Nebraska government accounting principles

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The Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts office is responsible for independent, accurate, and timely audits, evaluations, or investigations of the financial operations of Nebraska State and local governments. Mike Foley (dead link) has been Auditor of Public Accounts since his election in November of 2006. The office of the Auditor of Public Accounts is one of six offices making up the executive branch of Nebraska State Government. Nebraska's audit reports (dead link) are published online.[1]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Nebraska “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.[2] Nebraska's CAFRs are published online by the Nebraska Administrative Services Accounting Division.

Paul Carlson is State Accounting Administrator. State Accounting is a division of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and operates and maintains statewide financial systems. The division pre-audits agency transactions, issues statewide Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) and Budgetary Reports, and coordinates the long-term financing needs of the state. State Accounting also prepares the Statewide Cost Allocation Plan (SWCAP).[3]

Accounting transparency checklist

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Comprehensive Y
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Balanced budget Y
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Timeliness Y
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Usability P

The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 2002.[4]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 14 of the document.[5]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, starting on page 66.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Nebraska law requires a balanced budget and a deficit is forbidden.[6]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including long-term liabilities, starting on page 17 and 39 of the document.[5]
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 66 of the document.[5]
  • The Nebraska office was timely in submitting the budget.

The bad

  • The CAFR is posted in a PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.

External links