U.S. Government Standard General Ledger (USSGL) Board Meeting Minutes
May 19, 2011
LOCATION: Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street, NW. Washington D.C.
TIME: 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Kathy Winchester, FMS
Kathy Winchester (FMS) opened the meeting by giving an overview of the recent work done by the USSGL Division. She noted that many of the issues brought to the Issues Resolution Committee (IRC) were more centralized to certain agency activities. She noted that there are still some issues remaining in regard to the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) and that a second Board vote may be requested later this year to vote on the issues.
Christine Chang (FMS) presented the scenario on the Accounting for the Disposal of General Property, Plant, and Equipment (GPP&E). The scenario is based on the requirements outlined in the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) Federal Financial Accounting Technical Release, dated December 10, 2010, and titled "Implementation Guidance on the Accounting for the Disposal of General Property, Plant, and Equipment." The purpose of the technical release is to clarify the difference between permanent and temporary removal from service of GPP&E assets. To permanently remove assets from service requires the following two business events:
If the property is temporarily removed, then there is no change to the accounting requirements. To comply with the new requirements, new USSGL account 1760, “General Property, Plant, and Equipment That Is Permanently Removed But Not Yet Disposed,” is proposed. This new account is intended to segregate permanently removed GPP&E from the remaining GPP&E in the agency’s operation. Christine also mentioned that comments from the April 7, 2011, IRC meeting were compiled and sent to the Accounting and Auditing Policy Committee (AAPC). The comments addressed recognition of gains and losses, application of guidance on capitalized GPP&E, and Balance Sheet presentation. Christine stated that the new accounts and changes to the accounts related to the exposure draft will be added to the ballot, but they will not be included in the June Treasury Financial Manual (TFM). If AAPC and FASAB agree with the IRC’s recommendation and approve the exposure draft as an official technical release, then the accounts will be incorporated into the TFM. If the official technical release requires accounts different from those proposed, then the USSGL staff will take appropriate action at that time.
Christine continued with the scenario on Non-fiduciary Deposit Fund and Clearing Account Guidance. She noted that a deposit fund is an account created to capture and record monies that do not belong to the Federal Government. Nonfiduciary deposit funds do not meet the definition and characteristics of fiduciary activities as outlined in Statements of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) No. 31, which provides the guidance for fiduciary deposit funds. The current USSGL guidance does not address investment activity nor the recognition of related interest revenue from investments. The new proposed method of accounting for the nonfiduciary deposit funds is as follows:
Christine noted that clearing accounts are used to deposit money that is assumed to belong to the Federal Government. The funds are temporarily held in the clearing account until they can be classified into the correct receipt or expenditure account. A new proposed USSGL liability account is to be used exclusively for clearing account activity. The new account is USSGL account 2410, “Liability for Clearing Accounts,” and will record the amount of offset collections deposited in clearing accounts awaiting disposition or reclassification. Currently, the clearing account collections are recorded in USSGL account 2400, “Liability for Nonfiduciary Deposit Funds, Clearing Accounts, and Undeposited Collections.” The new USSGL account 2410 splits out only the clearing account activity, while USSGL account 2400 will be modified and will only capture activity in nonfiduciary deposit funds and undeposited collections.
Rita Cronley (FMS) presented the current status of the FMS Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System (GTAS) project scheduled for implementation in January 2013 and highlighted some of the new agency requirements.
She noted that one of the reasons to build GTAS is to streamline reporting for the agencies by replacing the Federal Agencies' Centralized Trial-Balance System (FACTS) I, FACTS II, Intragovernmental Fiduciary Confirmation System, and Intragovernmental Reporting and Analysis System. One data submission will include both the proprietary and the budgetary accounts. FMS has incorporated USSGL accounting requirements into GTAS, and eventually the USSGL TFM guidance will be generated from the information contained in GTAS. For example, appropriation warrant amounts accomplished by FMS for the agency will be used as edits against the amounts reported on the agency’s trial balance. A trial balance for each Treasury Account Symbol (TAS) will be required for all activity related to the TAS. The fund family reporting currently used in FACTS I will no longer be allowed. Also, required in GTAS, agencies that have a TAS with a parent/child relationship with another Federal agency TAS, must report based on the direction given by the "parent" agency for intragovernmental transactions.
Rita noted that the trial balance submissions for GTAS (reported by TAS) will require the agencies to provide a three-digit agency identifier along with the TAS four-digit main account. The main account is part of the TAS that identifies to Treasury what program is being reported. Agencies that have the General Fund of the Treasury as their trading partner will use "099" as the three-digit code and "0000" as the main account. Bruce Henshel (Commerce) and other participants noted that it will be very difficult for their agencies to implement the new trading partner requirements.
Rita noted that agencies can begin pilot testing their bulk files in May 2012. Agencies must be prepared for GTAS since additional validations and edits will be required for the reporting to be accepted. To get additional information on business questions, contact Rita at (202) 874-9902 or visit the GTAS Web site at http://www.fms.treas.gov/gtas.
