Summary financial statements are a central feature of government reporting and serve as a principal means by which a government demonstrates its accountability for the resources and financial affairs entrusted to it by the public.
Governments are inherently different than businesses. The information needed to aid understanding and assessments of government financial operations and to promote accountability extends beyond reporting surpluses and deficits. Unlike the private sector, governments are not in business to make a profit but to provide goods and services to the public, so measuring surpluses/deficits is not the key indicator of the performance of a government. Additional information that draws on information external to the financial statements adds depth to and enhances understanding of the financial statements.
To this end, PSAB develops generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for governments. PSAB also issues guidance in the developing area of performance reporting by issuing Statements of Recommended Practices (SORPs).