February 2008 report to the Legislative Assembly
Report to the Legislative Assembly; Reports; PublicationNT
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Northern Territory. Auditor-General's Office -- Periodicals; Finance, Public -- Northern Territory -- Accounting -- Periodicals; Northern Territory -- Appropriations and expenditures -- Periodicals
Northern Territory Auditor-General's Office
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14 Auditor-General for the Northern Territory February 2008 Report Analysis of the Treasurers Annual Financial Statement cont There is a general recognition that the reporting format required by AAS31 does not provide the most appropriate model for financial reporting by a government, where the emphasis is less upon the maintenance of some concept of capital for determining a profit or loss, and more upon the extent to which the activities of a government affect other sectors of the economy. Thus following the broad strategic direction of the Financial Reporting Council, which is established under the Commonwealth Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act, the Australian Accounting Standards Board has pursued the issue of the harmonisation of GFS and AAS31. That has resulted in the issue of an accounting standard AASB 1049 Whole of Government and General Government Sector Financial Reporting. The Audit Act requires the Auditor-General to have regard to recognised professional standards and practices when auditing the public accounts and this implies that any audit undertaken should adhere to Australian Auditing Standards. Those standards, in turn, require audit opinions to be framed around the extent to which financial reports comply with Australian Accounting Standards. Given that the TAFS has not complied with AAS31, successive Auditors-General have issued qualified audit opinions on TAFS over a period of years and a further qualified opinion was issued for 2006-07. I expect that there will be no further need to issue the technical qualification that has formed part of audit opinions on the TAFS after 2007-08. AAS31 will cease to have effect from the 2008-09 year and will be replaced by a new accounting standard that is consistent with the GFS principles. As a result the dichotomy that has existed for several years with regards to financial reporting by the government and which has seen successive audit qualifications on the grounds of failure to adhere to Australian Accounting Standards will come to an end. The use of the GFS framework for the presentation of TAFS also results in financial reports that are consistent with those required under the Uniform Presentation Framework (UPF). The UPF is the result of an agreement by all jurisdictions to publish financial information in a standard format in their budget papers and has been adopted by all governments to facilitate a better understanding of their respective budget papers and to provide a basis for meaningful comparisons of their financial results.
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