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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Maria Krambia-Kapardis, Colin Clark and Anastasios Zopiatis

Public information disclosure is a manifestation of transparency and contributes to governance-by-disclosure. Also, better financial reporting can improve the credibility…

Abstract

Purpose

Public information disclosure is a manifestation of transparency and contributes to governance-by-disclosure. Also, better financial reporting can improve the credibility and integrity of public finances and contribute to a better management of public resources. A survey was carried out in Cyprus of users’ of public financial reports concerning an expectation gap about the types of information included in such reports (information needs expectation gap) as well as the quality of such information (information quality satisfaction gap). The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Two focus groups of users and preparers of public financial reports were used to construct the questionnaire. Users of such reports, who belonged to all three categories of public sector financial reporting identified by IPSASB, were surveyed. The quantitative data obtained was analysed using SPSS and quadrant analysis to answer the research questions posed.

Findings

Data from 101 respondents confirmed that each of the information needs identified in the IPSASB Consultation Paper (2008) was rated as being a significant information need. Data analysis also showed that both types of expectation gap exist, especially as far as local authority and semi-public organisations are concerned.

Research limitations/implications

The response rate in the self-administered survey was admittedly rather low but it was not unexpected mainly due to the survey’s very specialised nature and the tendency by people in Cyprus not to critique public bodies.

Practical implications

Deficient financial public sector reporting means the auditor general is not able to adequately express an opinion on public spending at the local government level. This, in turn, means taxpayers do not get the quality of services they pay for. At the same time, the lack of information transparency means corrupt practices are not eradicated. One answer to the problem would be legislating the content of public financial reports.

Social implications

The lack of governance-by-public exposure means that services to the local community cost a lot more, due to corruption and inefficiency. In addition, it contributes to lowering market confidence and eventually contributes to financial crisis at the national level.

Originality/value

The survey conducted was the first of its kind in Cyprus to investigate financial public sector reporting and document both manifestations of the expectation gap. In addition, information needs identified in the IPSASB Consultation Paper (2008) was rated as significantly needed and this is the first time it has been done in Eurozone member state and in a country facing a financial crisis.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2007

Ni Putu S., G. Jan van Helden and Sandra Tillema

This paper aims to explore the influence of specific characteristics of the public sector in developing countries (i.e. a low‐institutional capacity, a limited involvement…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the influence of specific characteristics of the public sector in developing countries (i.e. a low‐institutional capacity, a limited involvement of stakeholders, and high levels of corruption and informality), and of reforms of this sector, on public sector performance measurement (PSPM).

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a review of prior literature, the paper develops understanding of the demand for and supply of performance information in developing countries, and of changes in this area.

Findings

The paper argues that public sector organisations in developing countries are likely to face an unbalanced position, i.e. disequilibrium between the demand for and supply of performance information. More precisely, the public sector reforms – which are partly stimulated by a growing involvement of some stakeholders – lead to an increasing demand for performance information but, because of the low‐institutional capacity and the high level of corruption, this increasing demand is not always followed by a sufficient supply of performance information. This leads to an “unsatisfied demand” position.

Research limitations/implications

The paper concludes with an overview of issues related to PSPM in a developing country context that require further investigation.

Practical implications

The arguments presented in this paper are summarised in an overview of factors that influence the demand for and supply of performance information in the public sector in developing countries. This overview might be helpful to those who are involved in the design of performance measurement systems in these countries.

Originality/value

So far, relatively little is known about PSPM in a developing country context. This paper is an attempt to fill this gap.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2007

Martin De Saulles

The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the policy debates surrounding the commercial reuse of public sector information. It aims to provide an overview of these

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the policy debates surrounding the commercial reuse of public sector information. It aims to provide an overview of these discussions in the light of the 2003 EU Directive on this matter and the UK's implementation in the form of the 2005 Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations. It also aims to argue that there is an inherent conflict of interest between the UK policy of making public sector information more freely available and the financial targets imposed by government on some of the key producers of this information.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussions presented in this paper draw on secondary academic and commercial research carried out in Europe and the USA. Primary analysis of the financial accounts of public bodies is also utilised to consider the potential conflicts of interest between revenue generation and information dissemination.

