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Making sense of the users of public sector accounting information and their needs

Jan van Helden (Department of Accounting, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Christoph Reichard (Department of Public Management, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany)

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Article publication date: 14 November 2019

3682

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to dismantle the complex issue of “use of accounting information (AI)” by pointing to different groups of information users, diverging interests and needs of these user groups and various influential factors on the usability and the actual use of AI.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper includes a literature review and conceptual reflections.

Findings

The review of recently published articles on the issue of “use of accounting information” presents an actual picture of the academic debate on purposes of use, user types, needs of various user groups and factors influencing the usability and the actual use of AI. The subsequent conceptual reflections deal with so far less regarded user groups, with options to strengthen the user perspective in budgeting and financial reporting, with approaches for engaging users in the content of accounting documents, with interrelations between user needs, usability and use intensity, including various antecedents of the different variables of the information-use issue.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents promising routes for future research.

Practical implications

The paper emphasizes the importance of paying more attention to the specific information needs and the motivations of various stakeholder groups generally interested in using financial information.

Originality/value

The paper presents results of reviewing recent literature on the issue of “use of accounting information” and provides some insight into specific aspects of this issue.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are indebted to Johan Christiaens and the two reviewers of the journal for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Citation

van Helden, J. and Reichard, C. (2019), "Making sense of the users of public sector accounting information and their needs", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 478-495. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-10-2018-0124

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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