March 2001: Government-Wide Financial Statements (Second in a series of GASB Statement No. 34 Bulletins)

Issued To: Chief Fiscal Officers of Counties Cities, Towns, and Villages; Business Officials of School Districts and BOCES


Governments currently prepare combined financial statements focusing on fund types rather than the government as a whole. GASB Statement No. 34 requires preparation of consolidated, government-wide financial statements. Government-wide statements consist of a statement of net assets* and a statement of activities* prepared using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. These statements will report all assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses of the primary government distinguishing between the governmental and business-type activities (note: school districts and BOCES are not permitted to use enterprise funds). Fiduciary activities will be excluded from the government-wide statements. Discretely presented component units, as determined in accordance with the provisions of GASB Statement No. 14, will be reported in a separate column to the right of the primary government.

*Examples from GASB Statement 34 included in this bulletin, copyright by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, 401 Merritt 7, Norwalk, CT 06856 are reprinted by permission.

Statement of Net Assets

The statement of net assets will report all assets, including capital assets (land, buildings and equipment) and infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, etc.) and liabilities. The statement encourages governments to present these assets and liabilities in order of their relative liquidity. The difference between the assets and liabilities is reported as net assets subdivided into three categories:

  • investment in capital assets, net of related debt
  • restricted
  • unrestricted

Statement of Activities

The statement of activities is presented using a net cost format designed to highlight the portion of each functional activity (general government, education, public safety, etc.) that must be financed from the general revenues of the government. The Statement of Activities reports all expenses (including depreciation) associated with each functional activity. Program revenues (charges for services, program specific operating and capital grants and contributions) are deducted to arrive at the program’s net cost to the government. The net cost is financed with general revenues including property taxes, unrestricted grants and contributions, investment earnings, special items and transfers.


GASB and OSC believe that the government-wide statements:

  • improve financial reporting by helping the users of financial statements assess the finances of the government as a whole
  • determine whether the government’s overall financial position has improved or deteriorate
  • evaluate whether the government’s revenues were sufficient to pay for services
  • assess the cost of providing services
  • assess how the government finances its programs
  • understand the extent to which the government has invested in capital assets
  • make better comparisons between governments.

Detailed information pertaining to the statement, as well as an implementation guide, is available from GASB. The GASB web site, with links to many other pertinent sites, can be accessed at

GASB can also be contacted at GASB:

401 Merritt 7
P.O. Box 5116
Norwalk, CT 06856