Understanding Similarities and Differences Between Accrual and Cash Deficits

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 11, 2006

Understanding Similarities and Differences Between Accrual and Cash Deficits GAO-07-117SP, December 1, 2006.

  • “…understanding our nation’s long-term fiscal outlook is important because, as GAO’s long-term simulations show, current fiscal policy is unsustainable. The accrual measure primarily provides more information on the longer-term implications of today’s policy decisions and operations by showing certain costs incurred today but not payable for years to come, such as civilian and military pensions and retiree health care. While cash and accrual measures each serve different purposes, they present complementary information and can be used together to provide a more comprehensive picture of the government’s fiscal condition today and over time.”
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