New Zealand is widely recognised as extreme in its New Public Financial Management reforms. Scrutiny of the reformed financial management system reveals its consistency…
New Zealand is widely recognised as extreme in its New Public Financial Management reforms. Scrutiny of the reformed financial management system reveals its consistency with a controversial political agenda: trade liberalisation of even core social services such as social welfare, health and education. Further, the detailed requirements are systematically biased towards withdrawing from government services (by running them down) and/or privatising them (by artificially inflating reported costs, thus projecting an appearance of inefficiency). The legislation underpinning the New Zealand model was shepherded through parliament by a Minister of Finance who publicly opposed exposing social services to market forces. Drawing on archival records, this article provides a historical account of how this legislation came into being. The legislation handed key levers of power to extend the reforms to the Treasury. Particular attention is paid to the friction within the government of the time over extending the reforms to social policy, and the role of the Treasury. Possibly, some ministers who drove the reforms through did not appreciate their nature. Alternatively, the handover of the levers of power could be perceived as an attempt to avoid blame.
The starting point for the paper is an assessment of the impact of a 1993 special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, which provided an…
The starting point for the paper is an assessment of the impact of a 1993 special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, which provided an interdisciplinary analysis of the pursuit of accountable management reforms in the UK public sector. From this assessment, the paper offers a set of reflections on the development over the last two decades of “new” public management practice and research, and also indicates some of the obligations and responsibilities of academic researchers and managers alike in the context of a continuing appetite for such reforms.
The paper is written in a reflective fashion, including assessments of: our role as guest editors of the special issue; the continuing pertinence of key messages emanating from the special issue; and broader considerations drawn from our own working experience in managerial roles in universities and personal reflections on the state of the public management literature.
The paper highlights the long‐standing litany of failure attached to such public management reform movements, as well as the limited degree of cross‐disciplinary learning within the field. The paper emphasises that we need to rethink the parameters of “public sector” (accounting) research, and avoid the partitioning of (accounting) research into ever smaller and self‐referential sub‐areas. We need more cross‐national studies. We need to know more about which management practices travel readily, and which travel less easily, and what happens when implementation is problematic. We need also to reinforce the importance of historical analyses, if we are to derive the most benefit from studies of the interrelations among accounting and public management reforms and wider transformations in ways of governing economic and social life. Finally, we need to retain or reinstate curiosity at the heart of our concerns, in order to dispel the self‐evidence or taken‐for‐grantedness of so much of our present.
Personal reflections, while being beneficially close to the subject under consideration, inevitably suffer from claims of bias and a lack of independence. We have sought to control for such risks by drawing on a variety of sources of information with respect to impact, including (albeit ironically) citation counts and an analysis of the writings of individual authors contributing to the special issue.
The paper is novel in that it seeks to combine an analysis of the literature on public sector accounting and management reforms over several decades with our own, multi‐faceted, engagement with public management research and practice.
This paper examines whether public sector reforms in a developing country is consistent with the principles of new public management (NPM). It examines whether Indonesian…
This paper examines whether public sector reforms in a developing country is consistent with the principles of new public management (NPM). It examines whether Indonesian public sector reforms from the late 1990s to 2015, specifically the adoption of accrual accounting, are motivated by NPM philosophy. Reviewing and analysing Government regulations and reports, the study finds that the reforms are an attempt to implement NPM, specifically in relation to five financial management aspects (i.e. market-oriented, budgeting, performance management, financial reporting and auditing systems). However, the reforms are inconsistent with the NPM philosophy of efficiency and effectiveness in public service provisions. By requiring the use of the existing system, the reforms actually created inefficiency. This research is novel in investigating the gap between 'ideal concepts' and examining practices in an emerging country context.
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the reasons why Sri Lanka adopted International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) recently. Many less developed countries…
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the reasons why Sri Lanka adopted International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) recently. Many less developed countries (LDCs) have introduced IPSAS during the recent past. However, little research has been conducted to study the New Public Financial Management and accrual accounting and their impact on LDCs.
Using a qualitative approach, the methods of this paper consist of interviews, a documentary review and participatory observation in the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MOFP) and Auditor General’s Department of Sri Lanka, and present a critical interpretation supported by the perspective of globalisation.
The findings of the research indicate that the public sector reforms and the transition from cash accounting to accrual accounting in the public sector have been strongly affected by the global pressures imposed by international agencies such as International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) and the World Bank (WB). Empirical evidence shows the dysfunctional impact of globalisation in the public sector accounting standards as there are major structural issues yet to resolve. There are increasing doubts over whether the change to accrual accounting is worth the costs and the additional risks involved.
The results of the interviews are based on the knowledge and past experiences of interviewees. What is generalisable is an understanding of the processes and mechanisms that relate to the way the public sector accounting functions.