Melinda Pope (FMS) presented the requirements contained in SFFAS No. 33 in regard to long-term assumptions for pensions, other retirement benefits, and other postemployment benefits. The standard requires that the gains and losses from changes in assumptions for long-term obligations be highlighted on the Statement of Net Cost (SNC). Effective in 2010, OMB Circular No. A-136 included the additional line item titled "(Gain)/Loss on Pension, ORB, or OPEB Assumption Changes," on the SNC. The requirements do not apply to the Federal Employees Compensation Act program. The USSGL staff added the new line item to the SNC crosswalk and are proposing four new USSGL accounts to implement the reporting effective in fiscal 2012. The new accounts are:
7171 - Gains on Changes in Long Term Assumptions - From Experience
The proposed accounts breakout gains and losses into the subcategories "from experience" and from "assumptions" changes.
Melinda continued with a discussion of actual repayment of borrowing authority converted to cash. The proposed USSGL account 4142, "Actual Repayment of Borrowing Authority Converted to Cash,” affects amounts transferred to the General Fund of the Treasury by a nonexpenditure transfer for unused or excess borrowing amounts to repay debt. The current-year borrowing authority is exercised but not used to liquidate obligations.
The definition for USSGL account 4120, "Appropriations Anticipated - Indefinite," has been changed to read: “The current estimate of anticipated indefinite amounts to become available under either a standing provision of law or a new appropriation that provides budget authority.” In the past, some agencies have interpreted the current definition to mean that the account can be used under a continuing resolution. The account can only be used if the agency has appropriate authority.
The definitions of USSGL accounts 4146, "Actual Repayments of Debt, Current-Year Authority"; and 4147, "Actual Repayments of Debt, Prior-Year Balances," were modified during the meeting to exclude amounts related to the actual repayment of borrowing authority converted to cash.
Karen Metler (FMS) presented Trust Fund Transfers of Contract Authority -Nonallocation Transfers. She emphasized that the nonallocation transfers described in the scenario are only used by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to transfer contract authority and liquidating appropriations between the Federal Highway Administration account 69x8083 and the Federal Transit Administration account 69x8350. Two new USSGL accounts are being proposed to accommodate DOT’s unique situation.
These two DOT trust fund accounts may each receive contract authority independently. They also may transfer contract authority from one to the other as the requirements of law dictate. The new scenario for nonallocation accounts is needed to meet the budgetary requirements of the SF 133 and the P&F. All of the program activity is contained in the two trust fund accounts 69x8083 and 69x8350, which also receive the appropriation to liquidate the contract authority. The trust funds receive their fund balance via SF 1151 from the Highway Trust Fund corpus account 69x8102, managed by the Bureau of the Public Debt, when needed to meet fund disbursement requirements. The funds remain invested in the Highway Trust Fund 69x8102 to maximize interest earnings on the invested balance in the trust fund. When the funds are transferred, the investments are redeemed and no interest is earned in trust fund accounts 69x8083 and 69x8350.
Because of the budgetary requirements for noallocation transfers of contact authority on the SF 133 and the P&F, two new USSGL accounts are proposed effective 2012. The new USSGL accounts are 4153, “Transfers of Contract Authority - Nonallocation,” and 4154, “Appropriation to Liquidate Contract Authority - Nonallocation-Transferred.” If system requirements allow, the two new USSGL accounts will be restricted in GTAS to only two fund symbols, 69x8083 and 69x8350.
Gwen Marshman (FMS) discussed voting ballot #11-01. Comments are due to FMS by close of business June 6, 2011. She indicated that the due date is important since the USSGL crosswalks to the standard reports cannot be completed until the voting is finalized. She noted that USSGL accounts 1760, 7180, and 7280 are contingent on FASAB approval of the FASAB technical release to be finalized in July 2011. If the technical release is not passed by the FASAB Board, then the accounts will not be published in the TFM.
Technical changes to the TFM are not listed on the ballot but are included in the TFM summary of changes (SOC). The SOC is a good reference to keep track of what has changed in the TFM.
Kate Valentine (OMB) stated that OMB will not do a formal agency working committee for the OMB Circular No. A-136 update for 2011, since there are only minor changes.
Teresa Tancre (OMB) noted that agency comments on the 2011 revisions to the OMB Circular No. A-11 issue list are due by May 20, 2011. She noted issues 4 and 5. Issue 4, “Making Distinctions In Unobligated Balances To Better Serve the Needs of Congress and the Administration,” proposes changes to the budget apportionments FACTS II /SF 133 reports to better distinguish between different kinds of unobligated balances. The breakout would include direct versus reimbursable and discretionary versus mandatory balances. Issue 5, “Realigning Obligated Balances on the SF 133 and P&F,” reflects a new proposed format for reporting the change in obligated balances on the SF 133 and the P&F. The proposals are the result of discussions with agency accounting and budget staffs.
Kathy adjourned the meeting.
Note: The handouts located on the USSGL Web site provide additional detailed information discussed in the meeting minutes.