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Financial Accounting Manual

This Financial Accounting Manual for Federal Reserve Banks (FAM) contains the accounting standards that should be followed by the Federal Reserve Banks.

Accounting principles for entities with the unique powers and responsibilities of the nation's central bank have not been formulated by accounting standard-setting bodies. The Board of Governors has developed specialized accounting principles and practices that it considers to be appropriate for the nature and function of a central bank. These accounting principles and practices are documented in this manual. The Board of Governors has delegated, within certain parameters, the authority to the director of the Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems (RBOPS), to set accounting policy for the Reserve Banks and to define, amend, and interpret FAM as prescribed by Board policy. Periodic amendments to FAM are made primarily to codify changes in accounting policy that result from new transactions and other accounting developments. Although setting accounting policy and updating FAM are responsibilities of the RBOPS Accounting Policy and Operations Section, Reserve Banks' accounting staff also play significant consultative roles in the development of accounting policies included in this manual.

FAM provides guidance to Reserve Banks that should result in uniform accounting policies conforming to the standards established. In some places, FAM provides examples of subsidiary accounts to facilitate an understanding of the scope of the broader balance sheet items. In these cases, unless otherwise noted, the maintenance of such accounts is discretionary with the Reserve Bank.

Although FAM covers the receipt and disbursement of funds and specifies their location on the balance sheet, and is thus the controlling document on capitalization, rates of depreciation, correction of errors in expenses, entries to Profit and Loss, and so on, it does not provide guidance for cost accounting. The Federal Reserve Planning and Control System Manual (PACS Manual) sets rules for cost accounting.

Federal Reserve Bank staff should consult with the RBOPS Accounting Policy and Operations Section on financial accounting questions or issues that are not specifically covered in this manual. The section's email group is RBOPS FRB Accounting Policy and Operations.

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