The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has introduced an online version of its Governmental Accounting Research System, GARS Online, providing online access to accounting standards and related literature for state and local governments.

The research system was previously available only on CD-ROM. GASB is offering the system through four service plans to accommodate the needs of different stakeholders.

“We are very pleased to launch GARS Online and expect that the new online platform will reduce the amount of time and effort needed for users to research state and local governmental accounting and financial reporting standards,” said GASB Chairman Robert H. Attmore in a statement.

GARS Online includes features such as annotations, feedback utilities, advanced search functions and update capabilities. The online system contains the same GASB content as the disc version, including original pronouncement on governmental accounting and financial reporting standards. GARS Online provides the original versions of GASB statements, concepts statements, technical bulletins, and interpretations, along with National Council on Governmental Accounting pronouncements and selected materials from the American Institute of CPAs.

The codification of governmental accounting standards and financial reporting standards is also available, with an integrated view of the current versions of accounting and financial reporting standards for state and local governments, organized by general principles, financial reporting, specific balance sheet and operating statement items, and stand-alone reporting on specialized units and activities.

An implementation guide includes a compilation of questions and answers and illustrative material to help financial statement preparers and attestors implement and apply selected GASB pronouncements. A topical index provides a cross-reference to currently effective guidance in documents included in the original pronouncements, sections of the Codification, and questions in the implementation guide.

GARS Online will be available through four service plans to accommodate various stakeholders’ needs:

The Professional View/Single User Annual Service includes one set of credentials and fully functional access for an annual fee of $390.

The Professional View/Multiple User Annual Service includes five sets of credentials and full access for each concurrent or simultaneous user, starting at $420 per concurrent user per year.

The Basic View offers free access to all of the content available for Professional View, with limited navigation and features.

An Academic Professional View is also available in which GASB’s parent organization, the Financial Accounting Foundation, will provide access to GARS Online Professional View at no cost, in a joint initiative with the American Accounting Association, to faculty and students in accounting programs at post-secondary academic institutions.

Current GARS CD-ROM subscribers will be offered a special plan to change to the online version. GASB plans to continue its fee-based offerings for the GASB Subscription service, annual bound editions of GASB Original Pronouncements and GASB Codification, and hard copies of individual GASB final pronouncements, which can be ordered online at the GASB Store.

For more information, visit www.gasb.org.