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Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems: 2009 Edition
NCES 2009-325
June 2009

Chapter 2: Financial Reporting Within a System of Education Information — Summary

All four data user groups discussed above are interested in comparing original or modified budgets with actual results. For example, to assess accountability, citizens as well as legislative and oversight bodies want to ensure that resources are used in accordance with appropriations. Overspending may indicate poor financial management, weak budgetary practices, or uncontrollable and unforeseen circumstances. Underspending may indicate effective financial management that provides the necessary quality and quantity of services within the available appropriations or a decision by management to accumulate a surplus of resources for future use. A comprehensive education information system gives a broad view of budgetary concerns, rather than simply a bottom line. Thus, Financial Accounting for State and Local School Systems is intended to assist in the creation and improvement of a comprehensive data system that results in better academic and fiscal performance in America's schools.