Findings

The evidence presented suggests that the sale of information collected by a number of key public bodies and the financial targets that are set by HM Treasury for them are a barrier to innovation within the private sector and to the wider development of an information society.

Practical implications

This research provides useful evidence for developers of UK information policies within the context of stimulating the development of a more vibrant information economy.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt to combine the financial analysis of UK public accounts with discussions about the commercial reuse of public sector information.

Details

info, vol. 9 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1994

James M. Kurtenbach and Robin W. Roberts

Accounting researchers have performed many studies related to public sector budgeting and financial management. Public sector accounting research seeks to explain the role…

Abstract

Accounting researchers have performed many studies related to public sector budgeting and financial management. Public sector accounting research seeks to explain the role of accounting and auditing in the public sector. For example, researchers examine issues such as (1) the use of accounting information by elected officials, (2) the demand for auditing, and (3) the determination of bond ratings. This review of the public sector accounting literature describes some of the theoretical foundations utilized in public sector accounting research and reviews a sample of selected empirical studies.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Sandra Cohen and Sotirios Karatzimas

The purpose of this paper is to debate the future form of reporting in the public sector by examining alternative forms of reporting, and more specifically the frameworks…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to debate the future form of reporting in the public sector by examining alternative forms of reporting, and more specifically the frameworks of integrated reporting and popular reporting. Moreover, the paper explores whether and how these reports could be related to each other in order for the needs of a pillar user group, that of the citizens, to be addressed.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze the frameworks of integrated reporting and popular reporting, and by combining their characteristics the authors propose a creative synthesis suitable for the public sector.

Findings

The analysis leads to the conclusion that governmental entities need to take the next step on reporting in two parallel levels: the first would require the publication of information encountered in integrated reports containing various information elements that are not confronted to the traditional financial ones. The second would result in the provision of this information in a concise and easily comprehensive way. The merger of these two streams will give rise to the publication of “Integrated Popular Reports – IPR.”

Originality/value

This move would result to useful and meaningful reporting with potential strategic advantages. The integrated reporting dimension of the reports combined to the popular reporting dimension would provide an adequate information matrix for citizens and other user groups (e.g. politicians, public executives), that are interested to understand the “whole picture” of public sector entities but at the same time they neither possess advanced accounting knowledge nor they are familiar with technical terminology.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2018

Agus Hermanto, Solimun Solimun, Adji Achmad Rinaldo Fernandes, Wahyono Wahyono and Zulkarnain Zulkarnain

Open government data (OGD) is making data available free to all by the government with the aim of ensuring accountability and transparency in government besides generating…

Abstract

Purpose

Open government data (OGD) is making data available free to all by the government with the aim of ensuring accountability and transparency in government besides generating public value by its usage. OGD is an emerging government initiative in Indonesia and there is potential for harnessing OGD for spearheading innovation and improvising services in different economic sectors. This paper aims to investigate the usage of OGD in the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Indonesia.

Design/methodology/approach

Documentary analysis was conducted to review the national OGD portal of Indonesia. Structured interviews were conducted with 49 senior management representatives from the private sector and NGOs to solicit their perspectives regarding the usage of OGD for professional purposes. Also, questions were posed regarding the challenges in harnessing OGD for professional purposes.

Findings

OGD has immense potential for private sector and NGOs; however, more initiatives are required on the part of the government to open their data sets. Further, involvement of stakeholders from the private sector and NGOs and other interested partners is required for an optimum usage of OGD in different economic sectors of Indonesia.

Research limitations/implications

As the research focuses on the private sector and NGOs in Indonesia, the study requires a more broad-based approach to consider the perspectives of different users. Further research is required to appreciate the role of contextual factors in determining the usage of OGD in Indonesia.

