Georgia government accounting principles

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The Georgia State Accounting Office was established on October 6, 2004 with an executive order signed by Governor Sonny Perdue. Governor Perdue signed House Bill 293, which codified the realignment of the state's financial reporting and financial system responsibilities under a single State Accounting Officer (SAO). Greg Griffin (dead link) was appointed Georgia's State Accounting Officer in August 2008. The State Accounting Office is responsible for the following duties:[1]
  • Establishing statewide accounting and reporting standards and practices.
  • Operating and improving statewide financial and human capital management systems.
  • Preparing the state's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR); the annual audited financial statement for the entire state entity.
  • Providing statewide financial information on interim basis.
  • Training state accounting and payroll personnel in new polices, procedures and standards.
  • Improving accountability, efficiencies and internal controls.

The Georgia Department of Audits is responsible for state financial accountability. The State Auditor is Russell Hinton.[2]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Georgia “Tardy” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 23 states timely, 24 states tardy, and 3 states excessively tardy. IFTA does not consider the state's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[3] Georgia's (timed out) CAFRs are published online by the Georgia Department of Audit.[4]

Accounting transparency checklist

Truth 2.png

Comprehensive Y
600px-Yes check.png
Balanced budget Y
600px-Yes check.png
Timeliness P
Usability P

The good

  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 1 of the document.[5]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, such as non-major Governmental funds, starting on page 124 of the document.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Georgia law requires a balanced budget and prohibits a deficit at the end of the year to be carried over to the following year.[6]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including future liabilities, starting on page 89 of the document.
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 106 of the document.

The bad

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR), but only those dating back to 2005.[5]
  • The Georgia office was not precisely timely in submitting the budget.
  • The CAFR is posted in PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.

Gov. Perdue has commented on Georgia's high credit rating stating, “We have maintained triple-a bond ratings, saving the state tens of millions of dollars, and funded our top priorities to ensure the basic responsibilities of state government are being met.”[7]

See also:

External links