The AICPA recently stated its strong support for the bipartisan Fiscal State of the Nation resolution in Congress, because it will foster additional transparency on the information included in the federal government’s financial report.
House Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Andy Barr (R-K.Y.) introduced the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution on September 26, 2019 with 102 additional co-sponsors. It provides “for a joint hearing of the Committees on the Budget of the House of Representatives and the Senate to receive a presentation from the Comptroller General of the United States regarding the audited financial statement of the executive branch.” The resolution ensures that members of Congress are made aware of the information in the federal financial statements and helps them to better understand how current and/or future policy may affect the nation’s long-term fiscal health.
In a letter commending Rice, Barr and the resolution’s other sponsors for their leadership, AICPA President and CEO, Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said, “We believe requiring the Comptroller General to make an annual presentation before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Budget Committees will be very helpful to focus key policymakers on some of the most important aspects of the consolidated financial statements, including financial and sustainability measures. It will also assist them in better understanding the results of the financial statement audit and any related findings.”
AICPA believes that the consolidated federal financial statements and the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s audit report provide valuable information on the financial condition of the federal government, and that policymakers should consider this information while making key decisions. The U.S. Treasury began preparing consolidated financial statements of the federal government approximately 20 years ago and the GAO performed its first audit with the 1996 federal fiscal year. AICPA applauds the federal government for making significant improvements in federal financial management and reporting over the years. However, there are still obstacles that the government has not been able to overcome that have kept the GAO from rendering an opinion on the federal consolidated financial statements.