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Public Value as Performance: Politicians’ and Managers’ Perspectives on the Importance of Budgetary, Accruals and Non-Financial Information

Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting

ISBN: 978-1-78441-011-7, eISBN: 978-1-78441-010-0

ISSN: 2051-6630

Publication date: 11 November 2014



The study contributes to the literature on public value and performance examining politicians’ and managers’ perspectives by investigating the importance they attach to the different facets of performance information (i.e. budgetary, accrual based- and non-financial information (NFI)).


We survey politicians and managers in all Italian municipalities of at least 80,000 inhabitants.


Overall, NFI is more appreciated than financial information (FI). Moreover, budgetary accounting is preferred to accrual accounting. Politicians’ and managers’ preferences are generally aligned.

Research limitations/implications

NFI as a measure of public value is not alternative, but rather complementary, to FI. The latter remains a fundamental element of public sector accounting due to its role in resource allocation and control.

Practical implications

The preference for NFI over FI and of budgetary over accruals accounting suggests that the current predominant emphasis on (accrual-based) financial reporting might be misplaced.


Public value and performance are multi-faceted concepts. They can be captured by different types of information and evaluated according to different criteria, which will also depend on the category of stakeholders or users who assesses public performance. So far, most literature has considered the financial and non-financial facets of performance as virtually separate. Similarly, in the practice, financial management tends to be decoupled from non-financial performance management. However, this research shows that only by considering their joint interactions we can achieve an accurate representation of what public value really is.



Liguori, M., Sicilia, M. and Steccolini, I. (2014), "Public Value as Performance: Politicians’ and Managers’ Perspectives on the Importance of Budgetary, Accruals and Non-Financial Information", Public Value Management, Measurement and Reporting (Studies in Public and Non-Profit Governance, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 85-104.



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