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Local and central government to prepare full accounts

9 April 2020: the proposed simplifications for 2019/20 local authority accounts have not been approved, meaning local authorities will have to prepare their accounts in full. Central government has also issued further guidance for 2019/20 financial reporting.

In light of the incredible strain placed on finance teams across all public authorities by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) proposed a radical simplification for the 2019/20 financial accounts.

However, these simplifications were not approved by the board responsible for the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting (CIPFA LASAAC). Local authorities will still need to prepare their accounts in full.

In further developments for central government entities, HM Treasury have issued the following guidance:

  • Government departments will still have to prepare financial statements as usual per FReM-adapted IFRS
  • There is an option available to streamline the annual report, with most of the streamlining taking place in the performance report.

As we have already highlighted, relief in relation to the financial statements will come through the deferral of IFRS 16 implementation and through the three-month delay to the administrative deadline for laying the annual reports (from 30 June to 30 September).
As per HM Treasury, further details on the optional reduced requirements for the annual report will be published in further guidance as soon as possible.
COVID-19 is driving major changes in the public sector and dramatically affecting public finances. Find out more about what is happening and how it may affect you via ICAEW’s dedicated Coronavirus and the Public Sector hub.