Government of Nova Scotia, Canada
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Use the Services Directory to quickly access information on all of the services provided by the NS Department of Finance and Treasury Board.

Glossary of Terms

Accumulated Deficit     
When the sum of all historical surpluses and deficits is negative, it is reported as an accumulated deficit.

When the expense of a tangible capital asset is spread out over a period of time (usually over the asset's useful life) for accounting purposes. This is also referred to as depreciation.

Consolidated Financial Statements (CFS)            
Financial statements including assets, liabilities, income, expenses, cash flows of the Province and all entities it controls. The Province's consolidated financial statements are prepared using public sector accounting (PSA) standards as presented in Volume 1 of the Public Accounts.

Contingent Liabilities   
Possible obligations resulting from the uncertain outcome of a future event.

Contractual Obligations               
Obligations of a government to others. These obligations become liabilities when the terms of those contracts or agreements are met.

Crown Share Adjustment Payments
An agreement with the federal government to compensate the province for estimated profits that it would have earned in offshore natural resource projects under the National Energy Program that was established in 1980, but later abolished.

Deferred Revenue         

Revenue that has not yet been earned and is recorded is a liability. Deferred revenue is recognized as revenue over time as it is acquired.

Financial Assets              
Assets that are cash or expected to be converted into cash.

Financial Statement Discussion and Analysis (FSD&A) - Part 1 of Volume 1         
Explains information contained in financial statements making them more understandable for those without technical expertise.

General Revenue Fund (GRF)   
Comprises the Province's departments and public service units, but excludes other governmental units and government business enterprises owned or controlled by the Province.

Government Business Enterprise (GBE)               
A self-sustaining organization that sells goods and services to individuals and non-government organizations as its principal activity and source of revenue.

Government Partnership Arrangement (GPA)  
A contractual arrangement between the government and a party outside of the government with clearly defined common goals. Partners make a financial investment in the partnership, share control of decision making, and share significant risks and benefits associated with the operations.

Governmental Unit (GU)            
An entity that is controlled and/or owned by government  such as government departments, public service units, special purpose funds, agencies, service organizations, boards and government not-for- profit organizations.

An obligation government is responsible for.

Net Debt            
The net position of financial assets and total liabilities.

Non-Financial Assets    
These include tangible capital assets, inventories of supplies, and prepaid expenses and are used in the delivery of services.

Offshore Accord
An agreement with the federal government to compensate the province for money lost as a result of natural resource revenues being included in the Equalization formula.

Public Sector    
Refers to federal, provincial, territorial and local governments, government organizations, government partnerships, and school boards.

Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB)
An independent body within CPA Canada with the authority to set accounting standards for the public sector. These are known as public sector accounting (PSA) standards.

Segment Reporting       
The reporting of separate financial information on specific activities of a government.

Sinking Fund     
A fund established by government for the purpose of setting aside money for gradual repayment of a debt.

Special Purpose Fund (SPF)       
Monies set aside by government from normal operations for a specific internally designated purpose.

Statement of Financial Position (Statement 1) 
Summarizes financial assets, liabilities, and non-financial assets.

Statement of Operations (Statement 2)               
Measures revenues, expenses, surplus (deficit) for a period, and the extent to which net assets have been maintained in the period.

Statement of Change in Net Debt (Statement 3)              
Explains the difference between the surplus (deficit) and the change in net debt in the year. 

Statement of Cash Flow (Statement 4) 
Shows cash flows classified by operating, capital, investing, and financing activities.

Subsequent Events        
Events occurring between the financial statement date and the date of their completion.

Tangible Capital Assets (TCA)   
Non-financial, physical assets that are managed by government and used in the production or supply of goods and services, for rental to others, for administrative purposes or for the development, construction, maintenance or repair of other tangible capital assets. Examples include roads, buildings, land and vehicles.

Trust Funds Under Administration         
Property that has been assigned to a government to be solely administered as directed by an agreement.


Orange ClockFor More Information

Dan Harrison
Director of Communications
Tel: 902-424-8787