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Creating shared service centres for public sector accounting

Ringa Raudla (Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia)
Kaide Tammel (Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 16 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims to contribute to the theoretical discussion on shared service centres (SSCs) for public sector accounting by putting forth a novel typology of different SSCs and their creation modes, and outlining the challenges these specific models are likely to face. Second, it uses the Estonian case study to test the theoretical conjectures.

Design/methodology/approach

Since in the Estonian central government different reform models for creating SSCs for public sector accounting have been tried out, the Estonian case offers an opportunity for exploring what the motives behind the creation of different forms of SSCs can be and what kind of challenges reform actors can face when opting for different reform models. The sources of data for the qualitative case study included official documents, media articles and interviews.

Findings

The Estonian case study demonstrates that the distinct reform models for creating SSCs in public sector accounting can indeed have different motives and also face various challenges to different degrees. Some challenges, however, are present in all reform models (e.g. difficulties in achieving customer orientation and reduced input to managerial decision making).

Originality/value

This paper puts forth a novel typology of public sector SSC reform models and analyses the challenges these different reform models are likely to face. The theoretical contribution and the Estonian case study are valuable for both academics and practitioners analysing or considering the creation of SSCs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Külli Sarapuu, Lise Hellebø Rykkja, Julia Fleischer, James Douglas, Cerlin Pesti, Kaija Valdmaa, Erkki Karo and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this paper. The usual caveat applies. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 266887 (Project COCOPS), Socio-economic Sciences & Humanities and from the Estonian target financing grant (No. SF0140094s08).

Citation

Raudla, R. and Tammel, K. (2015), "Creating shared service centres for public sector accounting", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 158-179. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-06-2013-1371

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited