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A Breakdown of GASB 96: 6 Things You Need to Know

By February 20, 2024Lease Accounting

We’re diving into the intricacies of GASB 96, a significant standard that government entities need to adopt, especially following the implementation of GASB 87.

  1. The Essence of GASB 96

    GASB 96 deals with subscription-based information technology arrangements (SBITA), a new area of focus for government entities. This standard requires these entities to identify SaaS agreements and include them on their balance sheets for the first time, ensuring consistent treatment for state and local governments.

  2. Preparation and Comparison with GASB 87

    If your organization has already tackled GASB 87, you’re in an excellent position to handle GASB 96. The process and methodology are similar, aiming to bring uniformity in reporting. GASB 96, like its predecessor, necessitates identifying and consolidating relevant agreements into the balance sheet, creating both an asset and a liability.

  3. Timing and Challenges

    The GASB 96 regulation became effective as of June 15, 2022. Some entities were still grappling with GASB 87, hence the staggered approach to adopting GASB 96. The primary challenge lies in the capacity and bandwidth to implement these standards efficiently.

  4. Roles of IT and Accounting Departments

    The IT department and the accounting team play a pivotal role in this transition. GASB 96 will primarily impact IT, as it revolves around technology agreements. These departments must comb through contracts to classify and account for them appropriately under the new standard.

  5. Cost Considerations and Implementation

    Implementing GASB 96 involves identifying costs at different contract stages, such as preliminary, initial implementation, and operation stages. These need to be either capitalized or expensed, adding a layer of complexity to the process.

  6. Leveraging Technology

    Organizations implementing lease accounting technology for GASB 87 will find it beneficial to use similar technology for GASB 96. The similarity in concepts between the two standards means that adapting existing software solutions can streamline adoption.

The transition to GASB 96 might be smoother than GASB 87 due to its specific focus on information technology agreements. However, the primary challenge remains the limited resources available to organizations to adopt these comprehensive standards concurrently.

In conclusion, GASB 96 represents a significant shift in how subscription-based IT arrangements are reported and accounted for, mirroring the changes brought about by GASB 87 in lease accounting. As organizations adapt to these new standards, understanding and leveraging the right tools and strategies will be essential to successful implementation.

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