Originality/value

The study is one of the first to be conducted in Indonesia about the OGD initiatives of the country. Soliciting views from the key management representatives in the private sector and NGOs, the paper contributes to the extant OGD literature, which is more supply-focused and not demand-driven. While conceding that there are ample usages of OGD for the different economic sectors, the paper underlines the need for refining the OGD initiatives of Indonesia.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Hannu Salmela and Pekka Turunen

Increased use of market mechanisms in the delivery of public services is one of the major attempts made by governments to achieve greater efficiency, higher quality and a…

Abstract

Increased use of market mechanisms in the delivery of public services is one of the major attempts made by governments to achieve greater efficiency, higher quality and a clearer focus on customers. Information systems (ISs) can promote the adoption of market mechanisms, but they can also preserve a monopolistic and hierarchic model of service delivery. Hence, understanding the competitive implications of information technology (IT) is becoming relevant for managers in the public sector as well. Provides a brief overview of previous research on IT‐based competition and discusses its relevance for public sector management. Then continues to describe a project where six offices of one city co‐operated in developing a shared geographic information system (GIS). While this research is based on an in‐depth analysis of only one case, other researchers have reported similar experiences. It appears that effective use of market mechanisms in the public sector requires new orientation in IS planning and rethinking of the role of IS departments in public sector organisations.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Frank H.M. Verbeeten

The purpose of this research project is to validate the claim that recent developments in the public sector have increased the demand for and use of cost management…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research project is to validate the claim that recent developments in the public sector have increased the demand for and use of cost management information in public sector organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken is a survey of financial managers in public sector organizations in The Netherlands.

Findings

The findings indicate that the design and use of cost management systems differs across branches. In addition, the results suggest that information from cost management systems is used to legitimate the organization's activities to external stakeholders rather than to manage public sector organizations. Finally, cost management information is used mostly by financial managers yet hardly used by political managers. The results defy claims that cost management information has become important in managing public sector organizations.

Research limitations/implications

All limitations of survey research apply. The survey is based on a non‐random sample of public sector organizations in The Netherlands; findings may not be transferable to other countries.

Practical implications

Legal and regulatory requirements relating to the use of cost management information may not have their intended effects.

Originality/value

The paper responds to previous calls in literature to use quantitative research methods to generalize findings from previous case studies. Also, the paper empirically tests the use of cost management information in The Netherlands, a country with a Nordic style of public management.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2007

Janet Mack and Christine Ryan

The purpose of this research is to investigate the role and importance of the annual report as a source of information about public sector entities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to investigate the role and importance of the annual report as a source of information about public sector entities.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses a survey methodology to access users of public sector annual reports and is innovative because it has directly studied actual users across the entire public sector.

Findings

The findings of this research indicate that the annual report is an important source of information about public sector entities but it is not the most important source of information. This study also found that the annual report is not regarded as equally important across all public sector entity types. Differences in the importance attached to the annual report by different stakeholder groups were also noted.

Research implications/limitations

These findings have important implications for policy makers with respect to the information content of public sector annual reports. In particular the blanket approach to legislative requirements for annual reporting may need to be reviewed in view of the findings of this research that there are differing levels of importance attached to the annual report as an information source by users from different public sector entity types.

Originality/value

The research in this paper is original in that it has, systematically and directly accessed users of public sector annual reports to determine their information sources.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 9 April 2021

Antti Rautiainen and Vilma Luoma-aho

This article analyzes the links between financial reports and reputation in the context of Finnish public sector organizations. In general, the paper discusses the…

Abstract

Purpose

This article analyzes the links between financial reports and reputation in the context of Finnish public sector organizations. In general, the paper discusses the accounting treatment of intangible and tangible assets and the quality and relevance of public sector financial reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

For data, we combine three data sets: financial statement information of eight anonymous Finnish public organizations, the results of a reputation survey among their key stakeholders (N = 914) and a sample of the social media sentiment around the organizations.

Findings

Our findings suggest that a decrease in spending and, surprisingly in the nonprofit sector, an increase in the surplus, indicate better perceived financial performance. An increase in surplus is positively linked with the reputational factors, for example, trust. However, disclosing excessive amounts of information, for example, in financial reporting seems to contribute to negative discussions on social media.

Practical implications

We highlight the importance of managing intangibles, including those not recognized in the balance sheet, such as reputation. We present three propositions with potential managerial relevance.

Originality/value

Despite the considerable amount of financial information disclosed by public sector organizations, few studies have analyzed its relevance or connection to reputation. This first-of-a-kind paper combines intangible and tangible assets by analyzing how financial data and intangible reputation are linked in the public sector accounting context. Six reputational factors were discovered, and financial performance was found to correlate with trust in the public sector.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

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