Focus on Credit Quality Puts Sharper Spotlight on Municipal Bond Audit Times

Merritt Research Services recently released its 2013 municipal audit timing report, revealing that, on the whole, municipal bond issuers continue to substantially lag their corporate counterparts in completing their annual audited financial statements. As in the past, this year's audit timing study also continued to show a significant variance among municipal bond sectors - and among individual issuers within each sector. While relatively slow audit times among municipal bond issuers has been a longstanding complaint in the municipal bond market, the concern is being echoed in even wider...

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Category: Report, Merritt Data

On What Basis Are You Accounting for That? Part Five: Modified Cash Basis of Accounting

The modified cash basis of accounting is a hybrid of accrual and cash basis accounting. Modified cash basis uses the cash basis of accounting but then modifies certain aspects of the cash basis of accounting. For example, using the modified cash basis of accounting, an entity may choose to capitalize property, plant, and equipment and record depreciation expense and accumulated depreciation. In a pure cash basis, depreciation and accumulated depreciation would not be recognized, but a cash disbursement would be shown on the income statement for the property, plant and equipment that was...

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Category: Accounting

Merritt Enhances Demographic Data Provided in CreditScope

Merritt Research Services has added more demographic data to CreditScope from the U.S. Census Bureau. The demographic data added under the Census Bureau includes Births & Deaths, Migration, and Birthplace Data. The Births & Deaths section includes the number of births and deaths for a specific year, along with the natural increase which is derived from subtracting deaths from births. Migration Data includes the total net migration in or out of the specific geography and is further broken down into international and domestic migration for a specific geography. Birthplace Data...

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Category: CreditScope, Demographics, Merritt Data

Accounting for Infrastructure

Infrastructure assets are long-lasting capital assets that add value to land and tend to be part of a larger system. Some common types of infrastructure assets are bridges, dams, tunnels, streets, sidewalks, water mains, and lighting systems. Infrastructure assets are accounted for under capital assets as either non-depreciable, depreciable or both. The approach for reporting infrastructure assets can vary from one government to another, as allowed by accounting standards. Infrastructure assets can be reported using the following approaches: Traditional Depreciation Approach -...

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Category: Accounting, CreditScope

Merritt Updates Generating Units Detail for Retail Electric and Wholesale Electric Sectors

Merritt Research Services has recently acquired updated information related to the Generating Units detail included in the Power Info on the Credit Detail Screen for Retail Electric and Wholesale Electric credits. This data is sourced from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a statistical agency housed under the U.S. Department of Energy. The following fields are available for Generating Units: GU ID, GU Name, Unit Code, Type, Source, Op Status, MW Nameplate, I.S. Year, MW Util-Owned, and %Util-Owned. A more detailed description for each of these fields is available by right- clicking...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

On What Basis Are You Accounting for That? Part Four: Cash Basis of Accounting

Cash basis of accounting recognizes revenue at the time when cash has been received, and recognizes expenses when cash has been paid. Cash revenues may not be recorded at the same time that expenses were used to raise those revenues. For example, an entity may not have received cash for performing a service during a specific reporting period, but may have incurred expenses that will result in future cash revenues to be reported during a later reporting period. Or, in another instance, an entity might receive a cash payment for services rendered during a particular reporting period, but has...

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Category: Accounting

Merritt Expands Database to Include Additional Credits

We are happy to share the results of our continued efforts to improve the depth and breadth of our tax-backed offering. Effective this last month, we officially dropped the population threshold for inclusion to the standard data set to an even 40,000 for each of the three relevant sectors (City, County and School District). The effect of that movement yields an overall credit count increase of 36% for the year. Please look for this expanded dataset in your data update. To verify that your system has been appropriately updated, you may check under the [Help] button on the main menu and...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

On What Basis Are You Accounting for That? Part Three: Modified Accrual Basis of Accounting

A government typically provides Government-Wide Financial Statements and Governmental Funds Financial Statements. The Government-Wide Financial Statements use the accrual basis of accounting while the Governmental Funds Financial Statements use the modified accrual accounting. Modified accrual basis of accounting measures the current financial resources available. It is basically a hybrid of accrual and cash basis of accounting. Fixed assets, such as property, plant and equipment, and long-term debt are not recognized in this accounting basis on the balance sheet because they are not...

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Category: Accounting

In Which Sector Would I Find a Combined Utility Credit?

Merritt currently classifies utility credits into the following sectors: Retail Electric, Water/Sewer, Wholesale Electric, Gas, and Solid Waste. Retail Electric, Water/Sewer, and Wholesale Electric are considered to be a part of the Merritt Standard Sector offering. Records for utility credits are created in CreditScope based upon the pledged revenues on outstanding debt - a straightforward process when only one source of revenue is pledged. As its name implies, a combined utility provides more than one type of utility service. When a combined utility credit is backed by more than one...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

Is Your CreditScope Data Up to Date?

The Merritt data included in CreditScope is updated at the end of every business week. Most people are winding down their work weeks by Friday afternoon, but not at Merritt Research Services. "Our week is winding up on Friday afternoon," according to Troy Gerleman, Chief Operating Officer of Merritt Research Services. Merritt sends the updated data to Investortools for processing over the weekend. The updated data is then delivered electronically to clients typically during business hours on Monday. Most company's IT departments will then integrate the data update into the system so that...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

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