This paper adds new literature on public sector accounting in LDCs, which recognises the nexus and interests of international agencies and practice of public sector accounting.
The purpose of this paper is to explain the processes of management accounting change (MAC) in the Jordanian Customs Organization (JCO) within its social context following…
The purpose of this paper is to explain the processes of management accounting change (MAC) in the Jordanian Customs Organization (JCO) within its social context following public sector reforms. It focuses on the regulative way in which a new accounting system of government financial management information system (GFMIS) was implemented throughout three levels of an institutional framework.
The paper uses an interpretive case study in which the GFMIS was imposed by the government. It draws on a framework that comprises three institutional approaches: old institutional economics; new institutional sociology; and power mobilization.
In the JCO case, the GFMIS contributed effectively to the development of a comprehensive approach to the preparation of the budget while it works to facilitate the estimated process of expenditures and revenues. The study recognizes that the implementation of GFMIS may have emerged primarily as a response to external political and economic pressures. The MAC was carried out in the “from-top-to-bottom” level of institutional analysis, which confirms the “path-dependent” and evolutionary nature of the change. It concludes that the evolutionary MAC in the JCO case study was not only a decorative innovation in management accounting, but was also represented in the working practices. It has produced comprehensive and timely information about strategic planning, chart of accounts and classification of assets, liabilities, and revenues and expenses at all levels of management and programs. The study also confirms that management accounting is not a static phenomenon but one that changes over time to reflect new systems and practices.
The need for having an integrated GFMIS in the authors’ case arises from two key dimensions: increasing pressures from the International Monetary Fund to improve fiscal management and reporting, and the government needs to respond to the demand of better information disclosure. GFMIS has provided an integrated solution for public financial management through the automation of the entire life cycle of budget preparation, budget execution, and financial reporting. The system operates across all budget organizations to ensure transparency and accountability in all public resources transactions, including allocation, use, and monitoring. Hence, it has important implications for policy decision makers through linking all budget organizations, for the purposes of supporting the process of decision making in an informed manner. The study has important implications for the ways in which change dynamics can emerge, diffuse, and implement at three levels of institutional analysis. It also explains the interaction between the external origins and internal accounts, which identified that GFMIS is both shaped by, and is shaping, wider socio-economic and political processes.
This study fills a gap in the literature, as it explains the processes of MAC associated with the introduction of GFMIS in the JCO within its social context. It recognizes the institutional pressures that affected the emergence and diffusion of GFMIS and how they interacted through three levels of institutional analysis.
A number of governments have already moved or intend to move from cash to accrual accounting. This has resulted in a growing body of comparative research in public sector…
A number of governments have already moved or intend to move from cash to accrual accounting. This has resulted in a growing body of comparative research in public sector accounting. Little work, however, has been devoted so far to investigating government accounting in developing and transitioning countries. This empirical paper seeks to contribute to this literature by conducting a seemingly unique two-country comparison of public sector accounting reforms in one developing nation and one in transition, namely Nepal and Russia. The study suggests that, although more or less the same rhetoric is used in the two settings, reforms have been framed rather differently due to the potency of various institutional pressures.
Despite an abundance of studies on hybridization and hybrid forms of organizing, scholarly work has failed to distinguish consistently between specific types of hybridity…
Despite an abundance of studies on hybridization and hybrid forms of organizing, scholarly work has failed to distinguish consistently between specific types of hybridity. As a consequence, the analytical category has become blurred and lacks conceptual clarity. Our paper discusses hybridity as the simultaneous appearance of institutional logics in organizational contexts, and differentiates the parallel co-existence of logics from transitional combinations (eventually leading to the replacement of a logic) and more robust combinations in the form of layering and blending. While blending refers to hybridity as an “amalgamate” with original components that are no longer discernible, the notion of layering conceptualizes hybridity in a way that the various elements, or clusters thereof, are added on top of, or alongside, each other, similar to sediment layers in geology. We illustrate and substantiate such conceptual differentiation with an empirical study of the dynamics of public sector reform. In more detail, we examine the parliamentary discourse around two major reforms of the Austrian Federal Budget Law in 1986 and in 2007/2009 in order to trace administrative (reform) paradigms. Each of the three identified paradigms manifests a specific field-level logic with implications for the state and its administration: bureaucracy in Weberian-style Public Administration, market-capitalism in New Public Management, and democracy in New Public Governance. We find no indication of a parallel co-existence or transitional combination of logics, but hybridity in the form of robust combinations. We explore how new ideas fundamentally build on – and are made resonant with – the central bureaucratic logic in a way that suggests layering rather than blending. The conceptual findings presented in our paper have implications for the literature on institutional analysis and institutional hybridity.