary agent, usually a bank or county treasurer, who performs the function of paying debt principal and interest when due.
FUND.† A fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts in which cash and other financial resources, all related liabilities and residual equities, or balances, and changes therein, are recorded and segregated to carry on specific activities or attain certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions or limitations.
FUND BALANCE.† The difference between fund assets and fund liabilities of governmental and similar trust funds.
FUND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS.† Basic financial statements presented on the basis of funds.† Term used in contrast with government-wide financial statements.
FUND TYPE.† Any one of seven categories into which all funds are classified in governmental accounting.† The seven fund types are:† general, special revenue, debt service, capital projects, enterprise, internal service, and trust and agency.
GENERAL REVENUES. All revenues that are not required to be reported as program revenues.† All taxes, even those that are levied for a specific purpose, are general revenues and should be reported by type of tax - for example, property tax, sales tax, transient occupancy tax.† All other nontax revenues (including interest, grants and contributions) that do not meet the criteria to be reported as program revenues should also be reported as general revenues.
GENERAL FUND.† The general fund is one of five governmental fund types and typically serves as the chief operating fund of the government.† The general fund is used to account for all financial resources except those required to be accounted for in another fund.
GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP).† The conventions, rules, and procedures that serve as the norm for the fair presentation of financial statements. The various sources of GAAP for state and local governments are set forth by SAS No. 69, The Meaning of ďPresent Fairly in Conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting PrinciplesĒ in the Independent Auditorís Report.
GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTING.† The composite activity of analyzing, recording, summarizing, reporting and interpreting the financial transactions of governments.
GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (GASB).† The ultimate authoritative accounting and financial reporting standard-setting body for state and local governments.† The GASB was established in June 1984 to replace the National Council on Governmental Accounting (NCGA).
GOVERNMENTAL FUNDS.† Funds generally used to account for tax-supported activities. There are five different types of governmental funds: the general fund, special revenue funds, debt service funds, capital projects funds and permanent funds.
GOVERNMENT-WIDE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS. Financial statements that incorporate all of a governmentís governmental and business-type activities, as well as its nonfiduciary component units.† There are two basic government-wide financial statements: the statement of net assets and the statement of net activities.† Both basic governmental financial statements are presented using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting.
INFRASTRUCTURE. Long-lived capital assets that normally are stationary in nature and normally can be preserved for a significantly greater number of years than most capital assets. Examples of infrastructure assets include roads, bridges, tunnels, drainage systems, water and sewer systems, dams and lighting systems.
INTERFUND RECEIVABLE/PAYABLE. †Short-term loans made by one fund to another, or the current portion of an advance to or from another fund.
INTERFUND TRANSFERS.† Flow of assets (such as cash or goods) between funds and blended component units of the primary government without equivalent flows of assets in return and without a requirement for payment.
INTERNAL SERVICE FUND.† A fund used to account for the financing of goods or services provided by one department or agency to other departments or agencies of a government, or to other governments, on a cost-reimbursement basis.
JOINT VENTURE.† A legal entity or other contractual arrangement in which a government participates as a separate and specific activity for the benefit of the public or service recipients and in which the government retains an ongoing financial interest.
LAPSE.† As applied to appropriations, the automatic termination of an appropriation.† Except for indeterminate appropriations and continuing appropriations, an appropriation is made for a certain period of time.† At the end of this period, any unexpended or unencumbered balance thereof lapses, unless otherwise provided by law.
LEASE-PURCHASE AGREEMENTS.† Contractual agreements that are termed leases, but that in substance are purchase contracts.
LEGAL LEVEL OF BUDGETARY CONTROL.† The level at which spending in excess of budgeted amounts would be a violation of law.
LEVEL OF BUDGETARY CONTROL.† The level at which a governmentís management may not reallocate resources without special approval from the legislative body.
LIABILITIES.† Probable future sacrifices of economic benefits, arising from present obligations of a particular entity to transfer assets or provide services to other entities in the future as a result of past transactions or events.
LOANS RECEIVABLE.† An asset account reflecting amounts loaned to individuals or organizations external to a government, including notes taken as security for such loans.† Loans to other funds and governments should be recorded and reported separately.
MAJOR FUND.† A governmental fund or enterprise fund reported as a separate column in the basic fund financial statements. The general fund is always a major fund.† Otherwise, major funds are funds whose revenues/expenditures, assets or liabilities are at least 10 percent of corresponding totals for all government or enterprise funds and at least 5 percent of the aggregate amount for all governmental and enterprise funds for the same item.† Any other government or enterprise fund may be reported as a major fund if the governmentís officials believe that fund is particularly important to financial statement users.
MANAGEMENTíS DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS. A component of required supplementary information used to introduce the basic financial statements and to provide an analytical overview of the governmentís financial activities.
MEASUREMENT FOCUS. †A way of presenting an entityís financial performance and position by considering which resources are measured (financial or economic) and when the effects of transactions or events involving those resources are recognized (the basis of accounting).† The measurement focus of government-wide financial statements, proprietary fund financial statements and fiduciary fund financial statements is economic resources. The measurement focus of governmental fund financial statements is current financial resources.
