This paper aims to research the reforms toward International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) implementation and the perceptions about the use and usefulness of accounting information in the context of local government in the Iberian Peninsula. The paper focuses on the perspective of chief financial officers (CFOs).
The paper uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. Beyond the study of the context of the reform in both countries through the consultation of legislation and official documents, the authors collected primary data through a survey addressed to the local CFO to catch both countries' perceptions and beliefs toward the topic under research.
The authors' findings evidence that both countries have made strong efforts to adapt IPSAS to both countries' national standards. The coercive and mimetic isomorphism and the private accounting normative were important determinants in the reform. Looking at perceptions, budget information continues to be perceived as the king information for public management and decision-making. In a comparative way, the Portuguese CFO seems to be more optimistic concerning the use and usefulness of the new accounting system. The strong orientation of CFO to cash-basis and budgeting information is an important explanation of the lower use and usefulness, essentially in the Spanish context. The regression results show that individual perceptions and beliefs on the accounting reform influence the opinion about the usefulness and use of financial information.
The use of the survey method has some limitations very discussed in the literature that are also applied in this study.
The paper has the potential to contribute to the academic, political and practitioner discussion of the core purposes of financial accounting information in the public sector and financial accounting information's impacts on the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) framework.
The recent adoption of the new accounting system in local governments of both contexts contributes to knowledge on the public sector accounting reforms toward the transition to accrual accounting and the IPSAS. The innovative character of the paper contributes to better clarify how the perceptions of the accounting reform influence the usage level of public financial information.
Funding: This study was conducted at the Research Center on Accounting and Taxation (CICF) and was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) through national funds (UIDB/04043/2020 and UIDP/04043/2020).
Gomes, P., Brusca, I., Fernandes, M.J. and Vilhena, E. (2023), "The IPSAS implementation and the use and usefulness of accounting information: a comparative analysis in the Iberian Peninsula", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 12-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-12-2021-0169
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