The accounting model essentially follows the model commonly used in the private sector, with a statement of financial performance, statement of financial position, cash flow statement and notes. In addition, there is a statement of investments and proof of compliance with the debt brake. The accounting model is based on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The aim of financial statements prepared in accordance with the IPSAS is to present the actual situation as accurately as possible in terms of assets, finances and revenue. This ensures transparency and continuity in financial reporting, but also makes it possible to compare the federal financial statements with those of other public authorities and the private sector. Transparency and comparability in turn support financial management and build confidence among the public. Article 126 of the Federal Constitution, the Financial Budget Act and the Financial Budget Ordinance form the legal basis for the accounting model.
The accounting model highlights financial processes and relationships from a dual perspective (dual control principle), i.e. using the performance and the financing approach.
- The performance approach shows the expenses (decline in value) and revenue (increase in value) generated during task performance. Values are allocated to the period in which they are created or consumed (accrual accounting). In the statement of financial performance, the expenses of a given accounting year are set against the revenue generated in the same period. Their balance shows the surplus or deficit for the year.
To promote efficiency, the statement of financial performance is supplemented by cost accounting at the level of the administrative units. Consistently decentralized credit responsibility and internal federal service charging promote a sense of cost awareness and the economical use of funds.
- The financing approach is decisive for the overall steering of the federal budget based on the debt brake requirements. The debt brake is intended to ensure a lasting balance between expenditure and receipts, and avert a structural imbalance in the federal budget. The main difference between the performance approach and the financing approach concerns the treatment of investments. Whereas only the annual consumption of the associated fixed capital (depreciation) is included under the performance approach, the full amount of investment expenditure is reported immediately under the financing approach. This means that the fiscal effects of investments are directly visible and controllable at the time of acquisition and not at the time of consumption. Under the financing approach, it is net lending/borrowing, or the overall fiscal balance, that is relevant. This is shown in the proof of compliance with the debt brake.