The Government of Alberta prepares its financial statements in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards. We audit those financial statements. The government does not have to follow accounting standards in preparing its budget. However, the accounting standards require that financial statements contain a comparison of the results for the year with those originally planned.
With Budget 2013, government changed how its budget information is presented. The new Fiscal Management Act sets out the form and content of the fiscal plan and requires the presentation of an operational plan, a savings plan and a capital plan.
Because of the changes within Budget 2013 and our audit of the province’s financial statements, we undertook a review to identify the differences between results reported in financial statements and planned results reported in both Budget 2013 and Budget 2012. We focused our work on the items that impact the determination of the annual surplus/deficit.
The province’s financial statements report the full extent of the province’s financial results, determined in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards. For accountability purposes, the comparison of actual and budgeted financial results is important to hold a government accountable for its financial management.