Budgeting and public expenditures

Reporting on long-term fiscal sustainability - joint OECD/IPSASB seminar (10 March 2010)


The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) has an ongoing project dedicated to reporting on long-term fiscal sustainability. The OECD has worked closely with IPSASB on this project, as have a number of OECD countries and other international organisations.


At the two-day OECD symposium on accruals (8-9 March 2010), a session was devoted to an overview of the project and key issues being considered, including: definitions; reporting entity for long-term fiscal sustainability reporting; time horizons; regularity of reporting; assumptions and sensitivity of assumptions; approach to discretionary programmes; and scope in terms of governmental programmes.


After that symposium, a joint OECD-IPSASB seminar was held, on 10 March, on the long-term sustainability of public finances. This seminar was co-chaired by Gerhard Steger (Chair of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials and Director-General for Budget and Public Finances, Austrian Federal Budget Office) and Andreas Bergmann (Chair of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board).



Introduction to OECD and IPSASB projects

Barry Anderson (Head, Budget and Public Expenditures Division, OECD)

Ian Carruthers (Chair of IPSASB Task Force, and Policy & Technical Director, CIPFA)


Fiscal projections in OECD countries: what is currently produced, and lessons

James Sheppard (Policy Analyst, OECD)


Fiscal projections and influence on decision making

Steve Redburn (Study Director, “Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future”, Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States, National Research Council and National Academy of Public Administration, United States)


Relevance of long-term information on sustainability of the public finances to financial reporting

  • Information needs of users of financial reports
  • Spectrum of reporting
  • Information currently reported in the financial statements
  • Enhancing the information in the financial statements
  • Reporting boundaries

Ian Carruthers and John Stanford (Deputy Technical Director, IPSASB)


Models for reporting sustainability information in financial reports

John Stanford

Bob Dacey and Wendolyn Payne (Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, United States)
Tim Youngberry (Department of Finance and Deregulation, Commonwealth of Australia)


Basis of preparation of projections

  • Policy assumptions
  • Approach to age-related and non-age related programs
  • Approach to taxation inflows

Ken Warren (Chief Accounting Advisor, New Zealand Treasury)

Steve Redburn

Barry Anderson, James Sheppard


Methodology issues

  • Approach to sensitivity analysis
  • Time horizons
  • Frequency of reporting
  • Discount rates

Steve Redburn

Barry Anderson, James Sheppard


Summing up

Gerhard Steger