Project of Uniform National Accounting and Reporting Implementation (2005 - 2008)

An analysis of the status of public sector accounting prepared in 2004 was conducted within the Project of Public Finance Management Reform (2002-2006). This analysis identified recommendations and steps which should be taken by the MoF in the future. These recommendations finally resulted in defining of the Project of Uniform National Accounting and Reporting Implementation. 

The objective of this Project was to make the accounting outputs of the Slovak public sector comparable within the EU Member States and closer to best practices used in financial reporting. This objective was possible to attain through the adoption of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the transition of their main principles into the national legislation governing accounting and reporting system of the central and local government organisations.  

The IPSAS issued by IPSASB (The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board) represent a platform recommended by experts for the purposes of unification (or further improving) of the public sector accounting which was adopted by a majority of the European Union Member States. The primary advantage of these standards lies in the fact that they are derived from the international accounting standards for the private sector (IAS/IFRS) establishing thus a uniform basis for data consolidation for the public sector which are then used to prepare statements compliant with ESA 2010 and GFS 2001.

Based on analysis of legal status in the year 2005, MoF has recognized that the greatest differences between the national legislation laying down the public sector accounting and the principles applied in the IPSAS were identified within the central government and the local government accounting, i.e. in the accounting system of state-funded (budgetary) organisations, state-subsidized organisations, state funds, municipalities and higher regional units. In total this group had approximately 8.000 units. Therefore, it was necessary to reform or develop a new methodology first for the central government and the local government.

The basic drawbacks of accounting procedures for the central government and the local government valid up to the year 2008 included in particular:

  • reporting primarily focusing on the requirements of the budget,
  • absence of program expenditure monitoring,
  • absence of a methodology allowing for accrual based establishment of the net income/loss of an accounting entity, i.e. based on comparison of accrued cost against income,
  • missing obligation of compilation and submission of an interim (quarterly) financial statement,
  • absence of the obligation to account for and create provisions and value adjustments with the aim to establish a real value ot the assets and liabilities in the central government and the local government, especially if market value is not available or usable,
  • significant differences in the application or non-application of the IPSAS key principles, particularly the principle of materiality, accrual basis, consistency, prudence and going concern.

After implementation of IPSAS principles, and particularly the accrual principle, into national accounting legislation, the central government and local government accounting (and later one, the accounting of whole public sector) had to comprise an information system which records, analyses, classifies, summarises, and interprets the results of the financial and economic activity of the public sector entities, and the impacts thereof with the objective of:

  • providing information to the management required for planning, organisation and control,
  • preparing and providing financial statements and other fiscal reports compiled in accordance with specific accounting and reporting standards for external users.

Solutions of the drawbacks of the central and local government accounting identified by the analysis of the status in this area lead through the realization of the Project of the Uniform National Accounting and Reporting Implementation consisting of the following steps:

  • development of a comprehensive definition of accounting in public sector which will contain the relationships of individual mutually supported components and will also be consistent with the standards and trends in other EU MS,
  • exercise of the ownership title of the MoF to detail accounting information of the public sector at the lowest level of its aggregation reported in such format and scope which would be compliant with all requirements,
  • specification of basic requirements for functionality and access to the information system for bookkeeping to ensure that they meet the requirements for the public sector accounting and reporting and that they are consistent with the standards and trends in other countries,
  • development, in accordance with the new public sector accounting definition, of a comprehensive accounting and reporting methodology for individual types of organisations to make it consistent with the standards and trends in other countries,
  • development of a vision and strategy for the state and public sector accountants to complete the required level of education and experience so that they are able to meet the requirements of the financial information users.

The basic objective of the Project should be attained through the attainment of three partial objectives focusing on 1.) accounting and reporting methodology, 2.) system support for the application of the new accounting and reporting methodology and 3.) quality of the education of state and public sector accountants. Project implementation schedule set the transition period from 2005 to 2007, with funding from state budget and also from EU sources, as follows:

Key Activities Time

1.) Project governance

(establishing of steering committee included external experts)

2005-2007

2.) The new accounting methodology preparation

(assessment of current status and IPSAS, SWOT analysis, proposal of the new chart of accounts and the new accounting procedures)

2005

3.) Trainings and education

(application of the new accounting methodology in practice, more than 10 000 participants were trained)

2005-2007

4.) Implementation of proposal

(implementation ot the pilot project on some budget chapters - ministries)

2006

5.) Legislation process

(submitting of comments to the new accounting standards and revision of proposed accounting procedures)

2006

6.) Expected implementation of the new accounting standards in practice

(the transition date from cash based accounting to accrual based accounting)

1.1.2007

7.) Expected first Consolidated Financial Statement

30.4.2008

Although the fulfilment of partial tasks of the schedule approved has been successful, the announcement of early election to the parliament (17 June 2006) hindered implementation from 1 January 2007. The day of 1 January 2008 was the earliest possible deadline for implementation causing, on one hand, a one-year delay in the project implementation and, on the other hand, creating a longer time period to train public sector accountants and users to accrual accounting standards.

Step Time
The new accrual accounting in place from 1.1.2008
First Consolidated Financial Statement in public sector 2010
First Audit of Consolidated Financial Statement in place 2011
First Annual Report for the State and Summarised Financial Statement 2012

Further information about the Project and about its preparathory phase are available in following documents and presentations: