Brazilian Governmental Accounting Reforms: IPSAS and Accrual Accounting Adoption
19 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 11, 2014
Brazilian governmental accounting is affected by two reform processes: the implementation of accrual accounting and convergence with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This paper analyses the origins, the process and preliminary outcomes of such reforms. In order to characterize the Brazilian accounting system, we followed the questionnaire from Chan, Jones and Lüder (1996) as a protocol, analysed financial reports and reviewed official literature that regulates Brazilian public sector accounting. The paper finds that the accounting reform has two origins: the need to prepare cost accounting information (year 2000) and the requirement to converge towards IPSAS (year 2009). Reform affects both central government and subnational governments, and is being coordinated by the Treasury’s central government. In the process, the Treasury has required the adoption of some sophisticated accounting policies that were beyond the capacity of IT platform installed on either central and local governments, and has had to postpone aspects of their implementation. Treasury has used this as a convenient opportunity to select which IPSAS requirements to implement, taking into account political agendas (e.g. avoiding the recognition of deficit). For these and other reasons, some states’ courts of accounts do not require compliance with some of the standards issued by the Treasury, which impairs the comparability of accounting information prepared by different Brazilian public sector entities.
Keywords: accounting reform, public sector, Brazil, accrual accounting, IPSAS, convergence, central government, subnational government, local government, comparative research
JEL Classification: M41, H70, H60, H50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation