Governmental entities are required to present their government-wide financial statements on the accrual basis of accounting. Thus, the statement of activities reflects the expenses of the entity for the reporting period. Entities are required to report all expenses by activities and programs (by function), except certain indirect expenses, as explained below. GASB has defined direct expenses as those that are specifically associated with a service, program, or department and thus are clearly identifiable to a particular function. Direct expenses include both operating and nonoperating expenses, including depreciation and amortization of assets.
Functions, such as general administration or data-processing services, may include indirect expenses of other functions. Governmental entities are not required to allocate indirect expenses to other functions, but may choose to do so. If indirect expenses are allocated, direct and indirect expenses should be presented in separate columns. A column totaling direct and indirect expenses may be presented, but is not required. Indirect expenses may be allocated to any of the primary government's functions. Although there are no standards for determining an allocation methodology, there should be a reasonable basis for expense allocations.
Depreciation expense should be included in the statement of activities as follows:
The difference between a "shared" capital asset and one that "essentially serves all functions" is the number of functions involved. As the number of functions increases, the ease, practicality, and usefulness of assigning depreciation to those functions decreases. Therefore, the depreciation of assets that serve many, or essentially all, functions is not required to be included in the direct expenses of those functions. A shared capital asset is generally used by only a few functions, and its use can be specifically identified to those functions.