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July 22, 2020

Accounting bodies launch tool for governments grappling with fiscal impact of Covid-19

By Joe Pickard

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), in partnership with the International Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)  have published a practical accounting tool for governments and other interested stakeholders to help analyse Covid-19 intervention programmes.

By the end of May, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that $9 trillion had been spent by governments around the world on fiscal support. IFAC noted that understanding the design of these interventions, how they are delivered and funded, as well as their impact on the financial position of governments, is critical to manage current challenges and secure sustainable public finances in the future.

The COVID-19 Intervention Assessment Tool includes:

  • step-by-step process and assessment tool to help assess, evaluate, and inform various types of government interventions related to the pandemic;
  • An overview of the pathway to accrual IPSAS for governments.

IFAC executive director  Alta Prinsloo said: “Government accounting is not the first priority that comes to mind when people think about the current pandemic. Yet, there’s evidence that having a comprehensive and well-managed balance sheet supports strong public programs, including for healthcare and economic wellbeing.

“It’s never too late for countries to adopt accounting best practices, including accrual-based International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), and we hope this guidance will help governments make the case for doing so.”

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