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6 Helpful Resources for Finance Teams Preparing to Implement GASB 96

GASB 96 is a new accounting standard that applies to government organizations with subscriptions to IT software that meet specific requirements.

We’ve put together this list of resources to help you as you begin implementing GASB 96 within your organization.

Who Will Need to Implement GASB 96?

You should evaluate whether you’ll need to implement GASB 96 if you work for:

  • A local government, such as a county, municipality, or school district
  • Higher education, such as a public college or university
  • A public hospital or healthcare provider

Implementing GASB 96 will require the collection and analysis of data related to your subscription-based IT arrangements (SBITAs) and crafting relevant accounting schedules and journal entries.

Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, you may need to work with other departments (particularly IT) to gather all SBITAs. Proper planning and access to the right resources (which we’ll lay out below) will also be key for successful implementation.

Once GASB 96 has been fully implemented within your organization, you’ll need to maintain ongoing compliance.


You won’t want to leave implementation to the last minute. Locating relevant IT subscription contracts and extracting the necessary data can be time consuming. Waiting too long may put you at risk of missing the deadline to comply making it difficult to adequately prepare for audit.

Resources for GASB 96 Implementation

Below are resources that can be helpful in understanding and implementing GASB 96.

  1. Summary of Statement No. 96 – The official Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) document that outlines the details of GASB 96.

  2. GASB 96 Decision Tree – A quick tool used to help you determine whether you have a GASB 96 subscription.

  3. GASB 96 Definitions, Guidelines, & Best Practices – Summarizes the details outlined in Summary of Statement No. 96 in an easy-to-understand format.

  4. Don't Wait to Implement GASB 96: Why Early Adopters Will Come Out Ahead – Emphasizes the importance of taking early action to start implementing GASB 96 instead of waiting until the last minute.

  5. Planning and Preparing for GASB 96 – Lays out the practical step-by-step process that you’ll need to follow to implement GASB 96 within your organization.

  6. Project Costs: What They Are & How They're Relevant to GASB 96 – Outlines the various costs associated with implementing GASB 96 at different stages of the project, and how to account for them.

#1 – Summary of Statement No. 96

Summary of Statement No. 96 - Subscription-based Information Technology Arrangements is a pronouncement created by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) in May 2020.

It provides governments with guidance on accounting and financial reporting for SBITAs by defining what counts as a SBITA and how to correctly record one in your financial records.

Since this document was issued directly by the GASB, this should be your go-to resource when implementing GASB 96 within your organization.

If you’re working with someone struggling to decode the meaning and requirements of Summary of Statement No. 96, fear not. This is where resources #2–6 come into play. These resources help explain GASB 96 in more streamlined, easy-to-understand terms.

#2 – GASB 96 Decision Tree 

Before you start planning a large-scale implementation of GASB 96 within your organization, it’s important to review your IT subscription contracts and determine if they are considered SBITAs under GASB 96.

To help you determine whether your organization has SBITAs within the definition of GASB 96, we’ve created a basic decision tree you can download here.

#3 - GASB 96 Definitions, Guidelines, & Best Practices

Once you’ve used the decision tree above to determine if you have SBITAs that fall under GASB 96, you’ll need to take a more in-depth look at all the details and intricacies of GASB 96.

“GASB 96 Definitions, Guidelines, & Best Practices” is an article that DebtBook has created to help. It breaks down the information contained within GASB 96 into a more condensed and easy-to-understand form.

From this resource, you will learn:
  • Who is impacted by GASB 96
  • The purpose of GASB 96
  • When GASB 96 goes into effect
  • How to prepare for and get started on GASB 96 implementation

It also outlines some common challenges faced by organizations looking to implement GASB 96. With this knowledge, you’ll go into the implementation process with a better idea of what to expect.

#4 - Don’t Wait to Implement GASB 96: Why Early Adopters Will Come Out Ahead

Has your organization recently dealt with implementing GASB 87 related to governments’ financial reporting of leases? If so, then you know how much work and planning are required to implement one of these new standards.

Implementing GASB 96 will require a similar level of effort.

Your team must understand the risks of waiting until the last minute to implement GASB 96. For instance:

  • Locating all of the relevant subscription contracts may be more challenging than first thought.
  • Extracting subscription contract data can be tedious, time-consuming, and complex.
  • Constrained timelines lead to an increased risk of errors.
  • You may lack enough time to prepare for audit, and you may miss the deadline to comply with GASB 96.

On the more positive side, you and your team should also be aware of all of the benefits that you’ll gain by preparing and implementing GASB 96 early. For instance:

  • Implementation may be easier and involve minimal headaches.
  • You’ll have more time and resources to put toward other projects.
  • You’ll have better data accuracy.
  • You’ll reduce information silos.
  • You’ll secure vital contract data.

Our article “Don't Wait to Implement GASB 96: Why Early Adopters Will Come Out Ahead” will help explain to your teams the importance of getting started as soon as possible.

#5 - Planning and Preparing for GASB 96

We understand that implementing a new accounting standard can be intimidating. That’s why Kasey Harris, DebtBook’s Vice President of Accounting Product & Enablement, has put together the article “Planning and Preparing for GASB 96,” which breaks down the preparation process for GASB 96 into bite-sized steps.

You’ll learn the process all government organizations should go through to implement GASB 96 effectively. The article takes you through 8 steps of GASB 96 implementation:

  • Step 1: Creating Your Implementation Roadmap
  • Step 2: Collecting Your SBITAs
  • Step 3: Gathering Project Expenses and Extracting Data
  • Step 4: Categorizing the Expenses
  • Step 5: Crafting the Initial Schedules and Journal Entries
  • Step 6: Launching the Review Process
  • Step 7: Preparing Note Disclosures
  • Step 8: Adhering to Ongoing Compliance

You can also read our article titled “Building an Action Plan for GASB 96 Compliance.”

#6 - Project Costs: What They Are & How They're Relevant to GASB 96

The “Project Costs: What They Are & How They're Relevant to GASB 96” article explains what project costs are and how they should be accounted for under GASB 96.

Activities associated with subscriptions need to be grouped into three stages and have their costs accounted for accordingly. The three stages are:

  1. Preliminary stage
  2. Initial implementation stage
  3. Operational and additional implementation stage

Start Preparing for GASB 96 Today

After reading through the list of resources above, hopefully you feel more comfortable with the GASB 96 implementation process and what it involves.

If the process still seems overwhelming, DebtBook can help. Our subscription management software has been developed specifically with local governments and their unique challenges in mind.

DebtBook can help significantly reduce the burden of complying with GASB 96 by assisting with upfront SBITA organization and data extraction, schedule creation, and ongoing compliance.

Schedule a demo to get a firsthand look at DebtBook and see what it can do for you.



Disclaimer: DebtBook does not provide professional services or advice. DebtBook has prepared these materials for general informational and educational purposes, which means we have not tailored the information to your specific circumstances. Please consult your professional advisors before taking action based on any information in these materials. Any use of this information is solely at your own risk.

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