Government isn't an enterprise. Though it raises and spends money, owns things, has pension funds, works with budgets, and reports to stakeholders, it is fundamentally different from a business. And so its accounting must take a different form and serve a different purpose.Oddly enough, many accounting professionals in the private sector don't even know there's a difference, or if they do, they don't know why.

To clear up such misperceptions and misunderstandings, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board has issued a white paper titled, "Why Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Is - and Should Be - Different."

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