International Public Sector Accounting Standards

More and more governments around the world are now choosing to use the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in some way to shape their accounting framework.

The standards are issued by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) for use by public sector entities around the world in the preparation of financial statements. They are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). 

Why implement IPSAS?

The IPSAS standards aim to improve the quality of general-purpose financial reporting by public sector entities. Adopting IPSAS allows public sector entities to make better informed assessments of the resource allocation decisions made by governments, which in turn:

  • improves the transparency of financial reporting and the quality of financial data
  • enables alignment across governments and non-governmental organisations
  • establishes a solid basis to evaluate the current financial position and past performance.

Though the standards are not mandatory, CIPFA believes that national governments, regional (e.g., state, provincial, territorial) governments, local (e.g., city, town) governments and related governmental entities (e.g., agencies, boards and commissions), and transnational organizations can report more transparently and be better equipped to manage resources by adopting IPSAS.

How can CIPFA help?

CIPFA is the only professional accountancy body in the world exclusively dedicated to public finance. We were a founder member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and Accountancy Europe. We are also a registered UK charity with a UK Royal Charter.

We understand the issues and challenges relating to IPSAS - we helped to drive and shape the IPSAS standards, and we have advised many countries and organisations on their adoption and implementation.

To support national governments, state enterprises and public sector institutions around the world as they move towards implementing IPSAS, we offer two qualifications:

Learn more about the CIPFA Certificate in IPSAS (Cert IPSAS)

Learn more about the CIPFA Diploma in IPSAS (Dip IPSAS)

Why choose the CIPFA programmes?

  • Benefit from our expertise in developing and implementing the standards
  • Gain specialist knowledge in this technically demanding area
  • Achieve formal recognition from CIPFA, the leading body for global public financial management
  • Study online, at your own pace, from anywhere in the world

On successful completion of the Diploma in IPSAS, you can apply for CIPFA Affiliate membership. If you're not already a CIPFA member, this is a great way to access a wealth of resources and networking opportunities.

These include a weekly e-learning service CPD Bites, access to publications, technical advice and expert commentary on the international public finance arena. Plus use of the designation CIPFA Affil to signal your expertise and association with CIPFA.

Who are the IPSAS programmes for?

They are aimed at all levels within an organisation, from business managers through to technical accountants and auditors.

Can the programmes be purchased individually or on behalf on an organisation?

The courses can be purchased both individually and on behalf of organisations.

If you wish purchase multiple places on behalf of an organisation, please contact us first to discuss your requirements:

How long do they take to complete?

The Certificate in IPSAS takes around 80 hours of self-study to complete, while the Diploma takes around 100 hours. This may vary depending on the prior knowledge of the student.

How are they delivered?

The programmes are delivered online. All of the interactive e-learning modules, self-assessment quizzes and progress tests, plus supporting workbooks are accessed via CIPFA's virtual learning environment.

How are they assessed?

The Certificate in IPSAS and Diploma in IPSAS are assessed via an end-of-course online assessment. Trainees must achieve a minimum of 60% to pass the examination.

Additional resources

IFAC's Pathways to Accrual

Developed by IFAC, the Pathways to Accrual tool provides resources for public sector organisations planning and undertaking the transition from cash to accrual accounting, including adopting and implementing IPSAS.

Visit the Pathways to Accrual website

International Public Sector Financial Accountability Index: 2020

CIPFA works with IFAC to collect, verify, and analyse information on current and planned financial reporting by federal and central governments around the world, mapping accrual adoption efforts globally.

The latest report gives a snapshot of the position in 2020 and looks ahead by using currently available data to forecast the position in 2025 and to provide indicative projections of the position in 2030.

Visit the IFAC website for the latest report

Contact us

If you have any queries, please contact us:


T: +44 (0) 207 543 5600