Into the Shadows - A Reflection on International Developments in Public Sector Accounting

Presented to the 30th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, 25-27 April 2007, Lisbon, Portugal

34 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2009

See all articles by Olov Olson

Olov Olson

Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law

Christopher Humphrey

University of Manchester - Division of Accounting and Finance

James Guthrie

Macquarie University - Department of Accounting and Finance; University Of Bologna - Department of Management; Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School

Date Written: April 25, 2007

Abstract

Our earlier studies have reported on contemporary international developments in public sector accounting (PSA) within the reforms of New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Financial Management (NPFM). This paper focuses on what we consider to be the crucial change associated with NPFM, the transformation of traditional modified cash accounting into accrual accounting as part of these reforms. This paper discusses the change, in terms of structure and processes, focusing primarily on Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The research finds that the accrual accounting in the public sector in these three different countries varies, and that there is a similar variation in private sector accounting in the three countries. We also find that the influence of the international standard-setters has recently become stronger in the public sector, but that a main decision-maker in the PSA, the politician, seems to be lost in the standard-setting process.

Keywords: A Reflection on International Developments in Public Sector Accounting , contemporary international developments, public sector accounting, New Public Financial Management, New Public Management

JEL Classification: M4, M40, M41, M49

Suggested Citation

Olson, Olov and Humphrey, Christopher and Guthrie, James, Into the Shadows - A Reflection on International Developments in Public Sector Accounting (April 25, 2007). Presented to the 30th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association, 25-27 April 2007, Lisbon, Portugal. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1360535

Olov Olson

Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Box 605
SE 405 30 Goeteborg
Sweden

Christopher Humphrey

University of Manchester - Division of Accounting and Finance ( email )

Crawford House
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
United Kingdom

James Guthrie (Contact Author)

Macquarie University - Department of Accounting and Finance ( email )

Sydney - NSW, 2109
Australia

University Of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

P.Le Vittoria 15
Forli', 47121
Italy
+39-0543-374-621 (Phone)

Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School ( email )

New South Wales 2109
Australia

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