Financial Statements in the Public Sector

This course maps to capability:

Important: Before registering, please click here to read some important information relating to COVID-19 requirements and IPAA WA in-person training.


It is essential that government officers have a working knowledge on how to interpret the financial information regarding governmental activities and business-type activities within the public sector financial statements. The fundamentals of accounting such as assets, liabilities, equity, income and expenses will be covered in combination with the concepts of accrual accounting as they apply in the government work. Further, this course will also cover the basic structure of the financial statement such as the Statement of Comprehensive Income (“SOCI”), Statement of Financial Position (“SOFP”), Statement of Cash Flow (“SOCF”) and the Statement of Changes in Equity (“SOCIE”). The financial statements of a WA public sector agency will be used for illustrative purposes during the workshop, but participants are encouraged to bring along financial statements (eg from the Annual Report) for the agency where they work in order to address any specific questions relating to that agency.

This course is intended for officers (with no accounting or finance qualifications) who may be involved in research or policy roles, as project officers, in middle management positions, or in specialist occupations such as planners. Graduates or people new to the public financial sector will also find this course useful.

Course Content

  • Concepts of accrual-based and cash-based accounting
  • Definitions and recognition criteria for assets, liabilities, equity, revenue and expenses
  • Statement of Comprehensive Income in the public sector
  • Statement of Financial Position in the public sector
  • Statement of Cash Flow in the public sector
  • Statement of Changes in Equity in the public sector

Course Outcomes

  • Develop an understanding of the basics of accounting
  • Understand the difference between accrual and cash based accounting
  • Develop an understanding of the elements of the financial statements
  • Understand the roles of each of the four components within the financial statements in the public sector
  • Understand the context for financial reporting in the Western Australia public sector
  • Be able to contribute to the preparation of less complex published notes and working papers within the financial statements

Benefits to your organisation

  • Understand the accounting and financial reporting process of the agency
  • Being able to contribute to the financial reporting process within the agency
  • Being able to better communicate with accounting staff in the agency

Benefits to you

  • Being able to perform basic analysis of financial statements within the public sector
  • Understanding the process of financial reporting and how the different sections of the financial statements flow and interconnect
  • Ability to locate and interpret useful information within the financial statement and/or accounting materials