The Government Accounting Standards Board is always issuing new standards on a range of topics such as pensions, postemployment benefit plans, lease standards and more. With so many technically complex changes issued within a short time frame, it can be hard to keep up. Implementing changes can be a time-consuming process, especially for those with a smaller staff. Here are some tips to help you with times of change and transitions.
It really does take a village. Consider all the team players, both internally and externally, who need to be involved in a smooth transition. For example, the roll out of new standards will mean interaction with auditors. In addition, specifically for the new OPEB standards, having a good actuary will be key. Understanding who is involved and implementing communication among those individuals will allow for information to be received in a timelier manner.
Allow time for the learning curve
With the complexity of many of the new GASB standards, it’s helpful to factor in, and be aware of, the time needed to both understand the actual implementation of the standard and the impact that standard has on your entity.
Plan early + plan well
It’s important to understand what information is needed to implement the new standard. Knowing what is needed will allow for better planning and organization in gathering that information prior to the required date.
Educate the end user
Stakeholders such as elected officials, residents and rating agencies will also need explanations of the impact of these standards.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
With the complexity of many of these new standards, don’t hesitate to reach out to your auditors and outside consultants for help as needed with these transitions!