Maryland's 2003 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
1. Introduction. Governmental accounting is concerned with the analysis of a government's finances. This information has very little value if it cannot be communicated in a timely and efficient manner. Thus, timely and accurate financial reporting is the link between a government agency or entity and the people it serves. The mission of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board is to establish and improve standards of state and local governmental accounting and financial reporting that will result in useful information for users of financial reports and guide and educate the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of those financial reports.
To accomplish its mission, the GASB:
Issues standards that improve the usefulness of financial reports issued by governmental agencies and entities based on the needs of financial report users; the primary characteristics of understandability, relevance, and reliability; and the qualities of comparability and consistency.
The GASB keeps standards current to reflect changes in the governmental environment.
It provides guidance to governmental agencies and entities on implementation of standards.
It considers significant areas of accounting and financial reporting that can be improved through the standard-setting process.
It improves the common understanding of the nature and purposes of information contained in financial reports.
A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is prepared and published every year by the Office of the Comptroller of the State of Maryland.
1a. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board's rules state that every governmental entity must prepare and publish a comprehensive annual financial report (a CAFR) that encompasses all funds and account groups of the governmental entity, including its component units. Most people are familiar with the State budget process and the debates that...