The Impact of GASB 34 and GASB 35 on Higher Education

July 14, 2021


Financial reporting for public sector entities, including higher education institutions, comes with unique requirements that must be adhered to in order to support compliance with various accounting regulations. When it comes to capital asset management, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statements 34, and 35 by extension, outline requirements, but also include opportunities for improved insurance and depreciation practices.

Implications For Public Colleges and Universities

GASB 34 standards changed the way state and local governments report their financials, ensuring a more comprehensive and understandable overview of their fiscal health and stewardship of resources. GASB 35 extended the provisions of GASB 34 to public colleges and universities. This expansion mandated a detailed accounting of all assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses, including those related to long-term infrastructure and other capital assets. The goal is to provide stakeholders with a clearer picture of the institution’s financial standing, encouraging better-informed decision-making and enhancing fiscal responsibility.

Finding Opportunity In GASB 34 and GASB 35 Compliance

Adherence to GASB standards is more than a regulatory requirement; it’s a commitment to transparency, accountability, and effective stewardship of public resources.  Without the proper controls over capital assets, including maintaining a complete and accurate listing, there is risk that the financial statements for internal and external reporting do not accurately reflect the true value of your institution’s assets. Beyond compliance, GASB 34 and GASB 35 offers several key benefits, including:

Understanding the additions of GASB 87 and GASB 96

In addition to GASB 34 and GASB 35, institutions may also need to consider impacts of newer GASB standards. In recent years, GASB 87, which covers leases, and GASB 96, which includes intangible software-based assets, created new  financial reporting requirements for public entities. Other new standards outline considerations for bulk purchases, which include nuanced considerations that need to be thoughtfully applied. 

These updated provisions underscore the importance of being diligent in working with staff and partners who keep up-to-date and have unique expertise in maintaining compliance and ensuring the fiscal health of your institution. 

As financial landscapes for public entities continually evolve, so too must your approach to reporting and capital asset management. Institutions can follow the guidelines provided by GASB, and they can work with a knowledgeable partner like HCA Asset Management whose experts keep current and focused every day on applying these regulations with its clients.