13.1 Utilising support from Finance
The Finance Minister (supported by Finance) has a significant role in Commonwealth financial reporting, as part of their responsibilities for the PGPA Act. To assist entities to discharge their responsibilities under the PGPA Act, Finance develops and issues:
- accounting policies and financial statements presentation and disclosure requirements through the FRR
- RMGs, including RMG-125 Commonwealth Entities Financial Statements Guide
- PRIMA Forms of Financial Statements
- other internal to government guidance.
Policies are based on the AAS, Australian Interpretations, guidance and other financial reporting policies developed by Finance. This involves interpretations of accounting policies, advice on reporting and appropriation requirements and the development and maintenance of the budget and reporting framework.
Finance is also the convenor of forums, communities of practice and professional development seminars which provide vehicles for the discussion of accounting, auditing and related topics with the CFOs and officers from Commonwealth entities. Attendance at forums can assist in obtaining an understanding of Finance’s responsibilities and identifying emerging financial reporting issues.
Where requested, Finance also provides financial reporting advice to Commonwealth entities. It is important to engage with Finance early in the process of developing accounting positions, allowing sufficient time for a response to be formulated.
13.1.1 Publications and support by Finance
The CFO should establish agreed lines of communication with Finance officials to help ensure that any issues arising in the context of financial statements, for which it is appropriate to seek advice from Finance, are identified and resolved in a timely manner.
When requesting advice from Finance, better practice entities include:
- a detailed description of the issue
- any related position papers or accounting position papers
- references and excerpts from the relevant legislation/AAS
- the materiality of the issue
- detail of the classification of the items (Administered or Departmental) and the source of funds (such as a special account)
- details of historical treatment and related government decisions/budgetary documentation
- the related program/policy (if appropriate).
13.1.2 Additional resources
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Template that sets out the key information to include in your request for advice from Finance.