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Does public services accounting belong in the curriculum?

Carolyn Cordery (School of Accounting and Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 19 April 2013




This paper aims to analyse the extent to which undergraduate courses in New Zealand contain content on issues from the public and not‐for‐profit sectors, in addition to a for‐profit business focus.


The research is based on the premise that contextually‐appropriate accounting is required within the public services sphere where transactions are complex and ambiguous, have a long‐term focus, and where the government often performs a regulatory role. It is informed by a survey of educators, document reviews and semi‐structured interviews.


This research finds that profit‐oriented financial accounting education in New Zealand crowds out the teaching of public services content, especially when the same accounting concepts can be applied to all sectors. The imposition of sector‐specific accounting standards offers an opportunity to highlight public services, but its inclusion in a crowded curriculum may require coercion from the profession.


This paper offers a contemporary analysis of the focus of teaching in New Zealand at a time when accounting standards and auditing regulation is on the brink of change.



Cordery, C. (2013), "Does public services accounting belong in the curriculum?", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 101-116.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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