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Fund accounting and government-wide financial reporting during the Pre-IPSAS implementation era from a Nigerian experience

Christopher Enyioma Alozie (Department of Accountancy, Tansian University, Onitsha, Nigeria)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Article publication date: 3 June 2020

Issue publication date: 13 October 2020




This paper assessed accuracy level in accounting for government funds in Nigeria's federal treasury and their faithful presentation in government financial reporting. It aimed to determine whether the reported annual balances in Nigeria's financial reporting were reliable or otherwise. Data used in analysis were obtained from secondary sources from federal treasury.


Ex-post “facto” analysis method was adopted in the study involving the use of statistical techniques of absolute or aggregate mean percentage error derived from differences between recomputed and published fund balances and was employed. This was augmented with interactive review meetings of the initial case research report with the management of Nigeria's audit agency.


Results distilled from the consolidated revenue fund (CRF), development fund and public debt show that recomputed values were greater than the fund balances in the gazetted financial statements. Results for contingency fund (CTF), federation account fund (FAF), special trust fund (STF) and sundry deposit fund yield equal figures and accurate. The paper concludes that there were serial understatements of the core public fund balances in the financial statements over the years. This trend of reporting incorrect in three core public funds in financial statements rendered Nigeria's financial position unreliable in the affected years for decisions. It also facilitated frauds, mismanagement of funds and corrupt practices.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of the research is restricted to assessment of degree of accuracy in fund accounting, faithful representation of the respective fund balance in the liabilities side of FGN balance sheet and the reliability of the financial position. But, it did not consider or cover the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) in federal treasury since FGN had not issued any full IPSAS–oriented financial statements as on 2015.

Practical implications

Identification of deficiencies in fund account balances, structural defects in fund accounting and acts of understatement of carrying balances in CRF and capital development fund (CDF) implies that the aggregate core fund liabilities reported in financial statement of government entities without corresponding assets do not actually reflect a true and fair financial position in some countries. It reveals remarkable degree of financial information asymmetry in government financial reporting. Illusionary fund accounting has direct linkage to poor fiscal governance in many sovereign with associated sub-optimal delivery of public goods and service level distress syndrome in many economies; lead to poverty, unemployment, crisis and macroeconomic disturbances.

Social implications

The study contributes to the development of fund accounting system; strengthening government financial reporting architecture and practices. It provides framework for tracking financial information asymmetry in government financial reporting and mismanagement of public funds. It provides platform to effect necessary adjustment (correction) during the “first time 3-year adoption” adjustment window in Nigeria. Flowing from the findings, it advocates for institutionalization of government fund accounting standards and provides evidence for migration to accrual accounting system in countries that have not already implemented it. Evaluation system developed herein will improve fund management in federal treasury and contribute to efficient public financial management, good governance and enhance development of public accounting practice.


This exploratory empirical research is the one to ever evaluate accuracy level of fund accounting in sovereign entities and faithful representation in government's financial position prior to implementation of accrual accounting and financial reporting. The study established substantial level of illusionary accounting for public funds and information asymmetry in published government's financial reporting. It is necessary to rectify these discrepancies in fund accounting and financial reporting prior to and or during the first three years of the IPSAS transition implementation programme. These research deliverables provide adopters with relevant data for adjustment accounting during the transition period in strengthening public financial reporting in order to realize the benefit of full IPSAS accrual accounting.



Alozie, C.E. (2020), "Fund accounting and government-wide financial reporting during the Pre-IPSAS implementation era from a Nigerian experience", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 339-358.



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