260 FW 5
Statements of Federal Accounting
Concepts and Standards

FWM#:  412 (Supersedes 260 FW 5, 02/03/00, FWM 345)

Date:  November 26, 2002

Series:  Finance

Part 260:  Financial Management

Originating Office:  Division of Financial Management

  PDF Version

5.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter establishes Servicewide policy for collecting, maintaining, and reporting financial management information in accordance with Statements of Federal Financial Accounting Concepts (SFFAC) and Statements of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS). Exhibit 1 provides a brief summary of these key accounting concepts and standards.

5.2 How are accounting standards and concepts developed for the Federal Government? The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) develops accounting standards and principles for the United States government. Refer to Exhibit 1 for a list of all FASAB members and the Board's history. FASAB considers comments received from the public, Congress, managers, and other users of Federal financial information on its proposed standards and concepts, which are widely distributed as exposure drafts. After the Board concludes its deliberations on the information presented in exposure drafts, the Board presents a draft Statement to the Principals (Secretary of the Treasury, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, Comptroller of the United States) who have 90 days within which to review and deliberate. If none of the Principals object, the Statement is published by FASAB and becomes generally accepted accounting principles to be adhered to by Federal financial reporting entities.

5.3 What is Service policy for collecting and maintaining Service financial information? All financial events must be placed under general ledger control by ensuring that such events are communicated to and recorded in the Federal Financial System (FFS), our official financial management system. Other qualitative information describing Service assets (lands, facilities, and cultural or historical resources) and program performance is integral to accurate financial reporting. It includes information necessary to confirm the existence and value of assets held, coupled with condition assessments, liability estimates, and revenues generated. Such data is collected, updated, managed and maintained within programmatic line authorities over which administration of such assets are assigned and must be maintained, validated and reported consistent with Federal accounting standards and concepts.

A. External reporting. Qualitative and quantitative financial information that we publish or otherwise report to outside entities, must be managed and will be audited consistent with the requirements of Federal accounting standards and concepts.

B. Internal reporting. For internal management purposes, Service program and data managers may keep financial information on a basis that will support management's need to effectively manage programs.

5.4 What requires us to adhere to and use financial accounting standards and maintain associated systems?

A. Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982. Requires ongoing evaluations and reports of the adequacy of the systems of internal accounting and administrative control of each executive agency.

B. Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990.  Establishes comprehensive Federal financial accounting standards, and requires preparation of annual agency financial statements. Each annual statement must be audited to ensure compliance with financial accounting standards.

C. Government Management Reform Act of 1994. Requires audited Governmentwide financial statements. It also encourages the development of annual accountability reports. These reports consolidate program and financial performance data required by separate statutes.

D. Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996. Requires that audits of agency financial statements include an assessment of whether or not agency financial management systems comply substantially with Federal financial management systems requirements, with applicable Federal accounting standards and concepts, and with the U.S. Government Standard General Ledger at the transaction level.

E. OMB Circular A-134, Financial Accounting Principles and Standards. Establishes the policies and procedures for approving and publishing financial accounting principles and standards. It also establishes the policies that Executive agencies and OMB follow to seek and provide interpretations and other advice related to the standards.

F. OMB Circular A-11, Preparing, Submitting and Executing the Budget. Establishes the policies and procedures for all aspects of managing and reporting on the Federal Government budgetary activity, including policies and procedures governing the reporting of and accounting for financial transactions.

5.5 Who is responsible for ensuring that we meet financial standards?

A. Chief Financial Officer. The Assistant Director - Business Management and Operations is the Chief Financial Officer for the Service and is responsible for ensuring that all Service programs and systems adhere to applicable Federal accounting standards for collecting and using financial information.

B. Deputy Chief Financial Officer. The Deputy Assistant Director - Business Management and Operations is the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and has the authority to carry out the full range of functions of the Chief Financial Officer, except for budget formulation.

C. Regional and Assistant Directors. Regional and Assistant Directors will ensure that all financial information used for external reports to OMB and Treasury is in accordance with Federal accounting standards. Each Regional and Assistant Director will maintain internal accounting and administrative controls that are sufficient to ensure the accuracy of financial management data, and the communication of all financial events to the Service's official financial management system.

D. Chief, Division of Financial Management. The Chief, Division of Financial Management assists the Deputy Chief Financial Officer by:

(1) Issuing guidance on the application of Federal accounting standards.

(2) Directing the development and operation of the Service's official financial management system to ensure compliance with applicable standards.

(3) Providing assistance to programs in interpreting and applying Federal accounting standards to program activities and external reporting.

(4) Ensuring Service external financial reports comply with applicable standards.

For information on the specific content of this chapter, contact the Division of Financial Management.   For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb , in the Division of Policy and Directives Management, at  

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