The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has unveiled a new standard on accounting and reporting for intangible assets, clearing up a requirement of Statement 34 that had caused widespread uncertainty in the preparation and comparison of governmental financial reports.GASB Statement 51, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Intangible Assets, adopts a clear and simple description of intangibles as assets that have no physical substance, are non-financial in nature, and have a useful life extending beyond a single reporting period. Such assets would include easements, internally generated and third-party computer software, water and timber rights, patents, and trademarks.

"We believe this statement improves financial reporting by reducing inconsistencies that have developed in accounting and financial reporting for intangible assets," said David Bean, GASB director of research and technical activities.

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