This study examines the historical development of the financial reporting model for state and local governments in the United States from the late 1800s through the issuance by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) of Statement No. 34 in 1999. This research shows how the current governmental reporting standard evolved over time to meet diverse user needs by presenting both government-wide and fund statements, and requiring three governmental operating statements with potentially three different measurement focuses: the Statement of Activities; the Statement of Revenues, Expenditures, and Changes in Fund Balances; and the Budgetary Comparison Schedule. Overall, this historical study provides unique insights about the development of the governmental reporting model and an appreciation for the reporting requirements of GASB Statement No. 34.

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