Public sector certificate program Level II

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This is the agenda for
Part I: Financial Reporting

• provide an overview of the CPA Canada Public Sector Accounting (PSA) Handbook standards
• describe PSA concepts and principles and summarize the application of PSA standards
• define the components of a financial statement in accordance with PSA standards

Financial statement presentation

• understand the requirements for financial statement presentation under the PSA Handbook
• explain the differences in financial statement presentation under the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting


• assess PSA Handbook guidance on Revenue and be able to apply principles outside of GAAP to transactions (such as PS 1000 – Financial Statement Concepts, PS 1201 – Financial Statement Presentation)
• understand basic revenue recognition criteria
• describe PS 3100 – Restricted Assets and Revenues
• understand case studies on revenue versus cost recovery and revenue recognition

Capital assets and related topics

• explain measurement issues related to tangible capital assets in accordance with PS 3150 – Tangible Capital Assets and PSG 2 – Leased Tangible Capital Assets
• describe why and how tangible capital assets are recorded, including what disclosures are important
• complete case studies focusing on how to identify eligibility for capitalization, amortization application, the treatment of subsequent valuations, impairment and disposals

Government transfers

• assess the revised version of PS 3410 – Government Transfers and be able to determine when to recognize a transfer, how to distinguish the main types of transfers and how to account for them
• consider the perspective of both the transferring government and the recipient for capital contributions
• complete case studies that focus on identification of transfer type; recognition; accounting versus appropriation, transfer to industry, and conditional and unconditional repayments

Liability for contaminated sites

• identify the new standard on Liability for Contaminated Sites (PS 3260) and scope considerations
• describe recognition, measurement and disclosure requirements under PS 3260
• complete case study on recognition and measurement of liability for contaminated sites

Emerging issues

• assess new or revised standards such as PS 2601 –Foreign Currency Translation
• recognize projects in progress with the Public Sector Accounting Board


• identify when to consolidate under the PSA Handbook using the indicators of control
• understand why the definitions of “control” are similar in the PSA Handbook and the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting
• identify why differences can occur when applying control standards

Financial instruments

• assess the categories, the measurement and presentation requirements for financial instruments under the PSA Handbook
• identify the significant differences between public sector requirements and the reporting of financial instruments under the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting

Employee future benefits

• describe retirement benefit plans and their measurement and recognition under PSA standards
• understand the differences between PSA standards and CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting requirements for retirement benefit plans
• assess key aspects of post-employment benefits and compensated absences, along with additional liabilities recognized under the PSA Handbook

This is the agenda for
Part II: Financial Management
The public sector context

• understand the scope of government size, extent and impact
• identify public sector values and ethics
• describe stakeholders and their interest in financial information
• assess how public policy is made and works in practice, from research and development to implementation and evaluation
• understand leadership in government

Planning, budgeting and delivering

• describe the role of financial information and financial reports for planning and monitoring program delivery
• assess the public processes required to develop program and budget plans, i.e. the role of stakeholders
• understand costing programs and monitoring costs
• explain public dimensions and political elements of the planning and budgeting cycle
• how to ensure the sustainability of programming through the budget process

Delivering public services and goods

• assess risk and practice risk management in budget delivery
• identify control through financial and non-financial information
• apply performance measurement and reporting
• understand program reviews and evaluation

Decision support

• how to organize and communicate useful financial information
• describe the financial advisor as a key player
• assess values and practice in accountability and transparency
• identify links between program inputs, outputs and outcomes
• apply values of efficiency and effectiveness

Effective resource management

• understand the value of effective resource management
• account for political oversight, audit and evaluation in resource management
• describe the role of external monitoring groups, think tanks and their use of financial reporting
• explain the quality and accessibility of regular financial performance information – how good, for whom and when is enough?
• know the role of program reviews, strategic reviews and reallocation exercise in resource management