Commentary - the Questionable Nature of 'Third Hand' Public Sector Accounting Solutions: A Case for Change?

Posted: 26 Sep 2005

See all articles by Christopher Humphrey

Christopher Humphrey

University of Manchester - Division of Accounting and Finance

Abstract

This paper provides a commentary on Mark Christensen's (2005) analysis of the role of private sector management consultants in the pursuit of accruals based accounting reforms in the state of New South Wales. The commentary gives particular consideration to the role and responsibilities of public sector officials in choosing to pursue accruals based accounting reforms. It questions the claimed knowledge basis underpinning such an initiative and reviews the more general pertinence of accruals accounting to practical public sector financial management issues. In seeking to reinforce a number of the messages emanating from Christensen's work, the commentary makes a number of suggestions for developing accounting research in this area. In particular, it emphasises the need to enhance understanding of the operation of accrual accounting systems in practice, the epistemic 'communities' serving to promote them and the importance of challenging the privileged status so often attached to such reforms/technologies.

Keywords: Public sector accounting, consultant

JEL Classification: M41, M48

Suggested Citation

Humphrey, Christopher, Commentary - the Questionable Nature of 'Third Hand' Public Sector Accounting Solutions: A Case for Change?. European Accounting Review, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 447-474, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=804007

Christopher Humphrey (Contact Author)

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

Crawford House
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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