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The purpose of this paper is to address the question of whether two early Australian public accounts committees were established for the purpose of legitimating…
The purpose of this paper is to address the question of whether two early Australian public accounts committees were established for the purpose of legitimating governments of the time.
The paper addressed these issues through a study of the establishment, early work and abolition in the 1930s of the Victorian Committee of Public Accounts (VCPA) and the Joint Committee of Public Accounts (JCPA).
Clear evidence is found that the Joint Committee of Public Accounts (JCPA) had been copied from the VCPA and that the VCPA had been copied from the UK House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, which was established in 1861. This would indicate that the primary objective in the establishment of both these committees was legitimation rather than control. It was found that the subsequent work of both the VCPA and the JCPA showed a drift away from an accounting focus towards a policy focus. This is similar to the JCPA experience described by Degeling et al. in relation to the JCPA, which also supports the legitimation argument. It was also found that both committees could be disestablished with relative ease because their legitimating purpose was no longer strong enough to demand their continuation and that, in fact, their abolition became the factor that served a legitimating purpose for governments.
The paper suggests that the ideas of legitimation and mimetic isomorphism provide a more convincing explanation for the nature and work of these two public accounts committees than the idea of accounting colonisation.
Public accounts committees (PACs) in Australia as elsewhere are usually discussed and assessed in terms of their contributions to realizing the accountability of ministers…
Public accounts committees (PACs) in Australia as elsewhere are usually discussed and assessed in terms of their contributions to realizing the accountability of ministers and their departments to Parliament. Analysis of the history of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts (JCPA) of the Australian Commonwealth Parliament for the period 1914‐1932 shows, however, that the committee’s claimed centrality to financial accountability in government guaranteed neither the content of the issues which commanded its attention nor its survival. Suggests that the activities and standing of the JCPA were emergent contextually rather than design predetermined. Discusses the implications of these findings for further research.
Governments in Australia are in the process of implementing accrual reporting for their departments and governments as a whole. The central issue of this paper is to…
Governments in Australia are in the process of implementing accrual reporting for their departments and governments as a whole. The central issue of this paper is to provide an explanation as to how general purpose financial reporting became a significant issue for governments in Australia. Agenda‐setting literature provides the framework within which to analyse the specific events and strategies used by public sector accountants to promote accrual technologies. The main finding of the research is that accrual technologies have been promoted by public sector accountants working from within government institutions, and often aligned with the organised accounting profession. Prior to the late 1980s the Auditors‐General were the main actors involved, however, more recently, accounting technologies have been promoted by accounting policy units within Treasuries and Departments of Finance. The paper concludes with a call for future research on the implications of such accounting changes for organisational and social functioning.
The point of exit in this research is that there should be an internal audit department in a national government department in South Africa to render a top‐class internal…
The point of exit in this research is that there should be an internal audit department in a national government department in South Africa to render a top‐class internal auditing service that is cost‐effective and affordable, preferred by clients, continuously complies with the standards of professional practice of internal auditing and best practice and have a positive impact on the national government department’s bottom line. The empirical research has highlighted several factors, including the ignorance of key role players and lack of professional proficiency on the part of internal auditors, as factors that impede the establishment and operation of an internal auditing function in the public sector in South Africa. It is recommended, that audit committees in the public sector should launch a joint marketing action, directed at key role players, to promote the potential value of a top‐class internal auditing service in the public sector, as well as the factors that impede it.
The purpose of this article is to assess the state of financial reporting in provincial government departments in South Africa. One of the obstacles in transforming…
The purpose of this article is to assess the state of financial reporting in provincial government departments in South Africa. One of the obstacles in transforming financial reporting in South Africa is changing from cash accounting to accrual accounting. The survey in this study revealed that, while most public sector accounting guidelines and legislation are in place, government departments are still using cash accounting. The current accounting information system seems to be unsuitable for accrual accounting. Respondents assigned a poor rating to the effectiveness of public sector financial reporting, and the slow rate at which this system is being transformed.
Sometimes an issue can remain dormant for a long period of time before receiving governmental and legislative attention. Debate on corporate governance has coincided with a number of measures impacting on the charitable sector which, taken together, have the effect of bringing about improvements in the overall corporate governance climate for the charity, and re‐inforcing the centrality of the charity as an important instrument of social policy. The aim of this article is to explore this battery of measures, their historical context, and the varying fortunes of the charitable sector in its social policy role.
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 explore the challenges and influential factors experienced in the development of public sector accounting reforms in the emerging economy…
The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges and influential factors experienced in the development of public sector accounting reforms in the emerging economy of Sri Lanka. The reforms aim to improve public governance and transparency while reducing corruption and dishonesty.
Qualitative (thematic) analysis has been employed by using both primary and secondary data. Primary data was obtained by interviewing selected respondents from public sector organisations in Sri Lanka. The respondents were selected by using an expert purposive sampling technique. Apart from the primary data, secondary data such as government reports, relevant literature and paper articles was also analysed in order to produce more robust findings.
The findings indicate that technological and cultural factors have influenced accounting reforms in the public sector in Sri Lanka. In addition, the politicisation and bureaucracy of the public sector as well as sluggish attitudes towards costs have served as prominent barriers to efficient implementation of the reforms.
This study was limited in terms of generalisation because of relatively small sample sizes. A larger sample with more diversity could have enhanced the generalisation of the results which could serve as direction for further research.
This paper is intended to fill a gap in the existing literature on public sector accounting reforms in the context of less developed or emerging countries. It is hopefully valuable for both policy makers and practitioners by allowing them to view the development, challenges and influential aspects of the implementation of New Public Management (NPM) in Sri Lanka in order that they will be able to make informed decisions about adopting more efficient NPM practices to enhance the country’s competitive advantages.