The accounting model essentially follows the model commonly used in the private sector, with a statement of financial performance, statement of financial position, financing and flow of funds statement and notes, and is based on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The aim of financial statements prepared in accordance with the IPSAS – the only comprehensive and generally accepted set of guidelines for the public sector – 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. from the performance and the financing approach. The dual perspective enables operational and administrative management to be considered separately from the politico-strategic management side.
- The performance approach shows the expenses (decline in value) and revenue (increase in value) generated within the scope of task performance. It forms the basis not only for budgeting (credit view) and financial reporting, but also for administrative and operational management. Values are allocated to the period in which they are created or consumed (accrual accounting and budgeting). 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. It forms the link to the debt brake, which should ensure a lasting balance between expenditure and receipts and avert a structural imbalance in the federal budget. The debt brake is based on the expenditure rule, which states that the amount of money available for total expenditure is limited to the receipts generated by the Confederation with standard economic capacity utilization. This means that receipts have to cover expenditure over an economic cycle. Under the extended debt brake rule, the Confederation is also obliged to offset extraordinary expenditure in the budget over the medium term. The financing statement thus contains expenses and revenue with a financing effect as well as investment expenditure and receipts.