Public accounting in Tunisia has undergone a series of profound innovations aimed at responding both to new knowledge needs expressed by public administrations and to a growing demand for information from outside. In addition to an almost exclusively bureaucratic-authorization function, the accounting systems have been enriched by new contents and values, highlighting their own characteristics and peculiar features. As a result, the economic communication has assumed a fundamental role from which modern administrations cannot become independent. The value it assumes is to configure this activity as a real function of public interest, in terms of regulating the relations between the community and the administrators of public affairs. IPSAS are currently the only international accounting standards in the public sector. The 35 standards mainly refer to the methods of drafting the final balance sheets for countries which intend to progressively adopt economic and capital accounting.
international public sector accounting standards ipsas

What are the peculiar characteristics of the IPSAS ?

IPSAS are almost entirely based on the principle of economic competence (accrual basis) rather than financial competence (cash basis).

In developing the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, the Board set two priorities:

The first one contains a convergence with IAS/IFRS, while taking into account the unavoidable differences in vocation between public and private companies.

The second priority is the drafting of specific accounting standards for the public sector in order to respond to the needs that cannot be shared with those of private companies. In fact, they share the same conceptual framework of the IASB, however a project is in place for the definition of a specific conceptual framework for the public sector.

The two processes in the enactment of the IPSAS :

In order to guarantee the necessary consensus to the principles being issued, and therefore to hope for a general acceptance, IPSASB has established a strict compulsory pathway for their formation and final approval in order to gain a general acceptance. In particular, the board considers the evaluation of the various stakeholders in the sector such as the different IFAC members, the auditors, the national authorities, the standard setters, and all accounting experts as an essential part in the IPSAS process.

In the first phase of study, the board analyzes the issues related to a designated topic, carries out a study about the accounting practices held in the different countries and takes into account the opinions issued by the IASB and the different sectoral standards. A first draft of the document (exposure draft) is then published in order to allow all the possible interested parties to give their comments and observations for at least 4 months.

After analyzing the various findings, the document is submitted to the Board for final approval which shall be accepted by at least 2/3 of the entitled members.

The IPSAS target all public sector entities such as national states and central government entities, subordinated territorial authorities (regions, hospitals,etc…), local authorities (provinces and municipalities, etc…), and government agencies and commissions.

The authority and Dissemination of IPSAS :

Unlike IAS/IFRS, IPSAS are not mandatory by law, neither at community level nor at domestic level. IPSASB is committed to promoting recognition in all countries, but recognizes the right of states to develop their own rules. Therefore, in countries where there is already a standard setter, the IPSASB proposes its support. In countries where there is no standard setter, the IPSASB becomes an alternative. The IAS are adopted in developing countries and are considered to be mandatory adoption of listed and organizational disclosure. An inert attitude on the part of those who deal with public matters risks leading to the automatic importation of principles elaborated in different cultural contexts and for different cognitive needs.

Not only auditing in the strict sense :

Our firm intends the statutory audit as a wider set of related activities such as tasks of accounting due diligence, tax, and labor.

Such verifications are now considered indispensable in the preliminary stages of extraordinary operations, acquisitions of the company or of participation.