The IASB offers an international accounting framework that is composed of IAS-IFRS, supplemented by interpretations (SIC-IFRIC) for the private sector, IFAC, through one of its entities: the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB), has drawn up a framework on January 1, 2007 consisting of twenty-four accounting standards known as IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards). Twenty-one of these standards are largely based on IAS-IFRS. As for standards 22, 23 and 24, they are intended for the public sector, and have been developed without reference to IAS.
IPSAS, which were established by the IPSASB in 1996, are now applied by international organizations such as the European Union Commission , the OECD, IFAC, and NATO. A high-level UN committee has recommended that they should be adopted by UN agencies. The World Bank and the IMF encouraged the countries in which they operated to develop the use of IPSAS. In many countries, states have chosen to openly draw on IPSAS to elaborate national accounting standards for the public sector. For example, thirteen accounting standards were developed in France within the framework of the Organic Law of 1 August 2001 regarding the institutional law on financial legislation. This process was carried out in the context of transparency, which led to the authentication of the state accounts by the Court of Auditors.
International accounting standards tend to develop in both the private and public sectors. Why does the latter need to have a set of accounting standards drawn up by a suitable transposition of IAS-IFRS? In other words, what are the contributions of international accounting standards to the public sector? What are the limits of these accounting standards for the public sector? The main working assumption that feeds our problem is to say that, despite the specificities of the public sector, it obeys modern and effective management requirements as well as accountability like the private sector.
Goals of International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The purpose of IPSAS is to improve the quality of financial information for public-sector entities in order to enable resource allocation decisions based on more reliable information, thereby improving financial transparency and accountability in this field.
The IPSAS are standards intended to be used by national public, regional (i.e. local authorities…), local institutions (municipalities, urban communities), and any public entity (agency, authority, commission…). IPSAS are widely used by intergovernmental and international organizations. IPSAS do not apply to public corporations with a commercial status (limited company, Limited liability company, etc.) or operating in a competitive and regulated context.
What are the differences between IPSAS & IFRS ?
IPSAS are established on the IFRS (the International Financial Reporting Standards) that are previously known as International Accounting Standards (IAS). IFRS are written by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). IPSASB adapts IFRS for the public sector when it is necessary. In this process, IPSASB tries as much as possible to maintain the accounting principle and the original text of IFRS, unless a significant public sector reason makes differentiations necessary.