Accrual Budgeting and Fiscal Policy

35 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2009

See all articles by Marc Robinson

Marc Robinson

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Fiscal Affairs Department

Date Written: April 2009


Can an accrual budgeting system - a system in which budgetary spending authorizations to line ministries are formulated in accrual terms - serve the needs of good fiscal policy? If so, how must such a system be designed? What are the practical challenges which may arise in implementing sound fiscal policy under a budgeting system which is significantly more complex than traditional cash budgeting? These are the primary questions addressed in this paper. Because any budgeting system must support the control of key fiscal policy aggregates, the paper also considers the case for reformulating fiscal policy in terms of accrual rather than cash aggregates. The primary focus is on the potential fiscal policy role of net lending and net financial debt. However, the paper also considers whether net worth is an aggregate with major fiscal policy relevance.

Keywords: Accounting, Budgeting, Fiscal policy, Fiscal sustainability, Fiscal stability, Government expenditures, Asset management

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Marc, Accrual Budgeting and Fiscal Policy (April 2009). IMF Working Paper No. 09/84, Available at SSRN:

Marc Robinson (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Fiscal Affairs Department ( email )

700 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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