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A fund is defined in GASB Codification Section 1300 as a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with all related liabilities and residual equities or balances, and changes therein, which are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations.

modified the structure of two categories of funds used by local governmental entities. Specifically, the new reporting model introduces two new types of funds:

  • Permanent funds (in the governmental fund category). Permanent funds are required to be used to report resources that are legally restricted to the extent that only earnings (and not principal) may be used for purposes that support the reporting government programs.
  • Private-purpose trust funds (in the fiduciary fund category). Private-purpose trust funds should be used to report all other trust arrangements under which principal and income benefit individuals, private organizations, or other governments.

The new model eliminates expendable and nonexpendable trust funds to focus fiduciary reporting on resources held for parties external to the reporting government: individuals, private organizations, and other governments. Fiduciary funds, therefore, cannot be used to support the government’s own programs.

With the incorporation of these changes, three categories of funds remain:

  • Governmental funds are those through which most governmental functions are accounted for. The acquisition, use, and balances of the government’s expendable financial resources and the related current liabilities-except those accounted for in proprietary funds-are accounted for through governmental funds (general, special revenue, capital projects, debt service, and permanent funds).
  • Proprietary funds are used to account for a government’s ongoing organizations and activities that are similar to those often found in the private sector. All assets, liabilities, net assets, revenues, expenses, and transfers relating to the government’s business and quasi-business activities-in which changes in net assets or cost recovery are measured-are accounted for through proprietary funds (enterprise and internal service funds). Generally accepted accounting principles for proprietary funds are similar to those applicable to businesses in the private sector; the measurement focus is on determining operating income, financial position, and cash flows.
  • Fiduciary funds are used to account for assets held by a government in a trustee capacity or as an agent for individuals, private organizations, or other governmental units. The fiduciary fund category includes pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds, investment trust funds, private-purpose trust funds, and agency funds.