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Article

Johan R. Christiaens

The purpose of this research is to examine the accounting output of the reformed financial accounting system of municipalities in Belgium, particularly in Flanders. For…

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to examine the accounting output of the reformed financial accounting system of municipalities in Belgium, particularly in Flanders. For the first time ever in Belgian governments, an accounting reform transferred from business accounting was imposed. The research hypothesizes that the level of material comparability of the accounting output is very poor in spite of the strict accounting regulations. The empirical results indicate that the annual accounts are actually incomparable in many respects and that these problems cannot be explained away by a lack of experience.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article

Johan R. Christiaens

This paper presents an overview of the current accounting reforms of two types of Belgian local governments from cameralistic accounting to business-like accrual…

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the current accounting reforms of two types of Belgian local governments from cameralistic accounting to business-like accrual accounting. Similarities and differences between important kinds of local government accounting are explored by focusing on important conceptual issues. The examination reveals that governmental accounting is relatively new and that a number of basic accounting problems remain even after some years of experience. Apparently, there is the need for a user oriented accounting framework applicable for different kinds of governments instead of transferring business accounting principles in practice without any further study.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article

Natalia Aversano, Johan Christiaens, Paolo Tartaglia Polcini and Giuseppe Sannino

Taking into consideration the lively debate about recognition, measurement, and disclosure criteria for heritage assets (HA) in financial reporting, the purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

Taking into consideration the lively debate about recognition, measurement, and disclosure criteria for heritage assets (HA) in financial reporting, the purpose of this paper is to examine the comment letters submitted by governmental organizations regarding the consultation paper (CP) on HA in order to understand what is the position of the governmental organizations in relation to critical issues of the accounting and financial reporting of HA.

Design/methodology/approach

From a methodological point of view, a content analysis was performed. First, the responses were classified according to level of agreement with the 13 items included in the CP on HA; second, the arguments adduced by respondents in supporting or contradicting the proposed approaches and definitions have been investigated.

Findings

The majority of responses came from countries with relevant differences in culture, administrative traditions and accounting systems. Governmental organizations strongly agreed with the recognition of heritage items as “assets” in financial reporting, while conflicting positions on measuring bases were identified.

Originality/value

This study is one of the few studies based on the content of the comment letters received in response to the CP on HA. The present study can also give an idea of the content of the future IPSAS on HA. Moreover, it is the first study attempting to enrich the debate on governmental organizations’ participation to the IPSAS standard-setting process.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Mark Christensen, Dorothea Greiling and Johan Christiaens

The purpose of this paper is to encourage research implicating public sector accounting practitioners. It overviews articles in the AAAJ Forum arising from the Comparative…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to encourage research implicating public sector accounting practitioners. It overviews articles in the AAAJ Forum arising from the Comparative International Governmental Accounting Research (CIGAR) Network conference in 2015 in which practitioners’ doings were themes across numerous papers. The paper’s central objective is to scope out an agenda for future research in the area.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the CIGAR presentations and papers reviewed for this AAAJ Forum, a desk-based study informed by these sources and others has been conducted.

Findings

Aspects of public sector accounting practitioners’ doings hold promise in themselves whilst also being likely to complement and enrich other themes of public sector accounting research. Those aspects give rise to analytical frames, which may overlap and/or reinforce other aspects. Those analytical frames are: first, examining networking between practitioners; second, identifying implications of the professionalisation project for public sector accounting practitioners; third, analysing public sector accounting practitioners’ responses to the rise of external experts; and, fourth, exploring how public sector accounting practitioners interact with forces that shape the accounting craft. The four articles published here variously address several parts of these themes.

Originality/value

In scoping out a future research agenda, this paper justifies greater attention being paid to the four themes noted in its findings. In each of these research fields, an interdisciplinary approach is important.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Johan Christiaens, Jan Rommel, Allan Barton and Patricia Everaert

In recent years, accrual accounting has become increasingly popular in many governments. Yet some questions remain unresolved. Previous literature questioned whether all…

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, accrual accounting has become increasingly popular in many governments. Yet some questions remain unresolved. Previous literature questioned whether all governmental assets should be capitalized. Whereas those studies mostly focussed separately on a limited number of assets, such as infrastructure, military assets or heritage assets, the purpose of this paper is to expand these views by taking a holistic approach to their treatment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a literature review combined with archival data, being the IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards).

Findings

The analysis distinguishes between the business and government sectors of the economy and argues that business accounting for assets cannot be applied to the public sector without significant modification. Secondly, within the public sector, it is argued that “businesslike assets” (such as normal buildings and equipment) should be distinguished from “specific governmental assets” (such as art galleries), where the latter should be reported off balance sheet as community assets held in trust by governments for community enjoyment.

Practical implications

The current paper presents a solution for recognizing capital assets in different situations.

Originality/value

The paper reveals some basic differences in points of view between the governmental dimension versus a businesslike dimension in considering capital assets.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Keywords

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Article

Adelien Decramer, Carine Smolders, Alex Vanderstraeten, Johan Christiaens and Sebastian Desmidt

This paper aims to explore the relationship between external pressures and the adoption of employee performance management systems within academic units of Flemish higher…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the relationship between external pressures and the adoption of employee performance management systems within academic units of Flemish higher education institutions. The literature on contextually based HRM and institutionalism is used to underpin the theoretical propositions.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative case study is described to provide evidence for the theoretical arguments.

Findings

It has been suggested that academic units face a set of external pressures, which leads to different employee performance management systems. This study finds that academic units imitate their legitimacy‐based reference group and legitimacy‐driven imitation and the adoption of external employee performance management requirements distort the alignment of employee performance management systems.

Research limitations/implications

Future research could formally test the relationship between external drivers and the adoption of strategic and integrated employee performance management systems in academic units by using a survey questionnaire.

Originality/value

This theoretical argumentation uses contextually‐based human resource theory and it is explored empirically through an analysis of the specific context of Flemish academic units to explain how institutional and market pressures affect the adoption and configuration of employee performance management systems.

Abstract

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Content available
Article

Jan van Helden and Christoph Reichard

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…

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.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Microelectronics International, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-5362

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Article

Lars Breuls

A reflexive ethnographic account of the practical and emotional challenges encountered by the researcher during fieldwork is too often separated from the analytical…

Abstract

Purpose

A reflexive ethnographic account of the practical and emotional challenges encountered by the researcher during fieldwork is too often separated from the analytical research results, which, as argued by this paper, downplays or even ignores the analytical value of the encountered challenges. Drawing on personal examples from ethnographic research in immigration detention, the purpose of this paper is to show that these challenges have an intrinsic analytical value.

Design/methodology/approach

Ethnographic research was carried out in two immigration detention centres in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. Observations, informal conversations with detainees and staff, and semi-structured interviews with detainees were triangulated. Extracts from fieldnotes are presented and discussed to demonstrate the analytical value of the challenges experienced during fieldwork.

Findings

Three important challenges are presented: distrust from organisational gatekeepers and research participants, disruptions of the organisational routines, and witnessing and experiencing feelings of powerlessness. The analytical value of these challenges is strongly connected to theoretical and analytical themes that emerged during the research.

Originality/value

Ethnographic researchers are encouraged to explicitly treat the reflexive accounts of practical and emotional challenges as “data in itself” and as such nested within their analytical results.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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