The objective of the Accounting and Financing Working Group is to assist US and Canadian airports with accounting and financing matters and to identify, communicate and educate airports on:
- Accounting and financial reporting
- Financing market conditions and opportunities
- Regulatory compliance and professional standards
- Emerging issues and trends
- Related best practices
The working group seeks to accumulate, develop and share information through cooperation and coordination with other Finance Committee working groups, member airports, external agencies and subject matter experts. The goal is to provide accounting, financial reporting and financing resources, recommendations and advocacy on behalf of airports that provides input on, and influences positive outcomes for, proposed or realized changes that impact the airport industry.
Working Group 2018 Chair
Senior Finance Director
Tucson International Airport
Working Group 2018 Projects
- In all aspects of the Accounting and Financing Working Group’s (AFWG) efforts, be inclusive and representative of both Canadian and U.S. airports’ standards, issues, trends, and best practices.
- Monitor, communicate, and provide advocacy on developments in financial reporting, financing, and related compliance requirements of regulatory and standard-setting bodies, including but not limited to the following:
- Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
- Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
- International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Provide assistance and best practice recommendations for meeting new standards and compliance requirements in financial reporting. Provide updates on new approaches to airport financing.
- Provide input to enhance the ACI-NA Finance Professional of the Year to be announced at the 2018 Business of Airports Conference. Assist in marketing this award program. Review and provide recommendations for updating the current application package.
- Assist with monitoring and updating ACI-NA’s accounting and financing resources. Inform members of the availability of this library, and encourage them to contribute to it.
- Develop a framework, materials, and presentations for a Finance 101 webinar series.
- Conduct webinars in 2018 on the following topics:
- Financing and capital market update, including the impact of 2017 Tax Cuts and Job Act (tentatively in June 2018)
- Implementation of new FASB, GASB and IFRS lease accounting standards (tentatively in May 2018)
Working Group 2017 Achievements
Accounting and Auditing Update Webinar
The working group organized a webinar on Sep.20 featuring an update on the emerging U.S. and Canadian accounting and audit issues that will impact airports in North America, including the recently released Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 87 on leases and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Nos. 15 & 16. Emerging risks, internal control, and Single Audits were also discussed.
Comments on Standard & Poor’s Proposed Criteria for U.S. and Canadian Not-For-Profit Transportation Infrastructure Enterprises (TIEs)
On July 18, 2017, Standard & Poor’s issued a request for comments on proposed changes to its methodology for assigning ratings and related credit products to U.S. and Canadian TIEs (not-for-profit airports, ports, toll facilities, or parking systems), and for debt secured by specific revenue streams tied to special facility projects or by demand tied to transportation infrastructure. If adopted, the proposed criteria will supersede existing criteria for rating debt issued by U.S. and Canadian TIEs, including airport revenue bonds, airport multi-tenant special facilities bonds, stand-alone passenger facility charge debt, and parking revenue bonds.
The Finance Committee formed a task force, led by Bill Case of the PFM Group and Max Underwood of DFW International Airport, to draft comments for ACI-NA. The comments, which were filed on September 1, 2017, focus on two concerns shared by most airports:
- Application of a single set of criteria on different TIEs, considering that airport profiles differ from other TIEs; and
- Transparency of the proposed holistic analysis that follows the application of the rating criteria
Comments on proposed amendments to SEC Rule 15c2-12
The working group assisted ACI-NA General Counsel Tom Devine and the Legal Committee in developing the ACI-NA comments opposing the SEC proposal. The SEC proposed to amend its reporting rule in a manner that would impose extensive new, ongoing disclosure obligations on airports with little or no benefit to the bond markets. Airports are concerned about meeting the proposed new, broader compliance requirements, including the proposed 10-day reporting limit. The comment letter urges the SEC to: (1) reconsider the proposed amendment, and (2) work with ACI-NA and other issuer groups before implementing any revised or new rules.
Communications with the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regarding lease accounting
The working group continued communications with the GASB staff regarding the pending release of the new accounting standard involving leases. In addition to the substantive work on this issue last year, the working group worked to limit the proposed expansion of disclosure requirements with respect to airports. The GASB accepted the working group’s proposal for a more limited disclosure for airports exempting all airport airline leases. In addition, the GASB accepted the ACI-NA’s request to delay the implementation of the new standard by one year from the original proposed implementation date.
ACI-NA Finance Professional of the Year Award
The 3rd ACI-NA Finance Professional of the Year Award was well organized. The 2017 Awards program was launched in December 2016. The deadline for nominations was January 31, 2017. Nominees had a month to submit their full nomination package to ACI-NA. A total of 12 nominations were received. Seven nominees accepted their nomination and submitted full packages. The Awards ceremony was held at the Gala Dinner of the 2017 Business of Airports Conference on April 26.