MODIFIED ACCRUAL BASIS.† The accrual basis of accounting adapted to the governmental fund-type measurement focus.† Under it, revenues and other financial resource increments (e.g. bond issue proceeds) are recognized when they become susceptible to accrual, that is when they become both "measurable" and "available to finance expenditures of the current period."† "Available" means collectible in the current period or soon enough thereafter to be used to pay liabilities of the current period.† Generally, expenditures are recognized when the fund liability is incurred.† All governmental funds, expendable trust funds and agency funds are accounted for using the modified accrual basis of accounting.
OTHER FINANCING SOURCES.† An increase in current financial resources that is reported separately from revenues to avoid distorting revenue trends. The use of the other financing sources category is limited to items so classified by GAAP.
OTHER FINANCING USES.† A decrease in current financial resources that is reported separately from expenditures to avoid distorting expenditure trends. The use of other financing uses category is limited to items so classified by GAAP.
OVERLAPPING DEBT.† The proportionate share property within each government must bear of the debts of all local governments located wholly or in part within the geographic boundaries of the reporting government.† Except for special assessment debt, the amount of debt of each unit applicable to the reporting unit is arrived at by (1) determining what percentage of the total assessed value of the overlapping jurisdiction lies within the limits of the reporting unit, and (2) applying this percentage to the total debt of the overlapping jurisdiction.† Special assessment debt is allocated on the basis of the ratio of assessment receivable in each jurisdiction, which will be used wholly or in part to pay off the debt, to total assessments receivable, which will be used wholly or in part for this purpose.
PROGRAM REVENUES. Term used in connection with the government-wide statement of activities.† Revenues that derive directly from the program itself or from parties outside the reporting governmentís taxpayers or citizenry, as a whole; they reduce the net cost of the function to be financed from the governmentís general revenues.
PROPRIETARY FUNDS.† Funds that focus on the determination of operating income, changes in net assets (or cost recovery), financial position, and cash flows. There are two different types of proprietary funds: enterprise funds and internal service funds.
REBATABLE ARBITRAGE. A term used in connection with the reinvestment of the proceeds of tax-exempt debt. A requirement to remit to the federal government interest revenue in excess of interest costs when the proceeds from the sale of tax-exempt securities are reinvested in a taxable money market instrument with a materially higher yield.
REPORTING ENTITY.† The oversight unit and all of its component units, if any, that are combined in the CAFR/BFS.
REQUIRED SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.† Consists of statements, schedules, statistical data or other information which, according to the GASB, is necessary to supplement, although not required to be a part of the basic financial statements.
RESERVED FUND BALANCE.† The portion of a governmental fundís net assets that is not available for appropriation.
RESTRICTED ASSETS.† Assets whose use is subject to constraints that are either (a) externally imposed by creditors (such as through debt covenants), grantors, contributors, or laws or regulations of other governments or (b) imposed by law through constitutional provisions or enabling legislation.
RESTRICTED NET ASSETS. A component of net assets calculated by reducing the carrying value of restricted assets by the amount of any related debt outstanding.
RETAINED EARNINGS.† An equity account reflecting the accumulated earnings of an enterprise or internal service fund.
REVENUE BONDS.† Bonds whose principal and interest are payable exclusively from earnings of an enterprise fund.† In addition to a pledge of revenues, such bonds sometimes contain a mortgage on the enterprise fund's property.
RISK MANAGEMENT.† All the ways and means used to avoid accidental loss or to reduce its consequences if it does occur.
SELF-INSURANCE.† A term often used to describe the retention by an entity of a risk of loss arising out of the ownership of property or from some other cause, instead of transferring that risk to an independent third party through the purchase of an insurance policy.† It is sometimes accompanied by the setting aside of assets to fund any related losses.† Because no insurance is involved, the term self-insurance is a misnomer.
SINGLE AUDIT.† An audit performed in accordance with the Single Audit Act of 1997 and Office of Management and Budgetís (OMB) Circular A-133, Audits of State and Local Governments and Non-Profit Organizations.† The Single Audit Act allows or requires governments (depending on the amount of federal assistance received) to have one audit performed to meet the needs of all federal agencies.
SPECIAL DISTRICT.† An independent unit of local government organized to perform a single government function or a restricted number of related functions.† Special districts usually have the power to incur debt and levy taxes; however, certain types of special districts are entirely dependent upon enterprise earnings and cannot impose taxes.† Examples of special districts are water districts, drainage districts, flood control districts, hospital districts, fire protection districts, transit authorities, port authorities and electric power authorities.
SPECIAL REVENUE FUND.† A fund used to account for the proceeds of specific revenue sources (other than expendable trusts or major capital projects) that are legally restricted to expenditure for specified purposes.†
TAX AND REVENUE ANTICIPATION NOTES (TRANS).† Notes issued in anticipation of the collection of taxes and revenues, usually retirable only from tax collections, and frequently only from the proceeds of the tax and revenues levy whose collection they anticipate.
TRUST FUNDS.† Funds used to account for assets held by a government in a trustee capacity for individuals, private organizations, other governments and/or other funds.
UNDESIGNATED UNRESERVED FUND BALANCE.† That portion of a fund balance that is available for spending or appropriation and has not been "earmarked" for specified purposes by the chief executive officer or the legislative body.
UNQUALIFIED OPINION.† An opinion rendered without reservation by the independent auditor that financial statements are fairly presented.
UNRESERVED FUND BALANCE.† That portion of a fund balance available for spending or appropriation in the future.
UNRESTRICTED NET ASSETS. That portion of net assets that is neither restricted not invested in capital assets (net of related debt).