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International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) to replace United Nations System Accounting Standards (UNSAS) as approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations

IPSAS Training
Tuesday, 9 September, 2008.
Director's talking points

International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) will replace United Nations System Accounting Standards (UNSAS) as approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The adoption of international accounting standards is part of an international movement in the standardization of accounting and reporting standards. It is widespread in Europe and is part of a convergence in the United States as well between US GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which underpins IPSAS.

2010 is the goal for adoption of IPSAS within the United Nations, although some Agencies have attempted to adopt the standards earlier. As the process is complex and affects all aspects of governance, management and administration, there has been some indication that the goal might be flexible.

PAHO has taken a conservative approach, supported by its External Auditors, whereby individual standards are adopted gradually working towards the 2010 goal. For example, expenditure recognition under the delivery principle transitions the Organization to full expenditure accrual as stipulated by IPSAS. Other transitions have been completed "behind the scenes" in FRM, including the monthly accrual of payroll and statutory entitlements. Several IPSAS task force teams have been identified and are in the initial stages of activity.

This is a Corporate Initiative for PAHO - IPSAS supports and enhances objectives of Results Based Management. Furthermore, it ensures transparency in financial budgeting, accounting and reporting, and provides opportunities for comparability among and between international organizations.

This training complements the earlier exposure provided by FRM in 2007 and additional training will be provided as PAHO moves through the implementation process. The United Nations is in the process of developing internet-based training modules that reflect changes in standards and procedures as approved by the IPSAS Task Force, of which PAHO is an active member.

Dr. Bergmann, that will be addressing the training today is an expert in IPSAS, is an active Board Member and has provided training for the World Bank and WHO.

The Area of Financial Resources Management (FRM) organized this corporate-wide training on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which took place last week from 9 through 11 September.

El Área de Gestión de Recursos Financiero (FRM) organizó este taller corporativo para la capacitación institucional sobre las Normas Internacionales de Contabilidad del Sector Público (IPSAS), que tuvo lugar la semana pasada del 9 al 11 de septiembre.

For more information, please contact Frahler, Sharon (WDC), PAHO Financial Resources Management, Area Manager.